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The Beatles Songs: Wild Honey Pie

The history of this Beatles song

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The Beatles Songs: Wild Honey Pie

A bootleg joke 45 of "Wild Honey Pie"

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Wild Honey Pie

Written by: Paul McCartney (100%)
(credited to Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: August 20, 1968 (Studio 3, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: August 20 and October 13, 1968
Length: :52
Takes: 1

Musicians:

Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar (1963 Gibson "Super Jumbo" J-200), percussion

Available on: (CDs in bold)

The Beatles (a/k/a "The White Album"; UK: Apple PMC 7067-8; US: Apple SWBO 101; Parlophone CDP 7 46443 2; CDP 7 46444 2)

History:

  • The Beatles did a lot of experimentation with actual song form on the "White Album," more than they'd done before and would ever do since. Although John's equally notorious "Revolution 9" was still some weeks away from birth, he'd already concocted a mostly tuneless free-for-all called "What's The New Mary Jane?" It was a largely improvised freakout that didn't sound like much of a song at all, and this song, recorded four days later, can be seen as Paul's attempt to do the same thing. All three song would routinely thereafter make the "worst" Beatles song lists without fail.
  • As with so many White Album songs, McCartney decided to tackle this one all alone, entering what he describes as the "the control room or maybe in the little room next door," which indicates Abbey Road's small Studio Three. On the afternoon of August 20, 1968, he overdubbed three acoustic guitars, picked wildly in order to sound fabulously out of tune, then overdubbed percussion effects, likely beating on whatever was handy, perhaps the guitar case. The final touch, as it were, consisted of three vocal tracks, left, right, and center - Paul harmonizing with himself in a frightfully strange, exaggerated backwoods drawl.
  • This song supposedly originated as a singalong that spontaneously happened while the band studied with the Maharishi in Rishikesh, India, one at which the Beach Boys were present. For that reason, because Paul had written a song called "Honey Pie" while there, and also because the Beach Boys had written a song called "Wild Honey" while at the same ashram, Paul decided to name this song "Wild Honey Pie." Although lyric sheets have often noted the word at the end of the song as "hello," it's actually a comically exaggerated "I love you."

Trivia:

  • Pattie Boyd, wife of George, loved this twisted little ditty, and it was she who ensured that this experiment would be included in the final lineup of the "White Album."
  • Though well hated by many Beatles fans, the placement of "Wild Honey Pie" on the album once again shows the Beatles' musical instincts subconsciously at work: the chords of the verse move in much the same way that the ending of "Glass Onion" does, wobbly, drunken staggering and all, while the descending chords in between the verses recall the verses of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Perhaps not so coincidentally, "Glass Onion" is sequenced two songs before "Wild Honey Pie," and "Weeps" comes two songs after it.
  • In addition, the song leading into this one, "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da," ends in G, which is roughly what "Wild Honey Pie" begins in; the song after this one, "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill," begins with an E Minor flamenco guitar sample, then moves down perfectly into the key of C. Tonally, it's a perfect fit. And while "Wild Honey Pie" follows the fourth song on the album, the "real" song simply named "Honey Pie" leads right into the fourth song from the end of the album, "Savoy Truffle" - a song which also happens to explicitly mention "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" by name. It's a perfect set of bookends.

Covered by: The Pixies, Das Damen, Part Chimp

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