New biography claims George Martin was “frozen out” when The Beatles recorded ‘The White Album’

Author Kenneth Womack claims relations between the "fifth Beatle" and the band were fraught during 'The White Album' sessions

A new biography claims that the Beatles producer, George Martin was “frozen out” when the band recorded  ‘The White Album’ in 1968.

According to The Guardian, it’s author, Kenneth Womack, claims a “cold war” broke out between Martin and the band with Martin speaking “only if he was called on by The Beatles.”

Gathering accounts from sound engineers and tape operators who worked on the sessions, the biography also claims that Martin would turn up to the sessions with “a large stack of newspapers and a giant bar of chocolate”, sitting at the back of the studio.


Womack said: “I asked them [the sound engineers] what George was doing when John was playing a particularly guitar part or when Ringo was working on some drum part…they would say ‘nothing, he was in the back of the booth, reading newspapers, sharing his chocolate with us.’ He was on a kind of chocolate-and-newspaper strike.”

Martin, who passed away in 2016, was known as the “fifth Beatle” due to his significant influence in producing all of the Beatles albums.

George Martin – Credit: Clarence Davis/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

George Martin and The Beatles – Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

In the biography, Womack also argues that the reasons behind the “freezing out” were two-fold, blaming the uncertainty caused by Brian Epstein – the manager of the Beatles – death the previous year and an article in Time magazine which credited Martin as the mastermind behind the Beatles’ seminal album, ‘Sgt. Peppers.’


Womack said: “It…had a lot to do with a Time magazine article in 1967 where George was credited with being this wunderkind and the mastermind behind ‘Sgt Pepper’. They didn’t take very well to that and let him know…I do think this was the beginning of the struggle over ‘who’s the genius behind the Beatles?'”

He added: “This was payback for taking credit for the Beatles myth…but they coaxed him back for ‘Abbey Road’.”

Womack’s account features in Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin, the Later Years, 1966-2016 and is released on 4 September.

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