Finding odd harmony
On the surface, the contrast between the patrician-looking Martin and his long-haired musical charges couldn't have been starker. He was movie-star handsome, reserved, establishment; they were casually pretty, energetic, counterculture. He was the World War II generation; they were the ones who helped upend it.
But the two sides had a surprising amount in common. Martin came from a working-class background, as did the Beatles. Moreover, the producer was a keen fan of comedy, having worked with members of "The Goon Show," such as Sellers and Spike Milligan, and produced the satirical "Beyond the Fringe" troupe. Their work was well known to the comedy-loving Beatles.
It was a sense of humor that may have initially bound them together. According to legend, when introduced to Martin at an audition for his record label, the producer asked the band whether there was anything they didn't like. George Harrison quickly responded, "Well, for a start, I don't like your tie."