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How to become a millionaire like the Beatles

January 15, 2008 15:53 IST

Now you, too, can become a millionaire just as the Beatles did. Just follow the advice of the man who "made" the four lads rich--and make the world, as well as your life, better at the same time.

Sir George Martin, the "musical CEO of the Beatles," is a strong believer in treating people equally, focusing on the work, communicating honestly and doing what you love--four values that Martin stressed when working with the most creative, successful, zeitgeist-changing, consciousness-raising band in the history of music.

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How did Martin make all four of the lads rich, while dealing with their genius, prodigious output and personality clashes, not to mention the pressure, late hours, deadlines, grueling tour schedules, films, drugs, booze, groupies, girlfriends, infidelities, divorce and the media?

"I just focused on the music and made the music the focus for others. I still do; that's my job. If the music doesn't work, then the rest falls apart anyway," he says.

Martin's success seems to be a potent mix of both nature and nurture--blessings like perfect pitch, innate talent, vision, goals, preparation, hard work, learning from mistakes, turning adversity into motivation, commitment to excellence, jumping at opportunities and a pure love of music.

He feels you should always treat people with respect and as equals, and strive for excellence. Then creativity will thrive, as it did with the Beatles.

"We worked as equals," Martin says. "I guided them and pointed them in the direction of the wider picture, offered them more musical toys and gave the space to let their genius and imagination go wild," adding poetically, "We wanted to paint in sound."

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Martin innovatively captured the sounds the Beatles heard in their heads. He encouraged each member to contribute in every way--singing, lyric and song writing, and recording ideas--and made some of the most creative work in musical history.

"I have never been satisfied with OK. I am inquisitive by nature and will give anything a go once to get that special something," he says. "Communication is the key and music is an international language, but you need to know your craft too. ...I always tried to be truthful, even-handed and level-headed. We worked hard, long hours, but essentially we just wanted to make the best music we could."

Martin produced all the band's record-breaking 34 hit singles in a row and all but one of their s 19 albums--including Revolver, Rubber Soul, the groundbreaking Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (aka The White Album). Their last album together, Abbey Road, he describes as an absolute delight. "I think we all knew it was the last, and we enjoyed it. It all came to a natural end after that."

Martin values treating people fairly. He was the youngest head of a major label--Parlophone, a division of EMI--when he signed the Beatles to a recording contract. But EMI's notorious stinginess and other reasons provoked Martin and other EMI employees to resign in the mid-1960s and form their own company, AIR, Associated Independent Recording. EMI had to hire Martin back as an independent producer for its artists, and he was then able to be paid producer's royalties on AIR's behalf. Paul McCartney did the same thing this year--he left EMI for another label.

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Since AIR was formed, it has catered to some of the world's biggest movies: the Oscar-winning Emma, The English Patient, Gladiator and Lord of the Rings, as well as recording acts Dire Straits, Elton John, Oasis, Radiohead, Travis and Coldplay. Martin sold his shares in AIR, but "retirement" may be missing from his vocabulary.

Martin was knighted and has won five Grammys, the Rock Producer Award, an Oscar nomination for A Hard Day's Night and the prestigious Silver Jubilee Award for Best Producer, 1952-1977, and was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1999. In 1998, he produced and arranged In My Life, a farewell album of Beatles tunes performed by famous musicians and actors.

Martin celebrated his 80th birthday year with a Beatles/Cirque du Soleil collaboration, "Love," the resident show at the Mirage in Las Vegas, which is expected to run for at least 10 years. The album was the biggest-selling record in the world throughout the holiday season of 2006, with 4.9 million units sold in the six weeks from release until the end of the year. Martin keeps making records that break records.

Linnda Durre is a psychotherapist, writer, author and business consultant who has worked with international corporations, companies, nonprofits and small businesses.

Linnda Durre, Forbes