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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 17:35 GMT
Love unveils new angle on Beatles
Greig Watson
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

George and Giles Martin
The Martins said their first concern was to do justice to the Beatles
There was more than a twinkle of emotion in Sir George Martin's eye when he was asked what John and George would have thought of Love, the new album of reworked Beatles' songs.

"I think they would have liked it," he said. "To be honest, I believe they were there with us as we worked on it,"

And whether the idea of newly mixed version of the Fab Four appeals or appals, there is no arguing about the - well, love - that has gone into it.

The legendary producer was speaking at the album's launch in Abbey Road's Studio 2, where he helped to craft many of the Beatles most iconic tracks.

When approached, three years ago, to create a soundtrack to a Beatles-themed show by Cirque Du Soleil, Sir George enlisted help from his producer son, Giles.

It was an honour to be able to work with the Beatles in this way
Giles Martin

Sir George, 80, said: "The condition was that we could use any sound we liked that had been recorded by the Beatles.

"This gave us an enormous palette to work with while keeping us disciplined in not doing anything unsuitable to the rightly treasured Beatles songs."

Family support

The project was backed from the beginning by the surviving members of the band as well as widows Olivia Harrison and Yoko Ono.

Giles, 37, said: "It was an honour to be able to work with the Beatles in this way but it was especially good that Paul, Ringo, Olivia and Yoko were so enthusiastic.

"They would keep encouraging us to go further, try something new and, as Yoko said, if we did something they didn't like, no one was going to hear it."

The Beatles in 1967
The Beatles constantly reinvented their sound and image
The result is a "soundscape" of familiar Beatles' songs. Some, like Help!, are used in almost their original form, whereas others have been ambitiously remixed.

The keyboard of Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite dissolves into the plodding guitar of I Want You (She's So Heavy).

Strawberry Fields Forever builds from Lennon's acoustic demo into a psychedelic swirl of sounds that incorporates bits of Hello Goodbye, Baby You're a Rich Man, Penny Lane and Piggies.

Only one track broke the rule on using no new music. An early recording of While My Guitar Gently Weeps was preferred but Olivia Harrison felt it was too "raw".

I never thought I would get this deeply involved with the Beatles again
Sir George Martin
To bridge the impasse, Sir George scored a new orchestral backing.

All about love

"It was strange, writing this for an old friend who was no longer with us," said Sir George.

"Yesterday was first score I ever wrote for a Beatle song way back in 1965 and this, 41 years later, is the last. They bookend an extraordinary time."

He acknowledged that some fans might be alarmed at the idea of "playing with perfection".

"But if you worried about what might upset some of the fans, you would never do anything and we have simply done what we thought was right.

"I never thought I would get this deeply involved with the Beatles again. It's been a real journey but we were doing something worthwhile.

"We were trying to create a feeling of what the Beatles were all about, and what they were all about was love."

Love will be released on 20 November.

Listen to clips from the new Beatles album

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