Cover of the song's sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album The Beatles|
|Released||22 November 1968|
|Recorded||1–2, 4 October 1968|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"Honey Pie" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, from their 1968 eponymous double album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). The song was written entirely by Paul McCartney, but is credited to Lennon–McCartney.
The song is a direct homage to the British music hall style. It concerns a famed actress, called only by the term of endearment "Honey Pie", who becomes famous in the United States, and her old lover, who wishes for her to rejoin him in England. The premise – a humble admirer yearning for the return of his lover – is not unlike a typical music hall plot. In order to establish an appropriate, old-timey sound, 'crackles' were added to the third line, "Now she's hit the big time!", from a 78 rpm record.
Recording began on 1 October 1968, at Trident Studios in London's Wardour Street. Only one take was recorded on the first day, although it is likely that a number of rehearsal attempts had previously been recorded and wiped. The next day, McCartney taped his lead vocals, and a lead guitar part was added. According to George Harrison, John Lennon played the guitar solo. The song's woodwind arrangement by George Martin was recorded two days later on 4 October. McCartney added a final vocal overdub at the end of the session.
Before recording sessions for the "White Album" began, the Beatles recorded a demo of "Honey Pie" at George Harrison's Esher home studios. This version contained slightly different lyrics and lacked the introduction of the final version. The demo was later released in 1996 on Anthology 3 and the 2018 Super Deluxe edition of the "White Album".
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its release, Jacob Stolworthy of The Independent listed "Honey Pie" at number 25 in his ranking of the White Album's 30 tracks. He wrote: "A catchy if uninspiring homage to music hall entertainment from a wartime-era that succeeds in feeling fresh." He ultimately called the song one of McCartney's weaker tracks.
The song has been covered by Alan Klein (1969), Barbra Streisand, the King's Singers, Don Partridge, the Golden Gate Quartet, Tuck & Patti, and John Pizzarelli, among others. In the 1978 film Sextette, Dom DeLuise performed the song. Phish covered the song, with many other "White Album" songs, on the album Live Phish Volume 13.
- Paul McCartney – vocal, piano, saxophone and clarinet arrangement
- John Lennon – rhythm guitar, lead guitar
- George Harrison – six-stringed bass
- Ringo Starr – drums
- George Martin – saxophone and clarinet arrangement
- Harry Klein – saxophone
- Dennis Walton – saxophone
- Ronald Chamberlain – saxophone
- Jim Chester – saxophone
- Rex Morris – saxophone
- Raymond Newman – clarinet
- David Smith – clarinet
- E. Whitley (2000). "The Postmodern White Album". In Ian Inglis (ed.). The Beatles, popular music and society: a thousand voices.
- "Honey Pie". The Beatles Bible. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2011-08-21.
- Stolworthy, Jacob (22 November 2018). "The Beatles' White Album tracks, ranked – from Blackbird to While My Guitar Gently Weeps". The Independent. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
- Album: Don Partridge & Friends, Sonogram Records EFG 7344 (1973)
- "Live Phish, Vol. 13: 10/31/94, Glens Falls Civic Center, Glens Falls, NY - Phish". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 September 2017.