Recording "Martha My Dear", "Honey Pie"

Friday, October 4, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of

"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Trident Studios, London, UK

Master release

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The Beatles spent this entire week of recording at Trident Studios. On October 1 and October 2, they worked on Paul McCartney’s “Honey Pie“. On October 3, they worked on George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle“. And on this day, October 4, they worked on Paul McCartney’s “Martha My Dear” and resumed work on “Honey Pie“.

The session lasted from 4 pm to 4:30 am. They started working on the basic track of “Martha My Dear“, with Paul McCartney on piano and lead vocals, George Harrison on electric guitar and Ringo Starr on drums. John Lennon was absent from this session. By 6 pm, a basic track – named Take 1 – was recorded.

Solo vocal by Paul but his voice is double-tracked. That means you hear him twice over although the blending of his two vocal “takes” has been done so well it’s almost like hearing just one voice. NOT dedicated to Paul’s Good Dog Martha! A lovely ballad with rich orchestral backing. Theme is You Were Meant For Me. Incidentally Ringo bashed a hole in his brand new bass drum skin the night we started this track.

Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°64, November 1968

From 6 pm to 9 pm, The Beatles were joined by seven studio musicians to record the brass and woodwind arrangement for “Honey Pie” that George Martin had prepared.

At 9 pm, those musicians left and were replaced by fourteen other session musicians for the recording of a brass and strings arrangement for “Martha My Dear“. This was quite unusual for The Beatles to record the basic track of a song and invite external musicians to complement it during the same session (and this suggests George Martin was given a demo of some sort prior to this session to write the score recorded on this day)!

From midnight to 4:30 am, Paul McCartney re-recorded his lead vocal track for “Martha My Dear” and added handclaps. He then double-tracked both the vocals and the handclaps.

Finally, he returned to “Honey Pie” to record the line “now she’s hit the big time!“. As mentioned in “The Beatles” Super Deluxe edition book (2018):

“Now she’s hit the big time” was distorted as a ’78 vocal’ on track seven. It was an aural reference to the scratchy sound of discs played at the speed of 78 revolutions per minute from the era that “Honey Pie” evoked.

We put a sound on my voice to make it sound like a scratchy old record. So it’s not a parody, it’s a nod to the vaudeville tradition that I was raised on.

Paul McCartney – from “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles

Work on “Martha My Dear” and “Honey Pie” continued on the next day.

Paul McCartney and George Harrison working on Honey Pie for the White Album, 1968.
From Facebook – 4 October 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (
From Facebook – 4 October 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (
From Facebook – 4 October 1968 – Photo by Linda McCartney / Linda Enterprises Ltd. © Paul McCartney (

Last updated on September 19, 2021

Songs recorded


Martha My Dear

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1


Honey Pie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 1


Martha My Dear

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 1


Musicians on "Martha My Dear"

Paul McCartney:
lead vocals, piano, handclaps
Ringo Starr:
George Harrison:
electric guitar
Tony Tunstall:
French horn
Leo Birnbaum:
Leon Calvert:
Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Reginald Kilbey:
Bernard Miller:
Dennis McConnell:
Lou Sofier:
Les Maddox:
Henry Myerscough:
Frederick Alexander:
Stanley Reynolds:
Ronnie Hughes:
Ted Barker:
Alf Reece:

Musicians on "Honey Pie"

Paul McCartney:
Dennis Walton:
Rex Morris:
Ronald Chamberlain:
Jim Chester:
Harry Klein:
Raymond Newman:
David Smith:

Production staff

George Martin:
Barry Sheffield:

Going further

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

Shop on Amazon

The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)

The fourth book of this critically acclaimed series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)" captures The Beatles as they take the lessons of Sgt. Pepper forward with an ambitious double-album that is equally innovative and progressive. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

Shop on Amazon

If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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