The Honeycombs

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For other uses, see Honeycomb (disambiguation).
The Honeycombs
The Honeycombs (1964).jpg
The Honeycombs (1964)
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Beat music, pop
Years active 1963–1967 / 2004–present[1]
Labels Pye (UK)
Interphon, Warner (US)
Associated acts Joe Meek
Website www.thehoneycombs.biz
Past members Denis D'Ell (deceased)
Alan Ward
John Lantree
Honey Lantree
Peter Pye
Colin Boyd
Rod Butler
Eddie Spence

The Honeycombs were an English beat/pop group, founded in 1963 in North London. The group had one chart-topping hit, the million selling "Have I the Right?", in 1964.[2] After that song the interest in the group ebbed away, and they split up in late 1966. The group's most distinguishing mark was their female drummer, Honey Lantree.[3]

Personnel[edit]

The original group members were:

Career[edit]

The group started in November 1963 as an amateur band founded by Martin Murray.[1][2] Its members were Murray, a hairdresser, his salon assistant Honey Lantree,[6] her brother John and two friends.[1] Originally they called themselves the Sheratons.[7]

The group played dates in the West End of London, and at the Mildmay Tavern,[8] a North London pub.[2] Among those attending an appearance of the band in February 1964 were aspiring songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley.[1] Howard and Blaikley would become a prolific British songwriting team, writing songs recorded by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, the Herd, Lulu and even Elvis Presley, but in 1964 they had just started their career.[9] They got into conversation with the group, which appeared interested in a few songs the duo had just written.[1] The group had already arranged an audition with indie record producer Joe Meek.[1] The audition resulted in a recording of Howard and Blaikley's "Have I the Right?".[3] Meek himself provided the B-side, "Please Don't Pretend Again".

Meek used his apartment at 304 Holloway Road, Islington, as a recording studio. Three UK No. 1 hits were produced there: "Johnny Remember Me" by John Leyton, "Telstar" by The Tornados and "Have I the Right?".[3]

Conspicuous in "Have I the Right?" is the prominence of the drums, whose effect was enhanced by members of the group stamping their feet on the wooden stairs to the studio. Meek recorded the effect with five microphones he had fixed to the banisters with bicycle clips.[1] For the finishing touch someone beat a tambourine directly onto a microphone. The recording was also somewhat speeded up.[10]

"Have I the Right?" was released in June 1964 on the Pye record label. Louis Benjamin (1922–1994), Pye’s later chairman,[11] rechristened the group The Honeycombs, a pun on the drummer’s name and her job as a hairdresser's assistant.[12] The sales started slowly, but by the end of July the record started to climb in the UK Singles Chart.[1] At the end of August the record reached No. 1.[13] "Have I the Right?" was also a big success outside the UK, hitting No. 1 in Australia and Canada,[14] No. 5 in the US [15] and No. 2 in the Netherlands.[16] Overall sales of the record reached a million.[2] The Honeycombs also recorded a German version of the song: "Hab ich das Recht?" Both the English and the German versions reached No 21 in the German charts: the English one in October, the German one in November 1964.[17]

From then on Howard and Blaikley acted as the group's managers and also wrote their next singles, "Is It Because" and "Eyes". These records did not sell well. This also applied to their fourth single, "Something Better Beginning", written by Ray Davies from the Kinks.

Soon after their first record had become a hit, the Honeycombs went on tour to the Far East and Australia, and were not able to promote their new records at home.[6] The tour gained them a long-lasting popularity in Japan, however.[1] Especially for the Japanese market the group produced a live album and a single, "Love in Tokyo".[1] The group also made a lasting impression in Sweden, where they scored two No. 1 singles.[18]

In July 1965, British music magazine NME reported that it had been agreed in the London High Court that "Have I The Right?" was the work of Howard and Blaikley. Composer Geoff Goddard agreed to drop allegations that he, not they, had written the song.[19]

In August 1965 the group released, "That's the Way", with Honey Lantree sharing vocals with D'Ell (when on tour, Viv Prince of The Pretty Things took over the drumming).[20] This record became their fourth British hit and reached No. 12. Its successor, "This Year Next Year", again with Lantree and D'Ell sharing vocals, did not reach the UK chart.

D'Ell sang on all but the last single the group recorded. "Who Is Sylvia?" was an adaptation of Franz Schubert's song “An Sylvia”.[21] "It's So Hard" was also recorded by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich as "Hard to Love You".

In April 1966 Denis D'Ell, Alan Ward and Peter Pye left the group.[22] The last single "That Loving Feeling" (September 1966) was written and sung by the new singer Colin Boyd.

The Honeycombs made many appearances on music television shows such as Top of the Pops, Ready Steady Go! (UK), Shindig! (US), and Beat-Club (Germany).[23] The group also appeared in the 1965 film Pop Gear, miming "Have I the Right?" and "Eyes".[24]

The (new) Honeycombs and afterwards[edit]

The group went on, with new lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist (This line-up released the last single "That Loving Feeling"):

  • Colin Boyd (born Colin Nicholas Nicol, 4 June 1946, Combe, near Bath, Somerset) - Guitar and vocals. Later he formed Honeybus and changed his name to Colin Hare.
  • Rod Butler (born Rodney Butler, 27 May 1944, Mill Hill, London) - Lead guitar and vocals. Later he played with the Lemmings and subsequently the College Boys, formed by ex-Honeycomb Martin Murray. Butler later joined forces with D'Ell and formed Zarabanda and later still played in Violinski, with Mik Kaminski of the ELO
  • Eddie Spence - Keyboards and vocals
  • John Lantree - Bass guitar
  • Honey Lantree - Drums and vocals

In 1967, the Honeycombs broke up.[1]

In the 1990s founding member Martin Murray toured the cabaret circuit with a group called 'Martin Murray's Honeycombs'.[1] Another line-up including Honey Lantree, Peter Pye and Denis D'Ell also successfully toured from 1991 onwards.[1] John Lantree later rejoined this line-up. In 1999 record producer Russell C. Brennan asked D'Ell, Honey and John Lantree and Pye to record "Live and Let Die", on the Future Legend Records compilation, Cult Themes from the '70s Vol. 2. This compilation also featured Glenda Collins, another Joe Meek artist. At present there are two groups calling themselves the Honeycombs, one led by founder member Martin Murray, the other by later member Tony Harte.

In 2011 a band led by Paul Bonner appeared calling themselves the New Honeycombs after working with Martin Murray as the Honeycombs for over a year. Subsequently the legal rights to the name the New Honeycombs were secured and they are still working today.

Discography[edit]

Singles[edit]

UK[edit]

  • "Have I the Right?" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "Please Don't Pretend Again" (Meek/Lawrence) (19 June 1964) - UK No. 1
  • "Is It Because" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "I'll Cry Tomorrow" (Meek) (9 October 1964) - UK No. 38
  • "Eyes" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "If You've Got To Pick a Baby" (20 November 1964)
  • "Something Better Beginning" (Ray Davies) b/w "I'll See You Tomorrow" (April 1965) - UK No. 39
  • "That's the Way" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "Can't Get Through to You" (August 1965) - UK No. 12
  • "This Year Next Year" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "Not Sleeping Too Well Lately" (November 1965)
  • "Who Is Sylvia" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "How Will I Know" (February 1966)
  • "It's So Hard" (Howard/Blaikley) b/w "I Fell in Love" (July 1966)
  • "That Loving Feeling" (Colin Boyd) b/w "Should a Man Cry" (September 1966)

[13][25]

US[edit]

  • "Have I the Right?" b/w "Please Don't Pretend Again" - Interphon 7707 1964 - US No. 5[15]
  • "I Can't Stop" b/w "I'll Cry Tomorrow" - Interphon 7713 1964 - US No. 48
  • "That's the Way" b/w "Color Slide" - Interphon 7716 1965
  • "Something Better Beginning" b/w "I'll See You Tomorrow" - Warner Bros. 5634 1965
  • "I Can't Get Through to You" b/w "That's the Way" - Warner Bros. 5655 1965
  • "Who Is Sylvia" b/w "How Will I Know" - Warner Bros. 5803 1966

Albums[edit]

  • The Honeycombs (Released in the US as Here Are the Honeycombs) (UK Pye NPL 18097 / US Interphon IN-88001, 25 September 1964) - US No. 147[26]
    • "Colour Slide" / "Once You Know" / "Without You It Is Night" / "That's the Way" / "I Want to Be Free" / "How the Mighty Have Fallen" / "Have I the Right?" / "Just a Face in the Crowd" / "Nice While It Lasted" / "Me from You" / "Leslie Anne" / "She's Too Way Out" / "It Ain't Necessarily So" / "This Too Shall Pass Away"
  • All Systems - Go! (Pye NPL 18132, 17 December 1965)[1]
    • "I Can't Stop" [27] / "Don't Love Her No More" / "All Systems Go" / "Totem Pole" / "Emptiness" [28] / "Ooee Train" / "She Ain't Coming Back" / "Something I Gotta Tell You" / "Our Day Will Come" / "Nobody But Me" / "There's Always Me" / "Love in Tokyo" / "If You Should" / "My Prayer"
  • In Tokyo (Nippon Columbia PS-1277, 1966) (Live album, Japan only)[1]
    • "Colour Slide" / "I'll Go Crazy" / "She's About a Mover" / "There's Always Me" / "Wipe Out" / "Lucille" / "If You Should" / "Have I the Right?" / "Goldfinger" / "Kansas City" / "My Prayer" / "What'd I Say"

In Germany all three Honeycombs albums have been reissued on compact disc, two with bonus tracks:

  • The Honeycombs (Repertoire Records RR 4098-WZ, 1990)
    • Bonus tracks: "Please Don't Pretend Again" / "I'll Cry Tomorrow" / "If You've Got to Pick a Baby" / "I'll See You Tomorrow" / "I Can't Stop" [27] / "Hab ich das Recht" / "Du sollst nicht traurig sein"
  • All Systems - Go! (Repertoire Records, RR 4121-WZ, 1990)
    • Bonus tracks: "Not Sleeping Too Well Lately" / "How Will I Know?" / "I Fell in Love" / "Something Better Beginning" / "Should a Man Cry?" / "Can't Get Through to You"
  • In Tokyo (Repertoire Records, REP 4180-WZ, 1991)

Compilation albums[edit]

  • The Best of the Honeycombs (PRT Records PYC 4009, 1989):
    • "Have I the Right?" / "Is It Because?" / "Eyes" / "I Don’t Love Her No More" / "Something Better Beginning" / "That’s the Way" / "This Year Next Year" / "Who Is Sylvia?" / "It’s So Hard" / "That Loving Feeling" / "How the Mighty Have Fallen" / "I Want to Be Free" / "I Can’t Stop" [27] / "Love in Tokyo"
  • Honeycombs (All Systems Go and It's the Honeycombs) (Sequel Records NEX CD 125, 1990):[29]
    • "Colour Slide" / "Once You Know" / "Without You It is Night" / "That's the Way" / "I Want to Be Free" / "How the Mighty Have Fallen" / "Have I the Right?" / "Just a Face in the Crowd" / "Nice While it Lasted" / "Me from You" / "Leslie Anne" / "She's Too Way Out" / "It Ain't Necessarily So" / "This Too Shall Pass Away" / "I Can't Stop" [27] / "Don't Love Her No More" / "All Systems Go" / "Totem Pole" / "Emptiness" [28] / "Ooee Train" / "She Ain't Coming Back" / "Something I Gotta Tell You" / "Our Day Will Come" / "Nobody But Me" / "There's Always Me" / "Love in Tokyo" / "If You Should" / "My Prayer"
  • The Best of the Honeycombs (Marble Arch CMA CD 146, 1991):
    • "Have I the Right?" / "Leslie Anne" / "Once You Know" / "That's the Way" / "Colour Slide" / "Without You it is Night" / "Something Better Beginning" / "I Want to Be Free" / "Just a Face in the Crowd" / "How the Mighty Have Fallen" / "Nice While it Lasted" / "She's Too Way Out"
  • The Best of the Honeycombs, produced by Joe Meek (EMI EMI CDEMS 1475, 1993)
    • "Have I the Right?" / "Can’t Get Through to You" / "I Want to Be Free" / "Leslie Anne" / "Colour Slide" / "This Year Next Year" / "That Lovin’ Feeling" / "That’s the Way" / "It Ain't Necessarily So" / "How the Mighty Have Fallen" / "I’ll Cry Tomorrow" / "I’ll See You Tomorrow" / "Is it Because" / "She’s Too Way Out" / "Something Better Beginning" / "Eyes" / "Just a Face in the Crowd" / "Nice While it Lasted" / "It’s So Hard" / "I Can’t Stop" [27] / "I Don’t Love Her No More" / "All Systems Go" / "Totem Pole" / "Emptiness" [28] / "Ooee Train" / "She Ain't Coming Back" / "Something I Gotta Tell You" / "Nobody But Me" / "There’s Always Me" / "Love in Tokyo"
  • Have I the Right?: The Very Best of the Honeycombs (EMI 7243 5 38312 2 6, 2002):
    • "Have I The Right?" / "That’s the Way" / "Is it Because" / "Something Better Beginning" / "Colour Slide" / "Once You Know" / "Without You it is Night" / "I Want to Be Free" / "It Ain't Necessarily So" / "Our Day Will Come" / "I’ll See You Tomorrow" / "Eyes" / "Can’t Get Through to You" / "It’s So Hard" / "She’s Too Way Out" / "I Can’t Stop" [27] / "Ooee Train" / "Love in Tokyo" / "Totem Pole" / "My Prayer"

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Chris May and Tim Phillips, British Beat, Sociopack Publications, London, [1974], p. 75.

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Richie Unterberger. "The Honeycombs | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. pp. 176–177. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  3. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 36. ISBN 0-85156-156-X. 
  4. ^ "Dennis D'Ell - Obituaries - News". The Independent. 2005-07-22. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  5. ^ Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2005 July To December". Thedeadrockstarsclub.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  6. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. pp. 83–84. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  7. ^ See the Honeycombs fan site; other sources, such as May & Phillips, call them The Sherabons.
  8. ^ The pub, once located at 130 Balls Pond Road, Islington, was closed in 2000. The address is now a supermarket.
  9. ^ "Ken Howard & Alan Blaikley". Davedeedozybeakymickandtich.nl. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  10. ^ "The JOE MEEK Page | Joe Meek: A portrait - 5. Hits and musicians". Joemeekpage.info. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  11. ^ Albert H. Friedlander (1994-06-23). "Obituary: Louis Benjamin - People - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  12. ^ New Musical Express, "Lifelines of the Chart Toppers: The Honeycombs", 28 August 1964, p. 9.
  13. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 258. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  14. ^ "Songs from the Year 1964". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  15. ^ a b "The Honeycombs | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  16. ^ "SIXTIES - 1964". Web.archive.org. 2012-07-29. Archived from the original on 2012-07-29. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  17. ^ "The JOE MEEK Page | Joe Meek records in Germany: 3. Recordings in German language". Joemeekpage.info. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  18. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Swedish Number Ones 1962-75 (Allmänt)". swedishcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  19. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 148. CN 5585. 
  20. ^ "Honey Lantree: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  21. ^ But Schubert's text is a translation from Shakespeare, while the Honeycombs’ text is by Howard and Blaikley.
  22. ^ "The Honeycombs fan pages". Thehoneycombs.info. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  23. ^ "The Honeycombs". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  24. ^ "Go Go Mania (1965) : Full Cast & Crew". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  25. ^ "The Honeycombs Discography - UK". 45cat. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  26. ^ "The Honeycombs | Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-01-30. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f This version is different from the US single.
  28. ^ a b c This song was written by Ray Davies, but never recorded by the Kinks.
  29. ^ This is a reissue on one CD of the two Honeycombs albums, but on the back cover of the CD the contents of the two albums have been reversed. Moreover, the debut album, simply called The Honeycombs, has been rechristened It's the Honeycombs here.

External links[edit]