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Honeybus 921-7191.jpg
Background information
Origin London, England
Genres Pop, baroque pop, soft rock, psychedelic pop, beat
Years active 1967–1973
Labels Deram Records
Past members Pete Dello
Ray Cane
Colin Hare
Pete Kircher
Jim Kelly
Lloyd Courtenay

Honeybus were a 1960s pop group formed in April 1967, in London. They were best known for their 1968 UK Top 10 hit single, "I Can't Let Maggie Go".[1]


The best known line-up consisted of:


Material was written mainly by the band's main resident composers, Dello and Cane, although Hare and Kircher also contributed songs.[2] The group's supporters and critics, amongst them Kenny Everett, compared the band's sound to that of the Rubber Soul era of Beatles. Honeybus had a major hit with 1968's "I Can't Let Maggie Go",[2] which was so popular that it earned the band a cover photo on the popular music magazine, Disc and Music Echo, for which they posed atop a red London bus.

"I Can't Let Maggie Go" reached Number 8 in the UK Singles Chart, in April 1968, staying in the Top 40 for over two months.[1] Chances of future success were not helped when Dello resigned in August 1968.[2][3] The band drafted in Jim Kelly to replace Dello on guitar and vocals, and Cane began songwriting and performing lead vocals.[2]

This line-up scored a minor success with "She Sold Blackpool Rock" and a follow-up single to "Maggie", "Girl Of Independent Means", but the group never really recovered. Kircher was next to leave the band, in the summer of 1969, and went on tour with Engelbert Humperdinck. He was replaced by drummer Lloyd Courtney for the remainder of the sessions for their debut album, but Honeybus eventually disbanded late in 1969. The posthumous 1970 album Story, without an active band to promote it, failed to chart.[2]

Dello, Hare and Kelly all went on to record critically acclaimed solo material in the early 1970s, which failed to achieve any significant commercial success.[2]

The Dello line-up of the band reunited in 1971 to record a new body of songs for the Bell Records label and a complete LP, Recital, for the British division of Warner Bros. Records. A change in management at Warner Brothers meant that Recital was never issued.[2]

"I Can't Let Maggie Go", was also a top 10 hit in Italy, with a version made by Equipe 84, entitled "Un angelo blu" ("A blue angel"). It enjoyed an unexpected reprise in popularity in the 1970s, when it was used as the soundtrack for a television advertisement for "Nimble", a bread produced for slimmers.[4]

Since their heyday, Honeybus have found themselves pigeonholed as one-hit wonders.

Post Honeybus[edit]

Colin Hare and Honeybus[edit]

After a number of years out of the spotlight, Hare released new solo material in 2002. He now runs an official Honeybus website. In 2007 Hare played a few gigs with a completely new Honeybus line-up minus Dello.

A solo EP, "Down From Pitswood", featured two original and long-forgotten Honeybus songs, which the band had recorded for BBC Radio sessions in the late 1960s.


Original albums[edit]

  • 1970 Story
  • 1973 Recital (unreleased)

Posthumous compilation albums[edit]

  • 1989 Honeybus At Their Best
  • 1993 Old Masters, Hidden Treasures
  • 1997 At Their Best
  • 1999 The Honeybus Story
  • 2002 She Flies Like A Bird : The Anthology (features previously unreleased songs such as "Big Ship")


  • 1967 "Delighted To See You" (Dello) b/w "The Breaking Up Scene" (Cane) - Deram Records
  • 1967 "(Do I Figure) In Your Life" (Dello) b/w "Throw My Love Away" (Cane) - Deram
  • 1968 "I Can't Let Maggie Go" (Dello) b/w "Tender Are The Ashes" (Dello) - Deram
  • 1968 "Girl Of Independent Means" (Cane) b/w "How Long" (Kircher-Cane-Hare) - Deram
  • 1969 "She Sold Blackpool Rock" (Cane) b/w "Would You Believe" (Hare) - Deram
  • 1969 "La Cicogna" (Italian version of "She Sold Blackpool Rock") b/w "Chi Sei Tu" (Italian version of "Ceilings No 2") - Decca
  • 1972 "Story" (Cane) b/w "The Right To Choose" (Cane) - Deram (recorded in January 1970)
  • 1972 "She Is The Female To My Soul" (Dello) b/w "For Where Have You Been" (Hare) - Bell Records
  • 1973 "For You Baby" (Dello) b/w "Little Lovely One" (Dello) - WEA
  • 1976 "I Can't Let Maggie Go" (Dello) b/w "Julie In My Heart" (Dello) - Decca Records reissue
  • 1982 "I Can't Let Maggie Go" (Dello) / "Tender Are The Ashes" (Dello) - Further Decca reissue


  1. ^ a b Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 258. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Biography by Bruce Eder". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 31 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 187. CN 5585. 
  4. ^ "Nimble Bread - Classic Brands". Sites.google.com. Retrieved 2014-03-17. 
  • Mojo Collection 3rd. Edition - Story; Honeybus - Best albums of the 70s.

External links[edit]