Martha My Dear

"Martha My Dear" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 eponymous double album The Beatles (also known as the "White Album"). Credited to Lennon–McCartney, the song was solely written by Paul McCartney about his Old English Sheepdog, Martha, he owned at the time.[2][3]

"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 (1968-11-22)
Recorded4–5 October 1968
StudioTrident, London
GenreMusic hall[1]
Producer(s)George Martin

Style and formEdit

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]


According to Beatles' biographers Ian MacDonald and Mark Lewisohn, "Martha My Dear" is one of the few songs by the band in which solely Paul McCartney played all the instruments (except orchestral instruments played by session musicians), something relatively usual for him at that introspective time during the height of the tensions that marred the sessions for the White Album. Although George Harrison is known to have recorded a small section of the electric guitar in the final recording, he was not credited.

The song was recorded over two days on 4 and 5 October 1968 at Trident Studios in London.[4] McCartney recorded the piano, drums, and vocals on the first day. He was advised to have George Martin play the piano solo because it was believed that the solo was beyond Paul's competency, but Paul persisted. George Martin's brass and string arrangements were overdubbed later that day. The next day, McCartney re-recorded his vocals, added handclaps, and overdubbed bass and guitar parts, completing the song that day.[4]


Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its release, Jacob Stolworthy of The Independent listed "Martha My Dear" at number 20 in his ranking of the White Album's 30 tracks. He called the song of the "one of the album's most unfairly maligned tracks" and "irresistibly charming."[5]


According to Ian MacDonald[2] and Mark Lewisohn[4]

The Beatles

  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked lead vocals, piano, bass, electric guitar, drums, handclaps, brass and string arrangement

Additional musicians

String and brass arrangement by George Martin.


  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. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, p. 159.
  5. ^ Stolworthy, Jacob (22 November 2018). "The Beatles' White Album tracks, ranked – from Blackbird to While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2019.