|Single by Carl Perkins|
|A-side||"Blue Suede Shoes"|
|Released||January 1, 1956|
|Song by The Beatles from the album Beatles for Sale|
|Released||December 4. 1964 (mono and stereo)|
|Recorded||October 18, 1964|
|Beatles for Sale track listing|
"Honey Don't" is a song written by Carl Perkins, originally released on January 1, 1956 as the B-side of the "Blue Suede Shoes" single, Sun 234. Both songs became rockabilly classics. Bill Dahl of Allmusic praised the song saying, "'Honey Don't actually outclasses its more celebrated platter-mate in some ways." It has been covered by more than 20 other artists, including The Beatles, Ronnie Hawkins and Johnny Rivers. The song also appeared in the movies Prince of Tides and Diner.
Behind the song
According to David McGee, author of Go, Cat, Go! The Life and Times of Carl Perkins, the King of Rockabilly, Carl Perkins first brought the song to a rehearsal with his band which at the time comprised the Perkins brothers and W.S. Holland:
- Carl Perkins – lead guitar and vocals
- Jay Perkins – acoustic guitar and backing vocals
- Clayton Perkins – standup bass
- W. S. Holland – drums.
When Carl first played the song to Jay, Jay protested what sounded to him like an odd chord choice, going to a C7 chord after the E of a natural blues progression choice of A. At first, Jay refused to go along, but Carl convinced him it was something different, and today the chord choice is one of the most interesting aspects of the song.
Perkins and his band performed the song, along with "Blue Suede Shoes", during their television debut on ABC-TV's Ozark Jubilee on March 17, 1956.
The Beatles' versions
The Beatles recorded their version on October 26, 1964 one of the last songs recorded for Beatles for Sale, which was released in the United Kingdom on December 4, 1964. The North American release was on December 15 on Beatles '65.
Although John Lennon had previously sung the song live, Ringo Starr performed it for the album, his requisite one lead vocal per album. During the song, he 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!"
The Beatles performed the song twice for the BBC for the From Us To You and Top Gear programs.
A version sung by Lennon is available on Live at the BBC. George Harrison was a fan of Perkins, and Starr sang "Honey Don't" during the Concert for George which was held at the Royal Albert Hall, London on November 29, 2002, the first anniversary of Harrison's death.
On November 11, 2013, another performance will be released on The Beatles' On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2 collection.
Personnel on the Beatles' version
- Ringo Starr – lead vocal, drums, tambourine
- George Harrison – lead guitar
- John Lennon – acoustic rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – bass guitar
- Ronnie Hawkins on Mr. Dynamo album, 1960.
- Billy "Crash" Craddock covered the song on his 1986 album Crash Craddock.
- Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, 1989, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band 1990 live album, 1995, 2003, 2006, 2010-2011 tours, Blue Suede Shoes: A Rockabilly Session, 1985, and The Concert For George, 2003.
- Johnny Rivers covered the song on his album Memphis Sun Recordings, released in 1991.
- Ben Folds Five on the collection Vault Volume II (1998-2003).
- Raul Seixas covered the song on his 1975 album Novo Aeon.
- T. Rex featuring Marc Bolan recorded the song in 1971; Electric Warrior Sessions album, 1997.
- Wanda Jackson covered the song on her 1964 album Two Sides of Wanda Jackson.
- John Lennon recorded the song in the 1970s, released on the 2010 remasters collection, John Lennon Signature Box.
- Homer and the Dont's on the 1965 album Shindig, as "Homer Don't".
- Shakin' Stevens and The Sunsets, CBS single, I'm No J.D. album, 1971
- Eugene Chadbourne, There'll Be No Tears Tonight album, 1980.
- Memphis Rockabilly, Boston Does The Beatles, 1988
- Skitzo, Terminal Damage, 1988
- Blinkit on the 2000 album Rock Billy Boogie!
- Mac Curtis in 1970 as a 45 single on Epic Records, 5-10574.
- Elvis Costello performed it with Ricky Skaggs, Brian Setzer, and Marty Stuart at a 1997-02-05 taping for Ricky Skaggs' TV show.
- Joe Walsh with Steve Earle for the motion picture The Beverly Hillbillies, 1993
- ""Blue Suede Shoes" story". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Dahl, Bill. "Review of "Honey Don't"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
- Dahl, Bill. "All performers for "Honey Don't"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-03-16.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 51. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 53. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 201.
- Honey Don't. About.com.
- Live at the BBC (booklet). The Beatles. London: Apple Records. 1996. p. 46. 34448.
- Concert for George (booklet). Various artists. Los Angeles: Warner Brothers. 2003. p. 25. R2 74546.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised Edition ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 141. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.