Paul McCartney paid 10 guineas for her and said she resembled “a huge tangled ball of wool.”
The huge tangled ball of wool finally named Martha was born June 16, 1966 and a few weeks later, two-years after meeting breeder Ann Arch, Paul picked his pup up at her High Wycombe home and took her back to his new St. John’s Wood house in London.
Paul tried naming her “Knickers” but Jane Asher was not about to walk around London with a dog named Knickers. Or see her name in captions next to “Knickers” for that matter, so Knickers became Martha.
“I remember John being amazed to see me being so loving to an animal. He said, ‘I’ve never seen you like that before.’ I’ve since thought, you know, he wouldn’t have. It’s only when you’re cuddling around with a dog that you’re in that mode. And she was a very cuddly dog.”
In the most Paul way ever “Martha My Dear” is definitely a song to Jane Asher hiding behind his/their dog Martha and also using Martha the dog to remind Jane of the good times they had all while being a challenging piano lesson for him and another song to put on the album. After all, it’s a Paul song, and more than that, it’s a Beatles song, and a Beatles’ song is always big enough to encompass many worlds. Beatles grabbed from any fairy dust floating by. Greedily. Sloppily. Categorizing and segregating inspiration never seemed important to any Beatle.
“I’m not really speaking to Martha, it’s a communication of some sort of affection but in a slightly abstract way – ‘You silly girl, look what you’ve done,’ all that sort of stuff. These songs grow. 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!”
“I just started thinking about some words with a tune. I don’t ever write a song thinking, ‘Now, I’ll write a song about…’ I do, sometimes, but mainly, I don’t. I’m doing a tune and then some words come into my head and these happened to be ‘Martha my dear,’ you know, ’spend my days in conversation.’ It doesn’t mean anything, you know, those words just happened to come into my head. ‘ You see, this is what this song is all about, this song is about my dog, but I don’t particularly want her to remember me…’ So you can read anything you like into it, but really it’s just a song. It’s me singing to my dog.”
“It’s quite hard for me to play, it’s a two-handed thing, like a little set piece. …it’s slightly above my level or competence really, but I wrote it as that, something a bit more complex for me to play. Then while I was blocking out words – you just mouth out sounds and some things come – I found the words ‘Martha My Dear.’”
Martha died in 1981 after being a part of the McCartney family for 15 good years.
Martha’s daughter Arrow was on Paul’s 1993 ‘Paul is Live’ album cover.
Martha My Dear
- Written: October, 1968
- Recorded: October 4 & 5, 1968
- First US Release Date: November 25, 1968
- First US Album Release: Apple #SWBO-101 “The Beatles”
- Highest Chart Position: n/a
- British Album Release: Apple #PCS 7067-7068 “The Beatles”
- Length: 2:28
- Key: E-flat major
- Producer: George Martin
- Engineer: Barry Sheffield
- “Many Years From Now”
- “Paul McCartney wrote about puppy in song Martha My Dear” – DAILY MAIL
- “Martha My Dear” isn’t really about a dog, but who cares” – AVCLUB – By Marah Eakin
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