Martha My Dear

Album: The White Album (1968)
Play Video


  • One of many silly love songs Paul McCartney wrote, "Martha My Dear" isn't about a girl, but rather his muse. According to the book A Hard Day's Write, he's singing to the voice in his head that inspires his words and music. Paul Simon wrote about his muse in "Cecilia" and Bob Dylan wrote about his in "Love Minus Zero / No Limit."
  • Martha was the name of McCartney's beloved sheepdog, which is where the title came from.
  • Per their custom, John Lennon is credited as a writer on this song, but it was entirely a Paul McCartney composition. Paul also played the piano (the lead instrument on the track), with George Harrison on guitar and Ringo on drums. According to most sources, Lennon didn't play on the song at all.
  • There are violins, cellos, trumpets, and various other strings and horn on this track, but the musical feel is very buoyant. This was the work of Beatles producer George Martin, who did the arrangement using about 14 session musicians.
  • One of Martha's offspring can the seen on the cover of McCartney's 1993 album Paul Is Live.
  • This song is a great example of Paul McCartney's songwriting acumen. Seth Swirsky, who wrote the songs "Tell It To My Heart" and "Love Is a Beautiful Thing" and produced the Beatles documentary Beatles Stories, explained: "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.

Comments: 52

  • Frank Watt from OntarioAccording to the book "Beatlesongs" by William Bowlding, it states Lennon played Bass on Martha My Dear.
  • AnonymousI always thought it was about Freuds wife, Martha Bernays.
  • Kickflip from NycJane Asher = Martha
  • Peach from Springfield, WaMartha Speaks.
  • Lawrence from Sydney, AustraliaI 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.
  • Olivia from Philadelphia, PaThis 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!
  • Richard from Tustin, CaThank you, Jim, Garden Grove. It most definitely IS Martha. If you match the video to:, 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 from Tustin, CaCalling 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.
  • Jim from Garden Grove, Casee Martha live!
  • John from Boonville, NyThe 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.
  • Tod from Las Vegas, NvPaul McCartney is a genius. How on earth did he come up with so many beautiful songs?
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moi 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 from St. Louis, Moi 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.
  • Jason from Southlake, TxYou could fall asleep to this song. It is pretty soothing
  • Joao from Sao Paulo, BrazilI think Agnus is right after all.
  • Aaron from Boulder, Coi'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

  • Kelly from Liverpool, United Kingdomyou can see a picture of martha at or another one at
  • Timoklia from Athens, Greece"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's so strange but only Paul knows that.It's so relaxing song that make anyone to listen it again and again!"
  • Lindsay from Coweta, OkI just like the piano solo at the beginning.
  • Amy from Moorpark, Cai named my nintendog which was a sheepdog martha cuz i luv this song so also using it for my choral performance solo at school!
  • Catherine from Essex, United Kingdomi 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
  • David from Rochester, NyMy 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..
  • Bianca from Albuquerque, Nmawwww how cute he wrote it for his doggie!
  • Charlie from New York, NyThe 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.
  • Agnus from London, United StatesThis song is about me. Paul has never met me and wrote it before i was born. But i'm convinced.
  • Love from New York, NyIf you are fortunate enough to be owned by an Old English Sheepdog, the words to Martha My Dear makes perfect sense
  • Sarah from Usa, IaPaul wrote this at his house (7 Cavendish Avenue, St John's Wood, London) while watching his old english sheepdog run around!
  • Buzz from Towntown, MiThis 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.
  • Steven from Sunnyvale, CaBob Rivers ( did a parody of this called "Martha Stewart My Dear."
  • Kevin from Quebec, CanadaOMG the only reason why i would learn piano would be to play this song 24/7 i love it :)
  • Izzy from Buffalo, Nyi 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!
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaLike I said, this just shows Pauls incredible making melodies and songwriting (Usually the same thing) abilities.
  • Michelle from Antigonish, CanadaI 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!
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaThis 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.
  • Martha from Yonkers, NyThis 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
  • Justin from Florence, ScOne 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."
  • Evan from Brookfield, Wi, WiMy 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!!!
  • Kristina from Small Town, NeI 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!
  • Helen from Oxford, EnglandMartha is a hilarious name for a dog.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI don't it's totally about Martha the sheepdog either. It might have been inspired by her though.
  • Zack from Hinesburg, VtThe song Getting Better was thought of while paul was walking Martha.
  • Danielle from Maplewood, NjI don't know why, but this is my favorite song of all time.
  • Psychonaut from London, EnglandIt 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).
  • Mike from New Point, VaThis is Paul just singing to his dog. Nothing more. He said so himself.
  • Elizabeth from Phoenix, AzIt sounds like he's leaving his girlfriend or something and she's sad.
  • Katie from Um..., NjI have heard that this song is actually about Jane Asher, after they broke up. He just used Martha's name in the song.
  • Shirley from Ocean, NjIn 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.
  • Matthias from Lala, Flit may not be about his sheep dog but he does state that the dog was an influence.
  • Gavin from Sydney, Australia"Remember me Martha my love, Don't forget me" suggest that paul was sending a message from the dead. creepy.
  • Paulo from New York, NyWhat did the dog do? Mess up someone's lawn?
  • Tyson from Ruidoso, NmIts 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.
  • Brittanie from Liverpool, EnglandI 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.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

Justin Hayward of The Moody BluesSongwriter Interviews

Justin wrote the classic "Nights In White Satin," but his fondest musical memories are from a different decade.

Billy Gould of Faith No More

Billy Gould of Faith No MoreSongwriter Interviews

Faith No More's bassist, Billy Gould, chats to us about his two new experimental projects, The Talking Book and House of Hayduk, and also shares some stories from the FNM days.

Ed Roland of Collective Soul

Ed Roland of Collective SoulSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Shine," "December," "The World I Know" and other Collective Soul hits.

Grammar In Lyrics

Grammar In LyricsMusic Quiz

Lyrics don't always follow the rules of grammar. Can you spot the ones that don't?


CommercialsFact or Fiction

Was "Ring Of Fire" really used to sell hemorrhoid cream?

Mac Powell of Third Day

Mac Powell of Third DaySongwriter Interviews

The Third Day frontman talks about some of the classic songs he wrote with the band, and what changed for his solo country album.