Beatles producer comes to Israel 35 years after ‘Fab Four’ were barred

JERUSALEM, June 2 (JTA) — Israelis disappointed 35 years ago when the government barred the Beatles from performing here have an opportunity to gain some closure this week. Sir George Martin, the legendary record producer who discovered the Beatles, will conduct the Israel Philharmonic in tributes to the “Fab Four” this weekend in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The collaboration with the Israel Philharmonic is the first stop on an international tour in which Sir George will conduct well-known orchestras in renditions of Beatles songs. Sir George said he was unaware of the objections raised by the government in 1964, when the Beatles were designated persona non grata out of concern their music would corrupt the country’s youth. “The government today is different than the one then,” he said diplomatically. The idea for the concert tour grew out of Sir George’s last studio work, “In My Life,” which brought together such stars as Celine Dion, Goldie Hawn and Robin Williams. More recently, he has focused on composing, orchestrating, lecturing and philanthropic work. “I’ve been making records, producing records now for nearly 50 years, and this time I stopped because it’s a young man’s business, and I didn’t want to go on doing things I didn’t think that I’m as good at doing as I used to be,” he said. Some of Israel’s top musical artists will be appearing alongside the Israel Philharmonic in the two scheduled performances. Their enthusiasm about the project and the opportunity to work with Sir George was palpable. “The amazing thing about the songs is that they evoke pictures of our youth,” singer Yehudit Ravitz said during a rehearsal.

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