Honey Don't - The Beatles
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"Honey Don't" - The Beatles (1965)
The Beatles recorded “Honey Don’t” in an extremely faithful way to the original by Carl Perkins right down to the same key, form, basic arrangement and the solo guitar work.
Perkin's original vocal delivery was unique and was not easy to imitate. However The Beatles managed to turn the cover into an original track- primarily due to Ringo’s finest vocal performances which makes the composition his own.
Ringo comments in the documentary Anthology:
“We all knew Honey Don't; it was one of those songs that every band in Liverpool played. I used to love country music and country rock. I'd had my own show with Rory Storm, when I would do five or six numbers. It was comfortable. And I was finally getting one track on a record: my little featured spot.”
During the song, Ringo makes self-referential remarks leading into Harrison's guitar riffs, saying, "Rock on George, one time for me!" and then "Rock on, George, for Ringo one time!" This not only gave the song a unique handle- but also enabled the listener to feel part of the performance.
Writes Beatle scholar Alan Pollack:
“Compared to the tidiness of the typical Beatles original composition, the repeat and alternation pattern sections of “Honey Don’t” are cranked out seemingly at random. Once you recover from your initial shocked surprise, it's worthwhile acknowledging the extent to which Perkins' "rockabilly" style rounds out the repertoire of a group that at the time was in transition toward "Rubber Soul" by way of "Beatles For Sale". From a different perspective, you can even argue that Carl Perkin’s penchant for surprising, enigmatic lyrical turns of phrase ("sometimes you say you will when you won't " / "got that sand all over your feet") would also intrigue the Beatles, especially John.”
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