When was it recorded? Feb. 11, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Mar. 22, 1963 on “Please Please Me”
Who wrote it? Ric Marlow & Bobby Scott
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
American musicians Robert “Bobby” Scott and Ric Marlow wrote “A Taste of Honey” as an instrumental piece for “for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play A Taste of Honey (which was also made into the film of the same name in 1961)” (Wikipedia). Bobby Scott recorded the initial version and it appeared on his 1960 album, “A Taste of Honey.” Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass recorded what’s probably the best-known version of “A Taste of Honey” in 1965. Both Scott’s version and Alpert’s version won Grammy Awards (four trophies total).
According to Wikipedia, “Lenny Welch recorded the first vocal version.” A “Lee Morris” is credited on this version and might possibly be responsible for the lyrics. His exact contribution, however, is unknown, and he isn’t credited on any other published version of “Taste of Honey.” Welch released “Taste of Honey” as a single in Sept. 1962.
According to the Beatles Bible, the Fab Four adapted their version of “A Taste of Honey” from Welch’s single. The song was a staple of their early shows – here’s a version from the Star-Club in Hamburg.
Quoth Wikipedia, “As the instrumental version by Acker Bilk was popular in the United Kingdom at the time, the song was chosen to be recorded for [The Beatles’] 1963 debut album, ‘Please Please Me,’ with Paul McCartney singing lead.” The Beatles recorded it Feb. 11, 1963, along with the majority of the “Please Please Me” tracklist. According to the Beatles Bible, it was the first song they recorded during their afternoon session and it required five takes. Overdubbing of the lead vocals bumped the song up to seven takes before mixing.
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “While the wholesomeness of the song was to McCartney’s liking… its sentimental tone sat uneasily with the raw energy evident on songs such as ‘Twist And Shout’ and ‘I Saw Her Standing There.’ It did, however, demonstrate The Beatles’ versatility as a group, something they were keen to push as they sought to establish a name for themselves.” I have to agree with the first point. It’s kind of killing my buzz at the moment; I don’t know how much is sticks out in the context of the album, though since I haven’t heard “There’s a Place” yet.
The Beatles recorded “A Taste of Honey” seven times for BBC. The first version was actually recorded four months before the album version.
- Oct. 25, 1962 for “Here We Go” (aired Oct. 26)
- Apr. 1, 1963 for “Side By Side” (aired May 13)
- Jun. 1 for “Pop Go the Beatles” (aired Jun. 6)
- Jun. 19 for “Easy Beat” (aired Jun. 23)
- Jul. 3 for “Beat Show” (aired Jul. 4)
- Jul. 10 for “Pop Go the Beatles” (aired Jul. 23)
- Sept. 3 for “Pop Go the Beatles” (aired Sept. 10)
The Jul. 10, 1963 version appeared on “Live at the BBC.”