After spending the latter half of the '60s as an award winning record industry executive at Cameo-Parkway and Buddah Records, he joined an independent production/publishing/management company, Inherit Productions, as one of three partners. In Thau's 12 months at Inherit the company released two classic albums by Van Morrison, Astral Weeks and Moondance, Vintage Violence by ex-Velvet Underground member John Cale, the debut album by rock power-trio Glass Harp, an album by Cass Elliot.
He left Inherit in 1972 to become head of A&R for Paramount Records but resigned six months later to manage the renewal of rock 'n' roll in the form of the legendary New York Dolls.
The Dolls urban street attitude, gender parodying irreverence, and songs drawn from such disparate influences became the prototype for punk rock. After the Dolls disbanded in 1975, Thau entered New York's underground demimonde and was integral to the scene's development as a spawning ground of punk-new wave artists.
He is acknowledged as such in the Encyclopedia of Record Producers, a Billboard Magazine reference book that lists the 500 most important record producers in music history and behind the scenes heroes of popular music.
In addition to the Dolls, he worked with prominent punk and new wave artists such as The Ramones, Blondie, Brian Setzer, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, The Real Kids, The Fleshtones, Martin Rev and Walter Steding for his Red Star label.
In 1980, he released a New Wave compilation album through Red Star called Marty Thau Presents 2x5, which featured 2 songs each from New York City bands The Fleshtones, The Revelons, Bloodless Pharaohs (featuring Brian Setzer), Comateens, and Student Teachers.
In later years, Thau licensed Red Star recordings to other labels for release, sometimes under his own name, Martin Thau.
Marty Thau died on February 13, 2014 at the age of 75.