George Martin Revealed His One Regret Before Death: Signing Away Rights To Beatles Royalties Worth Millions

Frank Sinatra had a few.

George Martin had one.

The late Fab Four producer, who died Tuesday aged 90, confessed before his death his only major regret in life was signing away the rights to any royalties of tracks by The Beatles he masterminded.


George, above, said: “My only regret with the Beatles is that I was wrongly advised and signed away my royalties to their records — about half a penny per title but, with them, that would have been an enormous amount.”

It’s hard to estimate what George would have been due from his production work with The Beatles but in 2005 Sony paid £33million for half the rights to the Beatles back catalogue to its then owner Michael Jackson.

And Paul McCartney is worth an estimated £83million.

But gentle George – affectionately called ‘The Fifth Beatle’ due to his heavy contribution to classics including Yesterday – insisted he was happy with his lot.


With The Beatles in their ’60s pomp.

In an interview with writer Mark Ellen at his home in 2007, which has been reprinted in today’s The Times newspaper, George added: “But I’ve got all the money I could want. People think I’m a multimillionaire and I’m not.

“I tend to look at people and think, ‘Are you a good human being?’ That’s what impresses me most rather than what they’ve achieved.

“We’re a bit short on people like that at the moment – people who do good things and spread love for each other.”


Macca is still raking it in from royalties.

He went on: “We get an awful lot of people who are selfish. I think Margaret Thatcher started it, the greed thing, people just wanting more and more. And we’ve lost our morals to some extent. And the church has weakened. People don’t believe in anything apart from money and success.

“I know it’s easy for me to say as I’ve had some success, but I really believe family and love are more important than anything. Amore Solum Opus Est indeed!”


The producer also worked with Cilla Black in the ’60s, and is pictured here with the late presenter in 1968 ahead of him producing her record Work Is A Four Letter Word.

George was 81 when he was interviewed by Mark Ellen, who also heard the producer recount over glasses of red wine how he told Paul McCartney and John Lennon to strive to become as great as composer George Gershwin.

The producer also shared anecdotes about The Beatles after he finished working with the group, as the band’s members all stayed in touch with him after they disbanded.

Recalling late Beatle George Harrison’s contradictions, the producer told how the guitarist turned up to see him after he was recovering from an ear operation. He explained George pulled up in a £660,000 McLaren F1 – to give him a statue of Ganesha the Hindu elephant god.


Discussing a score of With A Little Help From My Friends with Ringo Starr.

George added about repaying the visit: “I went to see George at his home in Henley recently and he brought out this bottle of Château Lafite 1990 – £1,000 a bottle. I said, ‘George you need a special occasion for this’, and he said, ‘This is the special occasion. What else do I do with my money?’”

Writer Mark noticed at the end of their chat a striking mirror in the producer’s home.

When he looked closer he saw its frame was inscribed with a wind instrument floating about three beetles – representing the three members of The Beatles who were still alive when the mirror was made, following the murder of John Lennon in 1980.

Below the insects was carved one of George’s favourite phrases: ‘Amore Solum Opus Est’: ‘All you need is love’.

Picture Credit: All photographs Getty Images