Friday, November 19, 2010

"Honey Don't"

"Honey Don't" is a song written by Carl Perkins, originally released on January 1, 1956 as the B-side of the "Blue Suede Shoes" single. Both songs became rockabilly classics. Bill Dahl of Allmusic praised the song saying, "'Honey Don't actually outclasses its more celebrated platter-mate in some ways." It has been covered by more than 20 other artists, including The Beatles, Ronnie Hawkins and Johnnie Rivers.

Behind the song

According to David McGee, author of Go, Cat, Go! The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, the King of Rockabilly, Carl Perkins first brought the song to a rehearsal with his band which at the time comprised the Perkins brothers and W.S. Holland:

* Carl Perkins – lead guitar and vocals
* Jay Perkins – acoustic guitar and backing vocals
* Clayton Perkins – standup bass
* W. S. Holland – drums.

When Carl first played the song to Jay, Jay protested what sounded to him like an odd chord choice, going to a C7 chord after the E of a natural blues progression choice of A. At first, Jay refused to go along, but Carl convinced him it was something different, and today the chord choice is one of the most interesting aspects of the song.

Beatles version

The Beatles recorded their version on October 26, 1964 one of the last songs recorded for Beatles for Sale which was released in the UK on December 4, 1964. The U.S. release was on December 15 on Beatles '65.

Although John Lennon had previously sung the song live, Ringo Starr sang it for the album, his requisite one lead vocal per album. During the song, he makes self-referential remarks leading into Harrison's guitar riffs, such as, "Rock on George, for Ringo on time!"

A version sung by Lennon is available on Live at the BBC. George Harrison was a fan of Perkins, and Starr sang "Honey Don't" during the Concert For George which was held at the Royal Albert Hall, London on November 29, 2002, the first anniversary of Harrison's death.

Personnel on Beatles version

* Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums
* George Harrison – lead guitar
* John Lennon – acoustic rhythm guitar
* Paul McCartney – bass guitar

Other Covers

* Country singer Billy "Crash" Craddock covered the song in 1986 on his album Crash Craddock.
* Johnny Rivers covered the song on his album "Memphis Sun Recordings," released 1991.
* The Dutch group The Mississippi Delta Brothers released the song on their album "The Live Recordings 2007".
* Brazilian rock legend Raul Seixas covered the song in his 1975 album "Novo Aeon." Raul's song "Rock do Diabo" (Devil's Rock) has a similar melody with a different lyric.

B-side to "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins
Published: BMI, 1955
Released: January 1, 1956
Recorded: December 1955
Genre: Rockabilly
Length: 2:53
Label: Sun Records
Writer: Carl Perkins
Producer: Sam Phillips

Song by The Beatles
Album: Beatles for Sale
Released: December 4, 1964
Recorded: October 18, 1964
Genre: Rockabilly
Length: 2:55
Label: Parlophone
Writer: Carl Perkins
Producer: George Martin


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