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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 324
Wed, Dec 5, 2012

“Honey Bee”
Tom Petty

1994

“♫ Come
on now/ give me
some sugar/
give me some
sugar, little
honey bee
♫”

In 1994, Tom Petty wrote and recorded Wildflowers, one of the best albums in his all American music canon. So good of an album that it even surprised Petty’s producer Rick Rubin who once described Wildflowers as “I really love it now. I thought it was so much better than anything his contemporaries were doing. Even the late ‘60s artists, Paul Simon, Paul McCartney, their new albums weren’t so great. For grown people Petty’s record was a milestone album in that respect because contemporaries weren’t doing anything that was par with it.”

I really love the mature almost nature sound, I liken Wildflowers as Tom Petty’s Walden Pond. It’s as if Petty went back to his Southern roots, got back to nature with Wildflowers. What Rubin learned was that Petty’s craft of songwriting was as gifted of any great artist he ever produced. Rick explained the genius in Petty’s songwriting when he said, “There’s a sphere of influence that great artists can just tap into. Ideas that are of that moment. Tom Petty tells me that sometimes he’ll be sitting there with a guitar, and a whole song will just come out, beginning to end, lyrics and the whole thing. Tom will just sit down and play a song that he never heard before, thought about or written. Three minutes later, there’s a whole song.”

Petty talked about how he wrote “Honey Bee” when he said, “[“Honey Bee”] is kind of a blues-based song. And I got the idea to do that walk-up verse, where the chords kept going up and up. It was just kind of fun. It was meant to be a release from getting overly serious. Because some of those [Wildflowers] songs get pretty deep, and I think it’s good to have something that clears the mind for a minute. Let’s rock for a second, and not get overly serious here. And that’s what ‘Honey Bee” was, and that’s the one so many people want to hear live. I get so many requests for “Honey Bee.” People love it.

I Love it too, Tom. “Honey” arrives like a busting bee stinging energy in the middle of this acoustic opus that was Wildflowers. But that’s what makes “Honey Bee” such an addictive favorite. In the middle of Tom Petty’s acoustic flavored masterpiece comes this masterful rocker. What makes “Honey Bee” such a rocking delight is the way Petty sings in such a raucous Southern drawl bringing out the hilarity in Tom’s animated lyrics. Tom talked about the method to his lyrical madness of “Honey Bee,” when he said, “Where does it come from? I don’t know where I got, “I’m the King of Pomona.” But I wanted it to be like that. I wanted it to be part gibberish. Where it would be clear to anyone that I’m not taking this too seriously. I’m just having some fun here. So [“Honey Bee”] was just a little fun with words.

The definite highlight of 1994’s Wildflowers, “Honey Bee” stings you with Tom’s exuberant lyrics that rock you in the middle of Petty’s acoustic masterpiece. Part of Wildflowers success goes to producer Rick Rubin. He made Tom Petty sound like Wildflowers was cut live in the studio. Rick described the magic of Petty’s 1994 album when he said, “Wildflowers sounds like it was made on a weekend. Of course it took us two years to make it sound it was made on a weekend—the right weekend!” Looking for a rocker to liven up your hump day blues, unleash the rocking hilarity of “Honey Bee.” From 1994’s Wildflowers, Tom Petty will crank up your laid back acoustic experience with this electric seductive delight. I urge you to unleash your inner hilarious while rocking out the three chord magnificence that is “Honey Bee.”

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