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Martha My Dear

by

The Beatles



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Paul McCartney had a sheepdog named Martha. According to the book A Hard Day's Write, the song is actually about McCartney's "muse" - the voice in his head that tells him what words and music to write. He did have a dog named Martha but named her after his muse. Paul Simon wrote about his muse in "Cecilia" and Bob Dylan wrote about his in "Love Minus Zero/No Limit." (thanks, Ed - Perth, Australia)
14 session musicians were used to play strings and horns.
Lennon played guitar on this while Harrison supplied bass. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
One of Martha's offspring can the seen on the cover of McCartney's 1993 album Paul Is Live.
Seth Swirsky, who wrote the songs "Tell It To My Heart" and "Love Is a Beautiful Thing," produced the Beatles documentary Beatles Stories, where he interviewed over 100 people who crossed paths with the Fab 4. When we asked Seth who his favorite songwriter was, he replied: "My favorite of all time is Paul McCartney. He could do so many things, and he could do things that are hard to quantify. Some people might say, 'Well, I like Hall and Oates as songwriters,' let's just say. But they do that 8th note thing where they're just banging on the piano, like 'Kiss On My List,' so you could kind of copy their sound a little bit, or copy their style of writing. Very hard to copy McCartney, because you just don't come out with 'Martha My Dear,' where it changes keys in the middle of it."
A young Stuart Goddard, whose mother used to clean Paul McCartney's apartment in St. John's Wood, would sometimes take the sheepdog Martha for walks. Goddard would grow up to be Adam Ant.
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Comments (49):

Martha Speaks.
- Peach, Springfield, WA
I had heard that Paul's sheepdog was named by an airline hostess, also called Martha. When she heard Paul mention on a flight in 1965 or 66 that he had just got the dog and didn't know what to name it she said "What about Martha". Apparently it stuck.
- Lawrence, Sydney, Australia
This is my favorite Beatles song. Ever. It reminds me of my old dog. I am 15 and no one my age appreciates the Beatles. Everyone my age loves rap and crap like that. But I have grown up with the Beatles and I am so thankful for my parents. They made me listen to the Beatles all the time. Without them, I would be sucked into the suger-coated, auto-tuned world of pop. THANK YOU SO MUCH MOM AND DAD!
- Olivia, Philadelphia, PA
Thank you, Jim, Garden Grove. It most definitely IS Martha. If you match the video to: http://www.jeddy.org/paul/withmart.jpg, you can see the black spot on the side of her head which starts behind her ear, and how the black of her leg is kind of behind her leg, the white being prominent. The timing is perfect as the song, 'Martha My Dear', was written '67/68 , and the title states Mary Hopkin 1968 when Paul, the Beatles and Apple were producing Mary, Badfinger and various artists. Incidently, Mary was married to Tony Visconti, who played bass on Bowie's 'The Man Who Sold the World', which in my opinion is one of the heaviest albums EVER, perhaps the firts 'heavy metal' album. He produced many Bowie albums, including this one, for which Bowie has said, "He is the only producer I would completely leave a project in the hands of". (Paraphrasing, of course) BTW, how did you figure that out? Have you listened to Sandy Denny? Very similar. Wonderful voice.
- Richard, Tustin, CA
Calling someone's name and using the term dear, or 'my dear', is very British. Freddy called people dear all the time, just watch any video doc on Queen. I don't believe the song is about 'Martha', Paul's English Sheepdog, but I know he has mentioned her being the inspiration, as someone else already stated, as does Paul, "You have always been my inspiration...", etc. I love this song and 'I Will', to of my favorite Macca songs, along with 'Honey Pie', also from "The Beatles". Paul did a lot of 'solo' work on that album which I believe was a preminision of theng to come, sadly. But, like they all have said, and rightfully so, they had grown apart, they were men now, with families, no longer boys who formed a pop-group. Se la vie. Que sera sera. Long live the Beatles.
- Richard, Tustin, CA
see Martha live! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16F2xSBYvSU&feature=related
- jim, Garden Grove, CA
The band "Fool's Garden" did a pretty good cover of this song, which is actually how I found out about this song. Despite having listened to the Beatles stuff a lot before, I missed this song completely until I heard the cover.
- John, Boonville, NY
Paul McCartney is a genius. How on earth did he come up with so many beautiful songs?
- tod, las vegas, NV
i think the idea that its about the voice in his head makes more sense, or to me at least. everybody has one, whether theyre named or not. (mine's ellie, which came from another one of their songs!) they can really effect you, especially when you're writing, as theyre where inspiration comes from. "be good to me"- please help me get inspired.
- chloe, st. louis, MO
i feel the same way about most of their songs, agnus. haha. especially with paul's, you always feel like theyre singing them just for you.
- chloe, st. louis, MO
You could fall asleep to this song. It is pretty soothing
- Jason, Southlake, TX
I think Agnus is right after all.
- Joao, Sao Paulo, Brazil
i'm listening to martha my dear right now. it is so so so so so so so cool. i love everything about it. it puts me in a good mood and makes me want to walk around europe and see the world and be a part of everything and love everyone and walk up a green hill and find my time-traveling future self with a message. martha my dear makes me not want to die... because i wouldn't have the song anymore... if i can transverse space and time however, I won't die. i just need a double negative metamaterial that works at optical frequencies and half an hour with a particle collider twice as big as the super hadron collider.

when you find yourself in the thick of it
- Aaron, Boulder, CO
you can see a picture of martha at http://farm1.static.flickr.com/213/496112185_a6dc6a88e5_o.jpg or another one at http://www.jeddy.org/paul/withmart.jpg
- Kelly, Liverpool, United Kingdom
"That's a brilliant song...chiefly the piano solo at the beginning... i would like to play it at my piano at home.I really wonder how Paul's dog Martha inspired him ..it's so strange but only Paul knows that.It's so relaxing song that make anyone to listen it again and again!"
- TIMOKLIA, ATHENS, Greece
I just like the piano solo at the beginning.
- Lindsay, Coweta, OK
i named my nintendog which was a sheepdog martha cuz i luv this song so much.im also using it for my choral performance solo at school!
- amy, moorpark, CA
i love this song, it kinda reminds me of something, in the way it has a big bit in the middle. its so wonderful, no one ever sings about their dogs! paul mccartney is so loving and open minded. one of my faves of the white album- although the all rock. there is a funny picture of martha the dog in 'postcards from the boys' a book by ringo. beatles are the best they will live forever
- Catherine, Essex, United Kingdom
My first impression about this song was that it had something to do with George Washington ("Martha my dear,/ though I spend my days in conversation/...") Hah..
- David, Rochester, NY
awwww how cute he wrote it for his doggie!
- Bianca, Albuquerque, NM
The person who stated that Lennon played guitar and Harrison played bass on 'Martha My Dear' is wrong ... it has been chronicled by Lewisohn and other researchers that McCartney was the only Beatle that contributed to this recording. In fact, for Martha My Dear, McCartney is credited with the following: double-tracked vocal, piano, bass, lead guitar, drums, handclaps, brass and string arrangement.
- Charlie, New York, NY
This song is about me. Paul has never met me and wrote it before i was born. But i'm convinced.
- Agnus, London, United States
If you are fortunate enough to be owned by an Old English Sheepdog, the words to Martha My Dear makes perfect sense
- Love, New York, NY
Paul wrote this at his house (7 Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood, London) while watching his old english sheepdog run around!
- Sarah, USA, IA
This song is just brilliant in every way. If I could ever give my ears a treat like paul gives his dog a treat, I'd treat them with this song.
- Buzz, Towntown, MI
Bob Rivers (twistedtunes.com) did a parody of this called "Martha Stewart My Dear."
- Steven, Sunnyvale, CA
OMG the only reason why i would learn piano would be to play this song 24/7 i love it :)
- kevin, quebec, Canada
i think this song is sooo sweet! when i hear it was about paul's dog, i thought what the heck?!? only a real animal lover would've written a song about their dog! I am a real animal lover, so this song makes me happy!
- izzy, buffalo, NY
Like I said, this just shows Pauls incredible making melodies and songwriting (Usually the same thing) abilities.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
I walk by a house whom i know inside lives a Martha on my way to school and every single time this song come on, on my mp3 player, and it's sooo beautiful! I love lietning to it!
- Michelle, Antigonish, Canada
This song has the best melody I've ever heard. Paul was brilliant with the piano. Psychonaut and Zack, interesting. Gavin, it was because Martha would probably die before Paul, and Paul wanted MArtha to remember him forever.
- Johnny, Los Angeles, CA
This the only song I know with my name in it so I love it! It is a catchy song and means a lot to me. -Martha Jane, Yonkers, NY
- Martha, Yonkers, NY
One reliable site says that the song name came from the dog, but that was only to disguise the song's true meaning. It is directed at Jane Asher, whom Paul believed he was meant for, even though at the time he was dating Linda Eastman. Seen in this light, the lyrics make perfect sense.

"Martha my dear, though I spend my days in conversation please remember me. Martha my love, don't forget me." and also, "Take a good look you're bound to see, that you and me, were meant to be."
- Justin, Florence, SC
My opinion is that the song flips between paul singing about his muse and his dog (martha). This would make sense because a muse cannot "remember me" however I'm sure a dog could but than again there are some clear lyrics that make sense as to refer to pauls muse. Because, a muse cant hold its hand out!!!
- Evan, Brookfield, WI, WI
I like this song. It is adorable to think of Paul sitting at the piano with his dog lying at his feet while he is singing to her. "Hold your head up, you silly girl- Look what you've done. When you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you- silly girl" -Sounds like she got in the garbage and when Paul found her she started to sulk. Beautiful!
- Kristina, small town, NE
Martha is a hilarious name for a dog.
- Helen, Oxford, England
I don't it's totally about Martha the sheepdog either. It might have been inspired by her though.
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
The song Getting Better was thought of while paul was walking Martha.
- Zack, Hinesburg, VT
I don't know why, but this is my favorite song of all time.
- Danielle, Maplewood, NJ
It IS about Paul's dog. Paul himself confirms this in this quote; "Whereas it would appear to anybody else to be a song to a girl called
Martha, it's actually a dog, and our relationship was platonic, believe me."

Paul of course wrote another song about one of his animals "Jet", his horse. (Although some people on this site claim "Jet" was about his dog).
- Psychonaut, London, England
This is Paul just singing to his dog. Nothing more. He said so himself.
- Mike, New Point, VA
It sounds like he's leaving his girlfriend or something and she's sad.
- Elizabeth, Phoenix, AZ
I have heard that this song is actually about Jane Asher, after they broke up. He just used Martha's name in the song.
- Katie, Um..., NJ
In the movie "A Christmas Carol" made in 1939 starred Allstair Sim as Scrooge. Bob Cratchit was his clerk, father of Tiny Tim and it's either Bob's wife or one of his daughter's name is Martha. At one point in the movie he addresses Martha as "Martha My Dear". This could be where the idea for the title came from. Just a thought.
- Shirley, Ocean, NJ
it may not be about his sheep dog but he does state that the dog was an influence.
- Matthias, lala, FL
"Remember me Martha my love, Don't forget me" suggest that paul was sending a message from the dead. creepy.
- gavin, sydney, Australia
What did the dog do? Mess up someone's lawn?
- Paulo, New York, NY
Its about and Im guessing here a sheepdog who has done something bad and is mopeing around about it. The sheepdog's owner says no mopeing hold your head up you should actually be proud of what youve done.
- Tyson, Ruidoso, NM
I love this song. But I don't see how it could be about a sheepdog. Maybe inspired, not totally about it? I don't know, only Paul knows that.
- Brittanie, Liverpool, England
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