Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Martha My Dear

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Paul with the two loves of his life at the time, in no particular order, Jane Asher and Martha.

Yes, "Martha My Dear" really is about Paul McCartney's English Sheepdog. It is one of several songs that Paul has written about his pets (with "Jet" being either his dog or horse or maybe a relative, for instance). "Martha My Dear" is off the White Album. For the longest time, people wondered who "Martha" was, thinking it was Paul's newest love. I'm sure John would class this with Paul's "granny songs." Great song, though. Paul apparently is the only Beatle playing on the final recording, though there is some dispute over whether George Harrison actually played guitar.

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com

Paul has said this about "Martha My Dear":
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 entered Paul's life in 1965 and lived with her at his Cavendish Avenue pad. He also has said:
She was a dear pet of mine. 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.
Considering the interesting times that Paul had at Cavendish, it's a shame Martha was never able to write her memoirs.

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com

The Beatles recorded "Martha My Dear" at Trident Studios in Soho, London because it was one of the few facilities at the time with 8-track tape recording. Paul since has said that he only needs four tracks to put together just about any song, but having more tracks undoubtedly makes it easier on the engineers. The Beatles recorded "Martha My Dear on 4 and 5 October 1968 while "Let It Be" was the No. 1 song. Paul once played the piano riff of the song at a soundcheck at Budokan on 28 April 2015 on his "Out There Tour," but never (apparently) in concert. He appears to like playing the piano part, which he describes as contrapuntal, just not for fans. Many fans wonder why. Some speculate that it's just a difficult piano part to play live for an audience, but it may be the requirement of a full brass section to sound like the record. Such things cost money, and Paul, well, he likes to be efficient with his money.

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com

Speaking of the brass section, the session musicians were:
  • violinists Bernard Miller, Dennis McConnell, Lou Sofier and Les Maddox;
  • viola players Leo Birnbaum and Henry Myerscough;
  • cellists Reginald Kilbey and Frederick Alexander;
  • trumpeters Leon Calvert, Stanley Reynolds and Ronnie Hughes;
  • French horn player Tony Tunstall;
  • trombonist Ted Barker;
  • tuba player Alf Reece;
  • Leon Calvert on flugelhorn (added later) 
Recording took place through the night, with Paul finishing his vocals only around 04:30. Oh, and the handclaps are Paul's, too.

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com

Martha my dear
Though I spend my days in conversation
Please remember me
Martha my love don't forget me
Martha my dear

Hold your head up you silly girl
Look what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you

Silly girl take a good look around you
Take a good look you're bound to see
That you and me were meant to be
For each other silly girl

Hold your hand out you silly girl
See what you've done
When you find yourself in the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit of what is all around you
You silly girl

Martha passed away at Paul's Scottish Farm in 1981 at the ripe old age of 15. However, Martha left behind offspring, one of whom appeared on one of his covers some years later.

Martha My Dear paulmccartney.filminspector.com
Arrow, Martha's offspring, appears on the cover of "Paul is Live" in 1993. However, no, "Martha My Dear" does not appear because Paul does not do that song live so it would have been pretty difficult to include it (Iain Macmillan). 


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