Imagine a relevant creative career


Many years ago I heard Sir George Martin speak at an advertising conference. For those unfamiliar, Sir Martin had come to be known as the Fifth Beatle for it was he that had produced so many of their classic albums.

Sir Martin related the events in making Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely-Hearts Club Band. As he took the audience through each song’s conception, development and execution the audience became more and more still. The tall, elderly gentleman emotionally connected us with his time with those four young lads from Liverpool. Though his talk lasted well over an hour, no one checked a watch or took notes. We hung on every word, not wanting to spill a drop of the moment.

In the final minutes of his talk, Sir Martin paid special tribute to the brilliant but short life of John Lennon. The stillness of the audience of hundreds left nothing in the air but the deep baritone of his voice and a soft instrumental rendition of Lennon’s song “Imagine.”

I looked around the room. Everyone I saw tried to hide tears. It seemed to me not to be caused by the memory of John Lennon’s tragic death, but the culmination of Martin’s incredible tale. This magical time in these five men’s lives – a moment that none realized would become a legend – felt as if we watched it occur.

A long, silent moment fell after Sir Martin thanked the audience, and then, thunderous applause with every person on their feet. Of the many inspiring memories I have had during my career, Sir George Martin’s story stays with me in a particularly meaningful way. Perhaps, it’s because he made me realize that creating something with passion, even if you have no reason to believe it will impress others, is the only way to have a relevant creative career.



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