September 14, 2015 | Posted in Breeds and Stars
SIR PAUL McCARTNEY AND MARTHA
Besides the obvious title bestowed on him by Her Majesty the Queen, there are several other titles that apply to Sir Paul McCartney.
He’s a 1999 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Guinness World Records call him “The most successful composer and recording artist of all time” and – oh yes – he was one of the iconic Beatles, who shot to stardom in the 1960’s and whose recordings have sold countless millions of copies worldwide ever since.
But save room for a couple of other kinder and gentler titles – Paul McCartney, animal activist and dog lover.
In 1966 he acquired an Old English Sheepdog puppy he named Martha.
“She was a dear pet of mine,” he has said. He recalls fellow Beatle John Lennon being surprised to see him so loving with the dog, saying, “I’ve never seen you like that before.” McCartney understood the comment. “It’s only when you’re cuddling around with a dog that you’re in that mode, and she was a very cuddly dog,” he said.
A rumor circulated that McCartney named his inner songwriting muse “Martha” and then named his beloved sheepdog after that muse.
This may or may not be true, but Martha the dog was a muse, in a way, inspiring McCartney’s song, “Martha My Dear.” Some fans thought that even though he changed the name, it was a message of love to his then-girlfriend Jane Asher.
It was a statement of affection, to be sure, with lyrics like “You silly girl, look what you’ve done.” But McCartney revealed that the explanation is much simpler.
“It would appear to anybody else to be a song for a girl named Martha,” he has joked, but “it’s actually a dog and our relationship was platonic, believe me.”
Martha passed in 1981 at the ripe old age of 15 on McCartney’s farmhouse in Mull of Kintyre, Scotland. She was survived by her offspring, including one named Arrow who was featured on McCartney’s 1993 album cover “Paul is Live.”
When McCartney married photographer and animal activist Linda Eastman in 1969, she introduced him to a deeper love and respect not only for dogs but all animals. He also became a vegetarian during their marriage and has remained so since her passing in 1998.
He married third wife Nancy Shevell in 2011 and still remains one of the world’s top draws at concerts, having performed in the last couple of years in Mexico City, at Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee Concert outside Buckingham Palace, at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, and at a Hurricane Sandy Relief concert.
But he still finds time to support his love of animals by staunchly supporting such causes as PETA, the Humane Society and Humane Society International.