“A Taste Of Honey” is a Beatles’ song available on the Fab Four’s first album from 1963, “Please Please Me”. However, such was the popularity of the song at the time, they recorder it seven times for BBC radio shows in the early 1960’s which they took part in. So, a version of this song is available on the “Live At The BBC” album too.
Release Date: 22nd March, 1963 in the UK, also 10th January, 1964 in the US
Recorded: 11th February, 1963
Track Duration: 2:01
Record Label: Parlophone
Songwriters: Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
A Taste Of Honey
Originally, Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow wrote “A Taste Of Honey” as an instrumental track. It was for a Broadway adaptation of the 1958 British play by the same name. The play was basically a “kitchen sink drama”. There was also a film release in 1961, again with the same name.
However, in 1962, the American singer, Lenny Welch recorded and released a vocal version of the song. This inspired The Beatles to do a version, but they changed the wording ever so slightly. Whereas Welch’s lines are “A taste of honey, A taste much sweeter than wine”, The Beatles’ version is, “A taste of honey, Tasting much sweeter than wine”. Since this song was one of The Beatles’ early recordings, it is on the “Please Please Me” album from 1963.
The song became an important part of their live act onstage in places such as the Cavern Club in Liverpool.
“A Taste Of Honey was one of my big numbers in Hamburg – a bit of a ballad. It was different, but it used to get requested a lot. We sang close harmonies on the little echo mikes, and we made a fairly good job of it. It used to sound pretty good, actually.”
The Beatles began recording “A Taste Of Honey” on the 11th February, 1963, in Studio Two at the EMI Studios, London, during a marathon recording session between, 10am and 10.45pm. On this day they almost recorded all of their first studio album, “Please Please Me”. In fact they recorded 10 songs that day for the album and even managed to record “Hold Me Tight” as well.
The Fab Four recorded 5 takes of “A Taste Of Honey” of which the last was suitable for the master track. On this, Paul McCartney’s double-tracked his vocals for the first time. Indeed, this is the only time that any double-tracking of vocals occur on the album.
Despite all those songs being a rush job, they are all professional masterpieces, especially this track. Together with songs such as “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Twist And Shout“, their debut album became a classic. The variety of songs also gave us a glimpse at what a gig in the Cavern Club may have been like.
The Fab Four would receive requests to play this song, and they loved it too, so they didn’t mind. One of the seven recordings they made for the BBC radio shows also appears on their 1994 album, “Live At The BBC“. This was the recording from their session the Aeolian Hall, London, on the 10th July, 1963, broadcast on the 23rd July that year on “Pop Go The Beatles”.
Many artists have also recorded the song such as Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and Billy Dee Williams.