Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Honeymoon Song

Sorry this is late and super-short today, kids-- I'm once again putting up out-of-town friends who were, for some unfathomable reason, itching to get out and do something more interesting than watching me type and listen to a Beatles song ten times in a row. Why on earth could that have been? So this is the first time I've been home since early this morning-- too busy out having other sorts of fun to take care of my Beatley obligations. Apologies, too, for choosing kind of less cool song today, but, hey, we've got to slog through all of these, don't we? (Or at least I do.) Let's have a quick listen to an early Paul granny-song-cover-- one of the cutsier tracks from Live at the BBC.

I feel like you are either the kind of Beatles fan who enjoys it when Paul takes the stage and affects his best choirboy voice, or you are not. I am that kind of fan, generally, though it's never my favorite stuff-- and I like to think that my bullshit meter with Paul is always set to high, particularly when it comes to some of his post-Beatles balladeering. Nevertheless, "The Honeymoon Song" is fine for me. Paul clearly has an ear for a nice melody, is all. Okay, yes, it's clearly a show tune, but it's an okay one-- at least in my opinion.

The song is the theme from a 1959 movie that I've never seen, Luna de miel, better known to English-speaking audiences as Honeymoon. The song was composed by one Mikis Theodorakis (hat tip to The Beatles Bible, your top internet Beatlesource, for that-- I'd never have remembered that on my own). My understanding, from what very little I remember about this song, is that Paul never really saw the movie, but just saw an Italian band play this song on TV or something, and liked it enough to adapt for the band. What is notable for me about "The Honeymoon Song" is not only the sweet way Paul sings it-- which can hardly be called surprising-- but also that all the guitar work is pretty damned solid. Don't you think? Just another one to demonstrate the Beatles' cred as equal opportunity musicians-- they would have been a fine music hall band if they'd been so inclined, and no doubt anything else they'd wanted to as well.

So "The Honeymoon Song" didn't make it onto a commercial recording, unlike "A Taste of Honey" and "Till There Was You," but that makes sense-- the latter two are a bit more overtly appealing to the teenybopper demographic, whereas "The Honeymoon Song"'s sort of oblique lyrics about being bound to each other by love probably wouldn't have exactly melted teenage girls' hearts and panties. So I don't believe it stayed in their live set for that long. But Live at the BBC has preserved this little musical curiosity for the ages. So, you know, cool.

I've only had time to barely skim coverage of Paul's set at Citi Field last night, but it sounds like it was AMAZING. Hopefully I'll have time to link to more soon. And hopefully will write more tomorrow-- but now I'm honor bound to head out and do some more drinking. Hurrah!

"The Honeymoon Song," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 1 track 28 of Live at the BBC, November 30, 1994.


  1. Getting back to Mary Hopkin - Paul forced her ( i assume ) to cover this song on her LP "Postcard"... also - did you see the link i posted under your "Blackbird" post ?

    PS She was married to producer Tony Visconti - and is the other vocalist on Bowie's "Sound + Vision" - as "Mary Visconti" . .Tony was also married to May Pang . . .hmmmm

  2. That's all I can come up with, too, re: why Mary Hopkin covered it. Then again, I'd probably take Paul McCartney's advice on such matters too. I only just watched the video-- what a cool track that is! It's great fun to listen to. Donovan sounds like he was fun to hang out with. The Diana Ross quote still bugs me out, but whatev.

    Bootlegs, you may have noticed, are this big gaping hole in my Beatles knowledge, which is only fair to middling anyway. But that was a really good one. Any other ones you particularly like?

  3. I'm jonesing here. Megan, I'm going to have to insist that you cease this life-having and begin writing about the Beatles all the time. I just finished the Anthology book, and I'm hurting, man, I'm hurting.

    In the meantime, in honor of the song, and because you're a big fan of the BBC discs, and this list features some familiar names, and I guess that we talk from time to time about some of the 'cabaret' songs and how handy they came in during gigs, although I'm probably reaching here, and almost certainly need to get on with it, already, here is the setlist from the Beatles' first 'professionally organized out-of-town date,' according to Lewisohn, who should know: February 2, 1962, at the Oasis Club in Manchester. They played 22 songs, which is 19 more than you get to hear if, tragically, you take a 4-year-old to see Paul McCartney:

    1. The Hippy Hippy Shake
    2. Sweet Little Sixteen
    3. The Sheik of Araby
    4. September in the Rain
    5. Dizzy Miss Lizzie
    6. Take Good Careof My Baby
    7. 'Til There Was You
    8. Memphis Tennessee
    9. What a Crazy World We Live In
    10. Like Dreamers Do
    11. Money
    12. Young Blood
    13. Honeymoon Song
    14. Hullo Little Girl
    15. So How Come (Everly's) [sic]
    16. Oo My Soul
    17. To Know Her is to Love Her or Hully Gully
    18. Roll Over Beethoven
    19. The Loveof the Loved
    20. Dance/Twist in the Streets
    21. Dream
    22. Searchin

    It hardly need to be said that an enterprising person with the BBC discs in their possession could recreate a large portion of this show ...

  4. Oh, Troy, really? He only made it through 3 songs? Poor kid. Poor(er) dad. I'm so sorry. Because it sounds like it was, um, pretty awesome.

    When he's older this will be a good thing to rag on him about mercilessly, perhaps.

    At any rate, thanks for the setlist-- one COULD basically recreate this and dream happy, happy dreams. Sigh.