Honey Pie

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the The Beatles (Mono) LP.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1968

Master album


Related songs


Wild Honey Pie

Officially appears on The Beatles (Mono)

Related interviews


Interview with Radio Luxembourg

Nov 21, 1968 • From Radio Luxembourg

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Honey Pie” is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, from their 1968 eponymous double album The Beatles (also known as “the White Album”). The song was written entirely by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership.

Interpretation

The song is a direct homage to the British music hall style. It concerns a famed actress, called only by the term of endearment “Honey Pie”, who becomes famous in the United States, and her old lover, who wishes for her to rejoin him in England. The premise – a humble admirer yearning for the return of his lover – is not unlike a typical music hall plot. To establish an appropriate, old-timey sound, the band added the third line, “Now she’s hit the big time!”, along with “crackles” taken from a 78 rpm record.
The song begins with a slower intro, and becomes fast after that.

Clarinet and saxophones

The song also contains a saxophone and clarinet arrangement. The clarinets, according to Alan W. Pollack, “produce water sprays in parallel thirds” and the saxophones play unmercifully in tight harmony.

Recording

Recording began on 1 October 1968, at Trident Studios in London’s Wardour Street. Only one take was recorded on the first day, although it is likely that a number of rehearsal attempts had previously been recorded and wiped. The next day, McCartney taped his lead vocals, and a lead guitar part was added. According to George Harrison, John Lennon played the guitar solo. The song’s woodwind arrangement by George Martin was recorded two days later on 4 October. McCartney added a final vocal overdub at the end of the session.

Before recording sessions for the “White Album” began, the Beatles recorded a demo of “Honey Pie” at George Harrison’s Esher home studios. This version contained slightly different lyrics and lacked the introduction of the final version. The demo was later released in 1996 on Anthology 3 and the 2018 Super Deluxe edition of the “White Album”. […]

My dad’s always played fruity old songs like that, you know. And I liked ’em. I like the melody of old songs, and the lyrics actually as well. There’s some old lyrics, like, you know– the woman singing about the man, and she’s saying something about ‘I wanna have his initial on my monogram.’ You know what I mean? There’s good lyrics and just good thoughts that you don’t sort of hear so much these days, you know. And so, I would quite like to have been a 1920’s writer, ‘cuz I like that thing, you know. Umm, you know, up in top hat and tails and sort of coming-on to ’em. So this kind of number, I like that thing. But, uhh… So this is just me doing it, pretending I’m living in 1925.

Paul McCartney – from interview with Radio Luxembourg, 1968

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

Both John and I had a great love for music hall, what the Americans call vaudeville… I very much liked that old crooner style, the strange fruity voice that they used, so Honey Pie was me writing one of them to an imaginary woman, across the ocean, on the silver screen, who was called Honey Pie. It’s another of my fantasy songs.[…]

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.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

[a] mono 5 Oct 1968 at Trident.
UK: Apple PMC 7068 white album 1968.

[b] stereo 5 Oct 1968 at Trident.
UK: Apple PCS 7068 white album 1968.
US: Apple SWBO 101 white album 1968.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46443 2 white album 1987.

Mono [a] has the full lead guitar break, slightly shortened in [b].

Paul McCartney and George Harrison working on Honey Pie for the White Album, 1968. Photo by Linda McCartney

Last updated on July 4, 2021

Lyrics

She was a working girl north of England way
Now she's hit the big time in the USA
And if she could only hear me this is what I'd say

Honey pie, you are making me crazy
I'm in love but I'm lazy
So won't you please come home?

Oh honey pie, my position is tragic
Come and show me the magic
Of your Hollywood song

You became a legend of the silver screen
And now the thought of meeting you
Makes me weak in the knee

Oh honey pie, you are driving me frantic
Sail across the Atlantic
To be where you belong
Honey pie, come back to me

I like it like that, ooh ah
I like this kinda hot kinda music, hot kinda music
Play it to me, play it to me honey with blues

Will the wind that blew her boat across the sea
Kindly send her sailing back to me?

Now honey pie, you are making me crazy
I'm in love but I'm lazy
So won't you please come home?
Come, come back to me honey pie
Honey pie, honey pie

Officially appears on


The Beatles (Mono)

LP • Released in 1968

2:41 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


The Beatles (Stereo)

LP • Released in 1968

2:41 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


Anthology 3

Official album • Released in 1996

1:19 • DemoC • Stereo • Esher Demo

Session Recording:
Late May 1968
Studio :
George Harrison's Home, Kinfauns, Esher, Surrey, UK


The Beatles (Mono - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:41 • Studio versionA2009 • Mono • 2009 mono remaster

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet
Paul Hicks :
Remastering
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


The Beatles (Stereo - 2009 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2009

2:41 • Studio versionB2009 • Stereo • 2009 stereo remaster

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet
Guy Massey :
Remastering
Steve Rooke :
Remastering
Allan Rouse :
Project co-ordinator

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


The Beatles (Mono - 2014 vinyl)

LP • Released in 2014

2:41 • Studio versionA2014 • Mono • 2014 remaster

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet
Sean Magee :
Remastering
Steve Berkowitz :
Remastering

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Mixing:
Oct 05, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


Anthology 3 (2016 remaster)

Official album • Released in 2016

1:19 • DemoC2016 • Stereo • Esher Demo

Session Recording:
Late May 1968
Studio :
George Harrison's Home, Kinfauns, Esher, Surrey, UK


The Beatles (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

2:41 • Studio versionD • Stereo • 2018 stereo mix

Paul McCartney :
Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Lead guitar, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Bass
George Martin :
Producer
Giles Martin :
Producer
Dennis Walton :
Saxophone
Rex Morris :
Saxophone
Barry Sheffield :
Recording engineer
Ronald Chamberlain :
Saxophone
Jim Chester :
Saxophone
Harry Klein :
Saxophone
Raymond Newman :
Clarinet
David Smith :
Clarinet
Sam Okell :
Mixing engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 01, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 02, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK

Session Overdubs:
Oct 04, 1968
Studio :
Trident Studios, London, UK


The Beatles (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

1:59 • DemoE • Esher Demo

Session Recording:
Late May 1968
Studio :
George Harrison's Home, Kinfauns, Esher, Surrey, UK


The Beatles (2018)

Official album • Released in 2018

2:43 • OuttakeF • Instrumental backing track

Bootlegs


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:04 • Studio version


White Album Sessions Volume 1

Unofficial album

1:19 • Studio version


Complete Home Recordings 1967-68

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

1:18 • Demo


Complete Home Recordings 1968

Unofficial album • Released in 2002

2:00 • Demo

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.

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