Wild Honey Pie - The Beatles

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"Wild Honey Pie" - The Beatles (1968)

McCartney is the sole performer on “Wild Honey Pie.”

In his autobiography he comments:

“We were in an experimental mode, and so I said, ‘Can I just make something up?’ I started off with the guitar and did a multi-tracking experiment in the control room or maybe in the little room next door. It was very home-made; it wasn’t a big production at all. I just made up this short piece and I multi-tracked a harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and built it up sculpturally with a lot of vibrato on the [guitar] strings, really pulling the strings madly.”

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack points out that a number of interesting aspects define the track.

The song seemed to have been purposely placed on the album where it is to keep you diverted and/or distracted while the stage hands change sets, as it were, separating "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" from "The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill." The gesture, Pollack claims, represents a theatrical exploitation of the LP album qua "medium" that is not to be underestimated.

Pollack writes that in terms of form, “Wild Honey Pie” is much more of a complete miniature than an offhanded fragment; as long as you’re willing to step back and accept a rather minimalistic/schematic definition of "form." Paul would play this trick at least twice more with "Why Don’t We Do It In The Road" on this album and “Her Majesty” on Abbey Road.

The backing track is dominated by a harpsichord, a drumming part that might have been thumped on an old skiffle tea chest, and what sounds like a “dobro” (or other very steely-sounding) guitar played with a glassy, comically inaccurate slide.

The vocal track is filled with twisty overdubs, all different, and according to Pollack- sound like “Paul’s personal incarnation of some Monty Python-like Ministry of Funny Voices; it’s a perennial Brit-humor thing, like dissing roman Catholics.”

Pollack concludes that “Wild Honey Pie” shows that The White Album represents not just a high water mark for sheer number of diverse styles included in a single collection, but it also courts an aesthetic of stylistic surprise, non-sequitur, and sound-bite.

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