This jaunty White Album ditty is pure McCartney from start to finish, so it’s no surprise he recorded everything but the orchestrations himself: music-hall piano runs, swooping bass, brash electric-guitar leads, minimal drums and handclaps. Still, “Martha” — an odd hybrid of detached love song and dedication to the songwriter’s faithful Old English sheepdog — is a true collaboration with producer George Martin, who arranged the elegant strings and brass.
“I remember George Harrison once said to me, ‘I could never write songs like that,'” McCartney said in Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now. “‘You just make ’em up; they don’t mean anything to you.’ I think on a deep level, they do mean something to me, but on a surface level they are often fantasy like ‘Desmond and Molly’ or ‘Martha My Dear.’ I mean, I’m not really speaking to Martha. It’s a communication of some sort of affection but in a slightly abstract way.”