Monday, 20 May 2013

10:18 Martha My Dear (pt.6) Lyrics

Time for the last post on Martha, though I feel I've only scratched the weird surface of this wonderful tune. Let's look at the lyrics. Though by McCartney's own admission they're little more than stream of conscious placeholders they display the wonderful way Lennon & McCartney placed, replaced and substituted words.


Check out the way Paul ties together the very odd structured verse by starting and ending with the title

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

He does the same thing in bridge one

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

That line also ties together bridge 1 and 2 as both end with the silly girl line. (There are plenty of musical parallels between the bridges too - both start with Dm7 to G9 or Gm9 and end with a Dm7 to Gm9 and the same one bar brass solo. This 'hook-in-common' means that both bridges lead back into the verse equally well).

Parallel Lyrics

The Beatles loved using this method, especially when tying together odd structures with no real rhyme scheme.

No lines demonstrate the rhyming idea concept better than

Martha, my dear
though I spend my days in conversation
Please remember me
Martha, my love
Don't forget me
Martha, my dear

repeating sentence structures abound

Martha, my dear/love
Please remember me/be good to me
Hold your head up/ hand out
See/Look what you've done

in fact, there's a lots to see...

Look what you've done/Take a good look around
See what you've done/you're bound to see

(...see what I did there?)

Rhymes/half rhymes

Another way of creating a sense of structure is to rhyme the same lines in different verse

V1 Martha, my dear
Though I spend my days in conversation

V2 Martha, my dear
You have always been my inspiration

and inner rhymes and half rhymes make individual lines 'sing'

Please re - member me

In the thick of it
Help yourself to a bit

Take a good look a - round you
Take a good look you've bound to see

Take a good look you've bound to see
That you and me were meant to be

Bonus features

Ticket 3 is in full effect with instrumental hooks like the strings/piano counter melody towards the end of the verses and the aforementioned brass fill arpeggios at end of the bridges.

Ticket 4 creates a solo by having the brass playing the verse melody.

Ticket 5 provides contrast between sections by bridge 2 having a double time feel to the rest of the song and, arrangement-wise, having the main melody doubled on strings in the verse but played on brass in the solo.

Coming Next – George Harrison Blasts Clapton In Anti-Chocolate Shocker!


  1. It has been fun reading all these things about what is a favourite song of mine from The White Album. I don't really know why it is, but it just is.

    Yes it's got that old time variety hall type thing going on, but there is so much more to it. Personally I think it is a better variant of that kind of thing than a song like When I'm 64 because this song is more like something that's inspired by that as opposed to an out and out carbon copy of that style.

    I like both songs, but this one really has that originality that the others in this style don't seem to have.

    Lyrically (and melodically) it is up there in McCartney's writings I think. Yes, it's "stream of conscious" writing, but I also think that it is one where he has edited and honed the piece to perfection with, as you mentioned, the internal rhymes, the mirrored beginning and end of sections lyrically, and the whole arrangement of how the song flows from one section to another.

    All that in two minutes and twenty eight seconds!

  2. Yeah - I think your observations about the similarities and differences between 64 and Martha are spot on Martin.

    As far as honed to perfection, I'd love to believe it, but I think the (depressing) reality is that Paul probably came up with all of that lyrical mastery subconsciously! They display the same skill and methods in so many songs that I think it just came naturally by this point.