Art Blogging Contest

Please vote for Musical Perceptions in the Art Blogging Match of Doom

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Honey Don't

How come you say you will when you won't - I
Say you do, baby when you don't - bVI
Let me know honey, how you feel - I
Tell the truth now, is love real - bVI
So aw, aw honey don't - V

from "Honey Don't" by Carl Perkins, 1956

The mixture chord in this rockabilly classic occurs in the main verse, which I have conveniently copied the lyrics to above! The song is in E major and the mixture chord is a flat VI chord (C natural). The I-bVI-I-V chord progression was very common in early rock n' roll. The flat VI chord was actually dubbed the Buddy Holly chord by Beatles analyst Alan Pollack because of it's use in Holly's song "Peggy Sue". Artists in the 50's started to use this bVI chord to get away from the usual I-IV-V7 chord progression, the three chord trick, used in nearly all early rock n' roll songs.

Most of Carl Perkins songs follow the 12-bar blues format so when he first introduced the flat VI chord in "Honey Don't" his band was uh not really receptive of the chord. They wanted to follow the usual format; they thought that the chord was too unusual and the public would not take it well. In the end though Perkins convinced his band to go along with the progression. I really can't say what people during the 50's thought about this chord progression but I can make an educated guess. Listeners may have been apprehensive at the time because of the odd chord choice but at the same time found the different chord structure to be a refreshing twist from the usual progressions used in the typical song. Perkins bVI chord was obviously a good choice because it was used a year later by Buddy Holly and other artists.

1 comment:

Scott said...

This is a good start, especially the historical information you found. But add what affect the chord has on you, and comment on how Carl Perkins' band performed it or how you wish it had been performed. Is the chord merely to be different, or does it reflect the text at all?