Day 262: “Wild Honey Pie”

When was it recorded?   Aug. 20, 1968

When was it first released, and on which album?   Nov. 22, 1968 on “The Beatles”

Who wrote it?   McCartney

Have I heard this song before?   Yes

What my research dug up:

Remember on Day 96 when I talked about the White Album track “Honey Pie?” Well this is basically unrelated.

“We were in an experimental mode, and so I said, ‘Can I just make something up?’ I started off with the guitar and did a multitracking experiment in the control room or maybe in the little room next door. It was very home-made; it wasn’t a big production at all. I just made up this short piece and I multitracked a harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and a harmony to that, and built it up sculpturally with a lot of vibrato on the strings, really pulling the strings madly. Hence, ‘Wild Honey Pie’, which was a reference to the other song I had written called ‘Honey Pie.’ It was a little experimental piece.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

Alan Pollack was complimentary of the tune, noting, “this song is, in terms of form, much more of a complete miniature than an offhanded fragment; as long as you’re willing to step back and accept a rather minimalistic/schematic definition of ‘form.’”

According to the Beatles Bible, Paul actually started working on “Wild Honey Pie” in India. It was recorded at the end of the session for “Mother Nature’s Son” (Day 172). Paul is the only Beatle on the track.

“[‘Wild Honey Pie’] was just a fragment of an instrumental which we were not sure about, but Pattie Harrison liked it very much, so we decided to leave it on the album.”– Paul McCartney

Again, Pollack complimented the song’s placement within the White Album. He wrote, “…the song seems to be purposely placed where it is to keep you diverted and/or distracted while the stage hands change sets, as it were, during the entr’acte separating ‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’ from ‘…Bungalow Bill.’ The gesture represents a theatrical exploitation of the LP album qua ‘medium’ that is not to be under-estimated.”

Man, so many commenters on the Beatles Bible page said this was the worst song ever and I definitely disagree.  Maybe I just have a weird sense of humor but I think it’s oddly endearing.  Maybe their reviews were colored by it coming on the heels of another reviled track I enjoy (“Ob-La-Di”).  Maybe maybe maybe.  For what it’s worth I think it’s listenable (if not much of an actual, textbook-definition of a song, though moreso than “Revolution 9”) and entertaining.  Again, my bar for entertainment isn’t super high.




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