A Taste of Honey is a pop standard written by Bobby Scott and Ric Marlow. It was originally an instrumental track (or recurring theme) written 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). Both the original and a cover by Herb Alpert in 1965 earned the song Grammy Awards. A vocal version of the song, first recorded by Lenny Welch, became popular when it was recorded by The Beatles in 1963.
The Beatles Version
The Beatles performed the song in their live repertoire from 1962, adopting Lenny Welch's adaptation, slightly changing the lyrics in the chorus. A version from this time was released in 1977 on the album Live! at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany; 1962. As the instrumental version by Acker Bilk was popular in the United Kingdom at the time, the song was chosen to be recorded for their 1963 debut album Please Please Me, with Paul McCartney singing lead — this version is notable in that, during the middle eight, McCartney's vocal is double-tracked. the first of many songs in which the Beatles did so. In the United States this song first appeared on the Veejay Records album Introducing... The Beatles. The Beatles also performed "A Taste of Honey" seven times for the BBC radio shows, including "Here We Go", "Side by Side" and "Easy Beat". In 1967, McCartney wrote "Your Mother Should Know" based on a line taken from the screenplay.
- Paul McCartney: double-tracked lead vocals, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
- John Lennon: backing vocals, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
- George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar (1957 Gretsch Duo Jet)
- Ringo Starr: brushed drums (1960 Premier 58/54 Mahogany)
Other Vocal versions
Lenny Welch recorded the first vocal version. It was released as a single in September 1962 on the Cedence Records label and included on his 1963 album Since I Fell For You. This version also credits Lee Morris as a writer but it is not known if it was he who provided the lyrics. This credit does not appear on any covers of the song, with only Marlow/Scott credited.
- Chet Baker recorded the song for his 1964 album Baby Breeze.
- Julie London recorded the song on her 1963 album The Wonderful World of Julie London.
- Tony Bennett reached #94 in the US with a vocal version in 1964.
- Carola recorded a popular Finnish version "Hunajainen", in 1965.
- Bobby Darin recorded a version of the song.
- The Hollies recorded two versions. First in 1966 for the US LP Beat Group!, and later in 1968.
- Tom Jones recorded the song for his 1966 albums From the Heart.
- Trini Lopez included "A Taste of Honey" on his 1965 Reprise Records LP The Love Album.
- Allan Sherman recorded a parody version called "A Waste of Money"
- Barbara Streisand recorded the song for her debut solo album, The Barbara Streisand Album, released in 1963.
- Sarah Vaughan recorded the song as the lead track on her 1963 album Sarah Sings Soulfully.
- Andy Williams recorded the song in 1966 for his album The Shadow of Your Smile.
- Popular jazz singer Lizz Wright revisited the song on her 2005 album Dreaming Wide Awake.
- The original recorded versions of the song "A Taste of Honey", "A Taste of Honey (refrain)" and "A Taste of Honey (closing theme)", appeared on Bobby Scott's 1960 album, also titled A Taste of Honey, on Atlantic 1355. The composition won Best Instrumental Theme at the Grammy Awards of 1963.
- Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass recorded the most popular instrumental version of the song with a cover on their 1965 album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights. This recording spent five weeks at number one on the easy listening chart, reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100, and won three awards including Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards of 1966.
- Eddie Cano recorded a live version on his album Eddie Cano at P.J.'s (Reprise Records) in 1961.
- Martin Denny and the Victor Feldman Quartet each scored minor hits in 1962 with their covers.
- Acker Bilk released a version in the UK in January 1963, reaching number 16 in the UK Singles Chart.
- Paul Desmond recorded it on his album Glad to be Unhappy in 1963.
- Lenny Breau recorded it for his album The Velvet Touch of Lenny Breau - Live!