“People get ready, there’s a train a-comin…”
“Iiiii am everyday people!”
“People, people who need people/Are the luckiest people in the world”
Yeah, yeah, yeah… If there’s one thing we as a society have an overabundance of, it’s songs about people! It’s always “people” this and “baby” that! The sad truth is that there are far too few songs about man’s ACTUAL best friend. (I refer to dogs, not human best friends. See: Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” and Jefferson Airplane’s “My Best Friend” for examples of the latter.) Fortunately, some of our most beloved artists have written songs which work to fill this musical canine void somewhat. Let’s take a look/listen at one, shall we?
Image via Nogoodforme
The Beatles – “Martha My Dear”
The Beatles have a lot of animal songs in their discography – “Piggies,” “Rocky Raccoon,” “Blackbird”…actually, pretty much all of the White Album. However, the only one about a LITERAL animal sneaks up on ya. “Martha My Dear,” though seemingly just a song about a quirky-ass girl, was written by Paul McCartney for his Old English sheepdog, Martha.
Image via Feelnumb
McCartney got Martha in June 1966, right after she was born. According to Paul:
“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.”
Let’s have a listen…
While the words themselves are more likely about Paul’s breakup with longtime girlfriend Jane Asher, it’s more fun to picture a sheepdog in these lyrics: “When you find yourself in the thick of it, help yourself to a bit of what is all around you, silly girl.”
Image via Feelnumb
Again, McCartney states about the song:
‘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.”
Martha remained Paul’s companion up until her death in 1981 at Paul’s Mull of Kintyre house in Scotland. (Where THIS song came from, Wings fans.) But that wasn’t the end of beloved Martha’s legacy – she popped out some puppies, and one, Arrow, is featured on the cover of McCartney’s Paul Is Live album.
Image via Rolling Stone