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Honey Don't

The history of this classic Beatles song



The UK EP "Four By The Beatles"

source: ebay.com

Honey Don't

Written by: Carl Perkins
Recorded: October 26, 1964 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: October 27, 1964
Length: 2:56
Takes: 5
John Lennon: rhythm guitar (1964 Gibson J160E)
Paul McCartney: bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead guitar (1962 Gretsch 6119 "Tennessean")
Ringo Starr: lead vocals, drums (Ludwig)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
Beatles For Sale, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1240, PCS 3062; Parlophone CDP 7 46438 2)
4 By The Beatles (EP), (UK: Capitol R5365)
Beatles '65, (US: Capitol (S)T 2228, Capitol CDP 7243 8 66874 2 5)


  • Carl Perkins' original version of "Honey Don't" was originally released as the b-side of his signature 1956 hit "Blue Suede Shoes" (Sun 234, listed as "Honey, Don't!"). A common fixture in the live sets of many a Liverpool band, the song's unusual (for the time) chord structure probably appealed to the band as well. A staple of the band's shows since 1962, it usually featured Ringo on lead vocal (although John would sometimes sing it).
  • While touring England in May 1964, Perkins met the Beatles at a party thrown for him by Eric Burdon of the Animals. Ringo requested that the Beatles be allowed to record the hit, and Perkins, honored, agreed immediately.
  • "Honey Don't" was recorded at the seventh and last session for Beatles For Sale, just before work began on the last recorded track, "What You're Doing." Carl Perkins had visited the group during the recording of his song "Matchbox," but was absent from this session.
  • The two versions are almost identical, rare for a Beatles cover. The only true differences in the recordings lie in the ad-libs: Carl introduces the two guitar solos with "Hang on, children, let's rock now!" and "Get it, cat, let's go, now!" while Ringo opts for "Ah, rock on, George, one time for me!" and "Ah, rock on, George, for Ringo, one time!" He also exclaims, during the first solo, "I feel fine!" and then puckishly follows that up with "I'm sad."
Known live versions:
July 1960 (Grosvenor Ballrooms, Wallasey, England, as the Silver Beetles); January 1-2, 4, 9, 11-16, 1965 (Another Beatles Christmas Show, Hammersmith Odeon, London, England)
BBC radio versions: 2 (for the BBC radio programs From Us To You and Top Gear)
  • This is the only officially released Beatles cover to have been covered solo by all four Beatles: John recorded it three times during rehearsals for Plastic Ono Band (as part of a medley) and Some Time New York City, as well as for the soundtrack of his homemade film Clock; Paul recorded a version with Carl Perkins during sessions for Paul's Tug Of War album; Ringo performed a version with Perkins for his 1986 TV special Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session With Carl Perkins And Friends; and George performed a version of "Honey Don't" with Bob Dylan and John Fogerty at a 1987 Hollywood gig by bluesman Taj Mahal. Ringo has also sung the song live on his All-Starr tours. All but the McCartney version are available on bootlegs.
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