Honey Don't

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"Honey Don't"
Single by Carl Perkins
A-side "Blue Suede Shoes"
Released January 1, 1956
Recorded December 1955, Sun Studio, Memphis, Tennessee
Genre Rockabilly[1]
Length 2:53
Label Sun
Songwriter(s) Carl Perkins
Producer(s) Sam Phillips

"Honey Don't" is a song written by Carl Perkins, originally released on January 1, 1956[2] as the B-side of the "Blue Suede Shoes"[1] 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."[3] It has been covered by more than 20 other artists, including The Beatles, Ronnie Hawkins and Johnny Rivers.[4] The song also appeared in the movies Prince of Tides, Diner, and Perfect Sisters.


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 instead of the 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.

1956 sheet music cover, Hill and Range Songs, Inc., New York.

The Beatles version[edit]

"Honey Don't"
Song by the Beatles
from the album Beatles for Sale
Released 4 December 1964 (mono and stereo)
Recorded 26 October 1964, EMI Studios, London
Genre Rockabilly
Length 2:55
Label Parlophone
Songwriter(s) Carl Perkins
Producer(s) George Martin

The Beatles recorded their version on 26 October 1964[5] one of the last songs recorded for Beatles for Sale, which was released in the United Kingdom on 4 December 1964.[6] The North American release was on 15 December on Beatles '65.[7]

Although John Lennon had previously sung the song live, Ringo Starr performed it for the album,[1] his usual one lead vocal per album (although he sang two lead vocals on The Beatles double album and none on A Hard Day's Night, Magical Mystery Tour, and Let It Be).[5] During the song, he makes self-referential remarks leading into George Harrison's guitar riffs, saying, "Rock on George, one time for me!" and then "Rock on, George, for Ringo one time!" The Monkees referenced the latter remark leading into the instrumental break of their song "No Time" from their 1967 album Headquarters.

The Beatles performed the song twice for the BBC for the From Us To You and Top Gear programs.[8] A version sung by Lennon is available on Live at the BBC.[9] and a version sung by Starr was released on On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2.

Starr performed a live version of the song, as a tribute to Harrison for their fondness of Perkins, at the Concert for George at London's Royal Albert Hall in 2002.

Paul McCartney's publishing company MPL Communications administers the rights to the song, originally published by Hi Lo Music, Inc., BMI.

Along with "Matchbox", "Honey Don't" is one of the rare songs that all four Beatles have recorded or performed on stage (see section below).


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[10]

Other covers[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Carl Perkins interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  2. ^ ""Blue Suede Shoes" story". Rockabillyhall.com. Retrieved 2011-08-21. 
  3. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Review of "Honey Don't"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  4. ^ Dahl, Bill. "All performers for "Honey Don't"". Allmusic. Retrieved 2007-03-16. 
  5. ^ a b Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 51. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
  6. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 53. ISBN 0-517-57066-1. 
  7. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 201. 
  8. ^ Honey Don't. About.com.
  9. ^ Live at the BBC (booklet). The Beatles. London: Apple Records. 1996. p. 46. 34448. 
  10. ^ MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 141. ISBN 1-84413-828-3. 
  11. ^ Concert for George (booklet). Various artists. Los Angeles: Warner Brothers. 2003. p. 25. R2 74546.