Martin died peacefully Tuesday (March 8) at his home in England, according to his management.
From the early stages of the Beatles’s career, Martin helped them transform from a group of young songwriters into one of the most influential acts in popular music. In addition to producing each one of their original albums, he arranged many of the Beatles’ most famous songs; the strings on “Eleanor Rigby” and the piano solo on “In My Life” were both scored by Martin.
"If anyone earned the title of the fifth Beatle it was George,” Paul McCartney wrote in a statement. "From the day that he gave The Beatles our first recording contract, to the last time I saw him, he was the most generous, intelligent and musical person I've ever had the pleasure to know."
Ringo Starr also expressed his condolences to Martin’s family on Twitter.
Martin didn’t like the Beatles very much when the band first auditioned for him in 1962. "I didn't think much of their songs at all," he said in a 2012 interview with Marc Myers. "But they learned so quickly how to write a hit. They were like plants in a hothouse. They grew incredibly fast."
He would oversee that growth intensively over the next decade until the Beatles’s dissolution in 1970.
“As many fans of the Beatles know, George’s work as producer, engineer, arranger, conductor, and musician was instrumental to the massive success of the group,” wrote Grammy president Neil Portnow on Twitter. "He was one of the most innovative producers of all time and his impact on music is unparalleled."