Martin will be remembered best for his work with the Beatles, which changed the shape of popular music. But it could be argued that Martin’s somewhat atypical career as a producer—the Beatles were initially signed to Parlophone, a comedy label that Martin ran—made him more willing to think outside the boundaries of typical pop music. At Parlophone, Martin worked with many of Britain’s greatest absurdist comics: most notably, the Goon Show crew of Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Michael Bentine, but also Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Alan Bennett. His work spanned from novelty records like “Mock Mozart” to the Goon Show’s pioneering absurdist comedy—in both instances, you see Martin’s experimental, playful production.
Martin’s non-Beatles pop and rock music production was similarly varied, though as time passed he became more of a steward of the Beatles’s legacy than anything else. Over the course of his career, Martin worked with acts including Cilla Black, Jeff Beck, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas, Kate Bush, Cheap Trick, Elton John, and Celine Dion. Martin also produced the themes for both Goldfinger and Live & Let Die.