By the Editor@EltonJohn.com
Elton honoured Sir George Martin with a performance of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me at the Germain Arena in Fort Meyers, FL soon after the record producer’s passing on 8 March. We are pleased to share with you video of the dedication below.
In addition to his premiere work with the Beatles, Sir George collaborated with many other artists during his career, including Elton. Their association began in the late 1960s but their first project together wasn’t until 1998 when Martin asked Elton to write music for a selection from Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood (I Loved A Man was sung by Bonnie Tyler on the resulting recording).
Then in 1994, Martin produced the album The Glory Of Gershwin, a tribute to the songs of George and Ira Gershwin in celebration of harmonica player Larry Adler’s 80th birthday. Elton sang a medley of Someone To Watch Over Me/Love Is Here To Stay on the album.
At around the same time, and in the same building (Martin’s AIR Lyndhurst studio in London), Elton recorded his own album, Made In England. For the song Latitude, which is musically evocative of the Beatles’ You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Elton and co-producer Greg Penny asked Sir George to write an arrangement for strings & French horn – itself reminiscent of his classic work on that song.
According to Penny in a 1995 interview, “George was very flattered [to be asked]…he feels that Elton is one of the walking geniuses. [On the day of the string session] George came in at nine o’clock sharp, walked across the room, set his coffee down on the podium, greeted everybody, spread his music out… I was just standing in the control room going ‘I cannot believe that George Martin is going to conduct this string session!’ He opened the control room door and he said, ‘Good morning, boss. What do we do now?’ He was wonderful.”
Finally, in 1997, immediately following the memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, Sir George produced and wrote the string quartet and oboe arrangement for Elton’s studio recording of Candle In The Wind 1997, which went on to become the biggest-selling single of all time, at over 33 million copies sold worldwide.