Honey Don’t

Beatles For Sale album artworkWritten by: Perkins
Recorded: 26 October 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 4 December 1964 (UK), 15 December 1964 (US)

Ringo Starr: vocals, drums
John Lennon: acoustic 12-string guitar, tambourine
Paul McCartney: bass
George Harrison: lead guitar

Available on:
Beatles For Sale
Live At The BBC
On Air - Live At The BBC Volume 2

Ringo Starr's vocal spot on the Beatles For Sale album was written by Carl Perkins and originally released in 1956.

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The song had been a part of The Beatles' live set since 1962, when it had been sung by John Lennon. A version recorded for Pop Go The Beatles on 1 August 1963 was included on the Live At The BBC album, with Lennon on vocals.

Honey Don't was originally the b-side of Perkins' single Blue Suede Shoes, released on 1 January 1956.

We all knew Honey Don't; it was one of those songs that every band in Liverpool played. I used to love country music and country rock. I'd had my own show with Rory Storm, when I would do five or six numbers. So singing and performing wasn't new to me; it was a case of finding vehicles for me with The Beatles. That's why we did it on Beatles For Sale. It was comfortable. And I was finally getting one track on a record: my little featured spot.
Ringo Starr

In the studio

Honey Don't was recorded during the final session for Beatles For Sale. On 26 October 1964 the group recorded five takes, the last of which was the best.


Well how come you say you will when you won't?
Say you do, baby, when you don't?
Let me know, honey, how you feel
Tell the truth now, is love real?
But uh-huh, well, honey don't

Well, honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
I say you will when you won't
Uh-huh, honey don't

Well I love you, baby, and you ought to know
I like the way that you wear your clothes
Everything about you is so doggone sweet
You got that sand all over your feet
But uh-huh, well, honey don't

Honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
I say you will when you won't
Uh-huh, honey don't

Oh, rock on George, one time for me

I feel fine
I said

Well sometimes I love you on a Saturday night
Sunday morning you don't look right
You been out painting the town
Uh-huh, baby, been stepping around
But uh-huh, well, honey don't

I said, honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
Honey don't
I say you will when you won't
Uh-huh, honey don't

Ah, rock on George, for Ringo one time

Well, honey don't
Well, honey don't
A little, little, honey don't
I say you will when you won't
Uh-huh, honey don't

18 responses on “Honey Don’t

  1. SD

    John played his acoustic 12-string and he also overdubbed a tambourine.

    The track contents are:
    1. Ringo’s drums, Paul’s bass
    2. George’s Tennessean and John’s 12-string
    3. Ringo’s vocal
    4. John’s tambourine

  2. Philipp

    Oh God, Ringo’s vocals on this are just marvellous. 🙂 The best part is during the first chorus when there’s a hint of an incredulous laugh during one of the “Honey Don’t”s. And of course the pre-solo parts.

    The Beatles for Sale page says that this song and “Mr. Moonlight” are the two most pointless covers on the album, but I definitely disagree. For me it would be “Rock and Roll Music” and “Kansas City” (although that one gets reasonably cool from the part where the “bye bye, bye bye” backing vocals start). The organ solo in “Mr. Moonlight” is one of the funniest Beatles moments ever IMO, and of course the vocals are amazing.

  3. Number Nine

    I think you should include that a version of this was included in the John Lennon Signature Box Set. I think that version sounds a lot more “raw”.

  4. Eric um-Bist

    This song really comes alive on the BBC version. John sings the song the way it was meant to be sung. I think the tempo is also quicker. If you’ve never heard this version you should check it out, it’s a proper Beatles-quality song unlike the Ringo version which, sadly, is a bit flat and plodding.

  5. David Lee Fairey

    What happened to the bass drum? It’s only audible a a few times throughout the song and whilst I acknowledge the bass drum is quite difficult to pick out on a large number of the Beatles’ earlier tracks – 1962-1964 – it’s practically gone AWOL here!

  6. Martin

    I think that there’s no drums on this track. The rhythm are made for the acoustic guitar and the tambourine. I don’t hear any cymbals, toms or snare.

    What you think?

  7. Mem

    Worst Beatle album????? No Reply, I’m A Loser, Baby’s In Black, Rock And Roll Music, I’ll Follow The Sun, Eight Days A Week, Every Little Thing, I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party?????? Some of their best songs recorded 😉

  8. metzgermeister77

    I love Ringo, and I love this album, but John definitely did it better in their live show. The best thing I can say about this one is that it’s unmemorable.

  9. Sam

    I really really like the Ringo version. He also sang this song at the Concert for George and I really wish he had included the “Rock on George” blurbs there, it would have been so beautiful and bittersweet there.

    P.S. Beatles For Sale is one of the best Beatles albums!

  10. Only a nowhere girl

    In the book “All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release” it says that at 0:34, Paul “pulls too hard at his bass string, which is a bit out of tune” and that the same mistake happens between 1:00 and 1:04. It doesn’t sound wrong to me, though. Can you hear it?

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