The Adorable Inspiration About “Martha My Dear”

The Beatles at the press launch for their new album 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', held at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, London, 19th May 1967. Left to right: George Harrison (1943 - 2001), Ringo Starr, John Lennon (1940 - 1980) and Paul McCartney. (Photo by John Downing/Getty Images)

Personal experiences are a common source of inspiration for songwriters. These memories include the coming and going of loved ones, happy and unhappy relationships, or just nice times shared by everybody. But occasionally, songs are created about made-up events.

Paul McCartney wrote a song about his dog Martha.

The Beatles released “The Beatles,” a double album in 1968 that is also referred to as “The White Album.” The combined LPs are 93 minutes long and feature well-known songs like “Dear Prudence,” which was written about Mia Farrow’s sister, Prudence, while the latter was traveling in India and engaging in obsessive meditation, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” and “Helter Skelter.”

Paul McCartney did not frequently use names while writing about love partners, therefore maybe a lesser-known song from this album is “Martha My Dear.” Why then did he feel that was suitable for this song?

The fact that Martha wasn’t a romantic partner may be the cause. The sheepdog owned by McCartney was named Martha. Before settling down in 1969 with his wife Linda McCartney, McCartney purchased Martha while residing in London. McCartney intended for the song to be open to different interpretations, referring to Martha as “a darling pet of mine” in the memoir “Many Years from Now.”

When one considers that McCartney has been an animal activist all of his life, the significance of “Martha My Dear” may seem less strange. In the 1970s, Paul adopted a vegetarian diet, and his late wife Linda McCartney wrote cookbooks on the subject. They shared ownership of dogs, horses, chickens, and geese between their houses in Sussex and Scotland.