In October of 1968, The Beatles recorded the Paul McCartney penned “White Album” song “Martha, My Dear”. At the time, most people assumed McCartney was indirectly singing a message of love to his longtime girlfriend, Jane Asher who had just broken off their engagement a few months earlier.
Funny thing is McCartney was actually not signing about his ex-girlfriend Jane but rather to the other subject in the photo above, his beloved English Sheepdog “Martha”.
Here’s the history of “Martha” who is included in thousands of photos with McCartney and with The Beatles. Soon after buying his house on Cavendish Avenue, Paul McCartney bought his first pet, an Old English sheepdog puppy that he named Martha. She was born June 16, 1966.
About Martha, Paul said,
“She was a dear pet of mine. I remember John (Lennon) 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.”
Here’s a really cool photo of Lennon and McCartney walking ‘Martha”.
Check out “Martha” on the set of The Beatles “Strawberry Fields Forever” video shoot.
In 1997, McCartney confirmed that “Martha” the dog had been the inspiration behind the song “Martha My Dear“. It’s a communication of some sort of affection but in a slightly abstract way, McCartney said,
‘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.”
McCartney also said,
“When I taught myself piano I liked to see how far I could go, and this started life almost as a piece you’d learn as a piano lesson. It’s quite hard for me to play, it’s a two-handed thing, like a little set piece. In fact I remember one or two people being surprised that I’d played it because 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 at the age of 15 at McCartney’s farm house in Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. She is survived by her offspring, one of which was featured on McCartney’s 1993 album “Paul Is Live” album cover. Her name is Arrow.