Money Honey (Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters song)

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"Money Honey"
Single by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters
B-side "The Way I Feel"[1]
Released September 1953
Recorded August 9, 1953, Atlantic Studios

Rock N Roll,

Doo Wop
Label Atlantic Records 45-1006
Writer(s) Jesse Stone
Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters singles chronology
"Money Honey"
"Such a Night"

"Money Honey", written by Jesse Stone,[2] was released in September 1953 by Clyde McPhatter backed for the first time by the newly formed Drifters. McPhatter's voice, but not his name, had become well known as the lead singer for Billy Ward and the Dominoes and the song was an immediate hit and remained on the rhythm and blues charts for 23 weeks, peaking at #1.[3] Rolling Stone ranked it #252 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2] The song was reported to have sold in excess of two million by 1968.[4]


The song (written by Jesse Stone) tells the story of a man who has run out of money, and hopes his woman will help him out:

I was clean as a screen and so hard pressed
I called the woman that I love best

In the chorus, he threatens to leave her if she doesn't help him out:

Money Honey
Money Honey
Money Honey, if you want to get along with me[5]

She is literally not buying, she has another man, one who already has money.[clarification needed]

The recording[edit]

The song was recorded on August 9, 1953, at Atlantic Studios and featured Clyde McPhatter (lead), Bill Pinkney (top tenor), Andrew "Bubba" Thrasher (second tenor), Gerhart "Gay" Thrasher (baritone), and Willie Ferbie (bass). Walter Adams was the guitarist for the record.[1]

The recording features Mickey Baker on guitar [6] and Sam "the Man" Taylor on tenor sax.[7] The arrangement starts with a bagpipe-like drone from the Drifters setting up a shuffle rhythm. McPhatter's voice is clear and bright and in the midst of the sax solo he gives off a monumental scream.


The song was covered by Eddie Cochran in a 1959 live performance[8] and released in 1999 on the album The Town Hall Party Shows.
Most notably, in 1956 by Elvis Presley on his debut LP, Elvis Presley.[9]
Clyde McPhatter rerecorded the song for the Mercury label catalog, and it appeared on the "Lover Please" album in 1962 and on his 1963 Mercury "Greatest Hits" release.
Little Richard covered the song for his 1964 Vee-Jay Records album, Little Richard Is Back (And There's a Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!)
Guitarist Davy Graham recorded this tune on his 1966 album Midnight Man.
The Jackson 5 covered this song under the Motown label recorded during 1971 - 1975. It is one of 19 'Rare & Unreleased' tracks on the fourth CD of the Michael/Jackson 5 box-set, Soulsation! issued in June 1995 in the US and July 1995 in the UK - a demo version is known to exist.
The song was also covered by Ry Cooder on his 1972 album, Into the Purple Valley.[10]
Gary Glitter also recorded the track for his album Touch Me.
The Coasters also released a version of the song.[11]

Aaron Neville recorded Money Honey for his January 2013 album "My True Story".[11]


  1. ^ a b The Drifters (The Early Years) Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Rolling Stone magazine's top 500 songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 173. 
  4. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 64. ISBN 0-214-20480-4. 
  5. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 25 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 4]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. 
  6. ^ Mickey Taylor - Winamp
  7. ^ Stax O' Wax: Sam "The Man" Taylor - In the Mood for Sax: More Blue Mist (1960)
  8. ^ Eddie Cochran references Retrieved February 13, 2012
  9. ^ Elvis Presley, "Money Honey" Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  10. ^ - Into the Purple Valley: Ry Cooder: Music
  11. ^ The Coasters, "Money Honey" Retrieved February 13, 2012.
Preceded by
"Shake a Hand" by Faye Adams
Billboard R&B National Best Sellers number-one single
November 21, 1953
Succeeded by
"The Things That I Used to Do" by Guitar Slim and His Band