This week saw the passing of legendary Beatles producer George Martin. Martin, who had been with the group since the beginning made countless contributions to the band’s discography and it’s for this reason that so many publications (including the BBC) rushed to label him “The Fifth Beatle.” Heartfelt as it is, this label undercuts the work of three prominent unofficial Beatles, leaving George Martin with the distinguished title of “Eighth Beatle.”
The first, and most notably the actual fifth Beatle, is Dead Paul McCartney. It’s common knowledge that the original Paul died in a car crash shortly before the band wrote Sgt. Peppers, though the story veers into fiction when The Beatles are tasked with finding a look-a-like to replace him. In actuality, the real Paul was killed in a car accident with a man named Paul Rabinowitz, who knew he would be murdered by upset teenagers if they ever found out he had killed their idol. Rabinowitz, having miraculously survived the accident took McCartney and fashioned a suit out of his own skin, which he still wears to this day. He then adopted the stage name of Paul McCartney, though his legal name remains the same (fame is funny like that). Dead Paul cannot be overlooked for his many contributions to the pre-Peppers Beatles, the band just got lucky that Rabinowitz was as good, if not a better songwriter/singer than the original.
George Harrison’s Sitar was commonly known amongst the group as the sixth Beatle. The mystical instrument became an unofficial member of the group while Harrison was vacationing in India. According to Martin Scorsese’s documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, George had just left an unfulfilling meeting with Maharishi when a strange space craft descended from the sky and “little green men” gifted him with the sitar. With it’s simple design and hidden future-tech, the sitar is responsible for giving a voice to the quiet Beatle, writing most of his songs and in some instances actually speaking for him. Now enjoying a life out of the spotlight, the sitar resides in sunny California with Harrison’s widow Olivia, they have three children.
Lastly, George R.R. Martin holds a prominent place as the seventh Beatle according to Yoko Ono’s book Stories John Definitely Told Me in which she reveals the master list of unofficial Beatles. George R.R. Martin was a troublesome character in John Lennon’s youth, like a rebellious older brother who would have introduced Lennon to Led Zeppelin had they existed but instead introduced John to the Tibetan Book of the Dead and Aleister Crowley. Without George R.R. Martin, The Beatles would never have hit it big with their Revolver track Tomorrow Never Knows. Following George Martin’s death, George R.R. Martin had to deny his own death as a result of his own misplaced narcissism. Claiming responsibility for Tomorrow Never Knows, George R.R. Martin often referred to himself as the fifth Beatle and even does so in his author bio for A Song of Fire and Ice. He’s off by two Beatles, but the actual band members rarely let the unofficials know their standing in the group.
In eighth place, referenced by Yoko Ono and cross referenced by Martin Scorsese, is George Martin. A man with so many credits to his name, Martin will also be remembered as the second Peter Sellers, the ninth member of Cheap Trick, the black James Bond and Elton John’s first wife.