Martha My Dear

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"Martha My Dear"
Martha My Dear sheet music cover.jpg
Cover of the Maclen Music sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album The Beatles
Released22 November 1968
Recorded4 October 1968 Trident Studios
GenreMusic hall[1]
LabelApple Records
Producer(s)George Martin

"Martha My Dear" is a song by the Beatles written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), which first appeared on the double album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album").

Style and form[edit]

The song features a music hall-inspired piano line that recurs throughout the piece, as well as a brass section. The song modulates through several keys.[1]

The song key is E major, showing up embellished chords with jazzy sprinkled dissonances. The verse is a syncopated replicate of the first melodic section adding two extra beats, a technique similar to that used later by McCartney in “Two of Us”. Though the bridge is in the key of F major, the manner in which it abruptly sets in and exits makes it sound more out-of-the-way than it really is.[1]


The title "Martha My Dear" was inspired by McCartney's Old English Sheepdog, named Martha.[2][3] McCartney has said that the song itself is probably about his longtime love interest Jane Asher. Asher broke off their engagement in mid-1968. McCartney chides her with the lyrics in the song "...when you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you..."[4] Asher inspired many of McCartney's songs, including "Here, There and Everywhere", "I'm Looking Through You", "For No One" and "We Can Work It Out". (A later "Martha" lyric explains, "You have always been my inspiration..." McCartney has also said that the song is about his "muse"—the voice in his head that tells him what words and music to write.[5])

Cover versions[edit]

British rock band Ambrose Slade, later known as Slade, released a cover version on their debut album Beginnings in 1969.

American jazz group Groove Collective released a cover version of the song on their album Declassified (1999).

Jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has released versions of the song on his albums Day Is Done (2005) and Live in Marciac (2011).[6][7]

Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux released her version as the first track on the album Standing on the Rooftop (2011).

When Mojo released The White Album Recovered in 2008, part of a continuing series of CDs of Beatles albums covered track-by-track by modern artists, the track was covered by Vashti Bunyan and Max Richter.[8]


  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked lead vocals, piano, bass, drums, handclaps, brass and string arrangement
  • George Harrison – electric guitar
  • George Martin – brass and string arrangement
  • Bernard Miller – violin
  • Dennis McConnell – violin
  • Lou Sofier – violin
  • Les Maddox – violin
  • Leo Birnbaum – viola
  • Henry Myerscough – viola
  • Reginald Kilbey – cello
  • Frederick Alexander – cello
  • Peter Halling – cello
  • Leon Calvert – trumpet, flugelhorn
  • Stanley Reynolds – trumpet
  • Ronnie Hughes – trumpet
  • Tony Tunstall – French horn
  • Ted Barker – trombone
  • Alf Reece – tuba
Personnel per Ian MacDonald[2] and Mark Lewisohn[9]


  1. ^ a b c Pollack 1995.
  2. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 322.
  3. ^ Raul (10 January 2010). "The Story About Paul McCartney's Dog Martha". John Lennon, Paul McCartney, The Beatles. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  4. ^ Matthews 2008.
  5. ^ Turner 2005, pp. 157–159.
  6. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Brad Mehldau Day Is Done – Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-03.
  7. ^ Jurek, Thom. "Brad Mehldau Live in Marciac – Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-02-04.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 159.