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11 November 2014
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Joe
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The Beatles (White Album) artwork

Written by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 1, 2, 4 October 1968
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Barry Sheffield

Released: 22 November 1968 (UK), 25 November 1968 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, piano
John Lennon: lead guitar, rhythm guitar
George Harrison: bass
Ringo Starr: drums
Dennis Walton, Ronald Chamberlain, Jim Chester, Rex Morris, Harry Klein: saxophones
Raymond Newman, David Smith: clarinets…

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15 March 2016
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ewe2
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Here’s another neglected song from the White Album . I can understand why a lot of people wouldn’t “get” this song, and I wouldn’t have either if it weren’t for my interest lately in ukulele and discovering some neat and wacky songs from the 1920’s and 30’s. And I wasn’t aware of the 30’s nostalgia boom in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s too if it weren’t for discovering George Martin’s part in it. So, like When I’m Sixty-Four , McCartney is writing because of that, he knows Martin will do a great backing because he knows this stuff backwards, and he grew up with the music because of his dad, and he’s poking a bit of fun at it also.

There are probably quite a few influences on this song. A couple I can mention: The Charlston is one many will pick up, those exaggerated stops which slide chromatically up and down a semitone between two 7ths, and 7ths litter the progressions. Another one I discovered today: Temperance Seven’s cover of Everybody Loves My Baby, not coincidentally produced by Martin, is a big melodic influence on the song as a whole and there’s practically a whole snatch of melody pinched from its chorus. Another influence is George Formby, for those aforementioned chromatic progressions, When I’m Cleaning Windows is the obvious one.

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

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15 March 2016
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Beatlebug
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I always liked this one meself. It’s a jaunty little tune, got a nice swing to it; good one to dance to. 🙂

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15 March 2016
1.29pm
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Necko
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I’m always unsure whether to listen to the Anthology version of this, or the bootlegged version of the Kinfauns demo.  On one hand, the Anthology version is edited and shortened.

 

But, on the other hand, the Anthology version has better sound quality.

https://youtu.be/kXa0-F9OQ2U?t=17m30s

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15 March 2016
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meanmistermustard
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A really nice toe tapper, tho i like that 1920’s/30’s style music; there is a sense of calm and simple, clean, wholesome enjoyment about the song. Tho I don’t like the old record effect on “now she’ hit the big time”; jars the record for me.

In regards to the solo i’ve always associated it to John, even George said so

John played a brilliant solo on Honey Pie – sounded like Django Reinhardt or something. It was one of them where you just close your eyes and happen to hit all the right notes… sounded like a little jazz solo.

however wiki writes 

However, Barry Miles in his: “The Beatles, a diary: an intimate day by day history” [Omnibus Press 1998] says: “Paul added the lead vocal and guitar to ‘Honey Pie ‘.” [p.275, entry for October 2]. The guitar playing is very reminiscent of McCartney’s guitar playing (as is evidenced by his two later solo albums). Moreover, McCartney’s father was also known to be a jazz bandleader before McCartney was born (many members of Harrison’s own entourage have said that his autobiography had many errors)

And in ‘Recording Sessions’ Lewisohn has Paul overdubbing lead vocals and lead guitar on the 2nd October after John played electric guitar on the 1st.

honey.JPGImage Enlarger

But if that wasn’t enough John C. Winn in ‘That Magic Feeling’ gives it back to John, even quoting George

In the meantime, overdubs continued on the second, with Paul’s main vocal and a guitar solo from John (later described by George as “like Django Reinhardt or something. It was one of them where you just close your eyes and happen to hit all the right notes …”).

So what’s going on? Who played the guitar solo?

@Joe, you went with John. What are your thoughts on it being Paul?

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris)

13 August 2016
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piggylane
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I like this one alot, been humming it all day. 

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13 August 2016
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meanmistermustard said
So what’s going on? Who played the guitar solo?

I can see it being Paul from the melodic tail but the beginning chords are very John cf The End and a number of tunes from Let It Be especially Get Back plus it’s the kind of guitar sound that fits the period for John. I can definitely see it as being ‘accidental’ for John and ‘planned’ for Paul. I’m surprised Paul made no more definitive statement about this, given he probably knew George had credited John with the solo.

I'm like Necko only I'm a bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin and also everyone. Or is everyone me? Now I'm a confused bassist ukulele guitar synthesizer kazoo penguin everyone who is definitely not @Joe.  This has been true for 2016 & 2017 Sig-Badge.png but I may have to get more specific in the future.

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18 December 2022
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Elmore James
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Love it or leave it, but this is some serious Granny Music.

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18 December 2022
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Elmore James said
Love it or leave it, but this is some serious Granny Music.

  

That’s why I love it!  George Martin probably had a blast scoring it.  I wonder what the conversations were like between Paul and Martin on the accompaniments of strings and brass. Did Paul have specific ideas of melodic phrases he wanted and sang them to Martin so he could translate them? Or did Paul just say “do your Martin magic and make it sound schmaltzy”?

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21 December 2022
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Timothy
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piggylane said
I like this one alot, been humming it all day. 

  

The instrumental version is a great excuse to sing the song and hit the right beats. Love doing that. 

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9 December 2023
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Joe G.: It’s Fats Waller, not Fats Domino, I believe. I want to alert you to a possible error. When Paul McCartney said he was trying to channel Fats, I reckon he meant Thomas “Fats” Waller, NOT Antoine “Fats” Domino. McCartney is discussing 1930s standards/jazz/pop artists here, not 1950s Rock ‘N’ Roll , so Waller seems more likely.

Yes, of course Macca was channeling Fats Domino on Lady Madonna , but on Honey Pie , it would have been Fats Waller.

Paul named an entire solo album (Kisses On The Bottom ) after a line in one of Waller’s most famous hits (I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter), and Honey Pie is very much in the same style.

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10 December 2023
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Timothy
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I reiterate how much I like this song especially as a singalong. Classic Paul. Granny music heaven. 

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11 December 2023
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Timothy said
I reiterate how much I like this song especially as a singalong. Classic Paul. Granny music heaven. 

  

It’s probably my favorite of the granny songs.  I wonder how much of it and which parts are thanks to George Martin?

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16 December 2023
1.06am
forn
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This sort of song reminds me of the type of “granny songs” Queen used to put on their albums around the time of Night at the Opera and A Day at the Races.  I suppose they took their inspiration from how the Beatles would do them, like Honey Pie , When I’m 64, Your Mother Should Know , Martha My Dear , Maxwell’s Silver Hammer .  I was actually going to say I thought that maybe Queen did this sort of thing a little bit better than McCartney, but looking at that list, I changed my mind.  I’d rate Martha My Dear and Your Mother Should Know as my favorites of those listed above.

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16 December 2023
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Ahhh Girl
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a-hard-days-night-ringo-8 Beatles for the win!

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17 December 2023
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One difference with the Queen granny songs, it seemed more tongue in cheek when they did it.  

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