honey honeycombs

top on my list of music to mildly obsess over this week is the honeycombs – a 60s beat group with a rare example (certainly at that time) of a female drummer. the delightful honey lantree – whose brother john was the bassist in the band – hopped from hair salon assistant to the holloway road studio of independent music production lej joe meek when her boyfriend guitarist martin murray decided to form the band. pretty cool…

honey lantree from the honeycombs

they are best known for super-60s pop stomp ‘have i the right’ which is all sorts of amaze and was number one in the uk charts in 1964. i read somewhere that the distinctive drumming was enhanced by actual stamping on the stairs of joe meek’s studio, recorded by microphones connected to the bannisters by bicycle clips.

the honeycombs teeter along the fine line dividing sixties suave and ‘little bit gay man’ with their beautiful matching tailored suits and sharp demi-quiffs – appaz, guitarist martin murray was a hairdresser before forming the band which could explain their well-informed sense of style. perhaps.

by taking her beehive onto every young person’s black and white tv screen and no doubt inspiring a plethora of impressionable young girls to join bands, honey lantree gets hero status. she also has a prrroper london accent and remains amazingly fashion conscious, sporting a sharp royal blue box-shouldered jacket in an interview where she talks about working with joe meek.

although 50 years on the band are still performing, honey took the graceful path, retired early and is no longer drumming. she is probably now someone’s very cool nan…

i bought a ‘best of’ the honeycombs album last week and despite being dubbed one-hit wonders it’s surprisingly good. highlight alongside ‘have i the right’ has to be the slightly sinister ‘eyes’, which seems to be all about eyeing up people in bars (or maybe just full-on stalking) – great lyrics, and of course, superb drumming:

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2 thoughts on “honey honeycombs

  1. Great article. I read it through trying to find something I could correct but you have avoided all the common mistakes that are repeated all over the web.
    Yes the stamping on the stairs is absolutely correct. In fact they were so loud that the neighbours complained to the police.
    When they recorded the German version Hab’ Ich Das Recht, there was no repeat of the stamping, and it was not sped up as almost all Joe Meek’s recordings were. Consequently they had to cut a verse to make it short enough.
    I haven’t met Honey but I am rehearsing with Martin Murray for gigs later this year or early next.
    :o)

  2. One small thing I just noticed on second reading. You have a link to a band calling themselves The New Honeycombs but they are actually nothing to do with the original band. The correct link would be http://www.thehoneycombs.biz for Martin Murray and the current line up of the band.

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