The Beatles song Paul McCartney wrote for an imaginary woman

Paul McCartney

Paul McCartney appears to have two distinct approaches to songwriting. Some of his songs, on the one hand, are obviously and firmly based on the reality of his life. “The Lovely Linda” openly acknowledges its Linda McCartney influence, whereas Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon, served as the inspiration for “Hey Jude.” Many of his songs find resonance in Liverpool, where they currently reside, or in the surrounding environment. On the other hand, the other aspect of his work is completely different as he retreats into a fantastical world filled with imaginary places and fictional women.

The Beatles’ second side appeared to take up more and more of their minds as their career progressed. By the time they were recording The White Album, bizarre stories, spiraling imagery, and bizarre, psychedelic-colored characters had replaced reality. That one album alone features characters like Rocky Racoon, Bungalow Bill, Sexy Sadie, and many more. The musicians appeared to go very far into their imaginations to create their most imaginative record to date.

In many respects, it was also their most free record. The band went to India in 1968 to study with the Maharishi, and each member had a very different experience. George Harrison and John Lennon stayed, but Paul McCartney and Starr left right away. That one trip turned into a sort of microcosmic illustration of how the band was starting to change. It put pressure on their interpersonal and artistic ties. They appeared to take divergent directions. It is also another instance where they severed ties from Liverpool, their hometown, their beginnings, and regional legends. They also lost their connection to the United Kingdom and their status as the quintessential British band.

The Beatles were also becoming more and more involved with drugs. The members’ experiments with LCD, or even heroin in Lennon’s case, had led to heavier stuff from what had begun with a few joints here and there. Paul McCartney had tuned into the outside world. Now, he was readjusting his mental radio to simply tune into his imagination. The “turn on, tune in, drop out” mentality of the late 1960s countercultural scene was finding its way into the band’s world.

That’s how “Honey Pie” came to be—a love ballad written for an imaginary person. “Honey Pie” is a classic crooning song that sounds like the curtains opening in a calmer theatre of the mind, in stark contrast to “Wild Honey Pie,” an eerie little ditty that could be seen as the first dose sending the brain into a spiral.

“Honey Pie” is just one more stylistic shift on an album devoid of any cohesiveness or sonic flow. Although the other songs deftly experiment, McCartney’s mentality appeared to draw him closer to custom or the vintage sounds he had always cherished. “John and I shared a deep passion for music hall. I particularly enjoyed the unique, fruity voice used by those vintage crooners,” he remarked.

Thus, he created an imaginary counterpart for himself while he performed the part of the elderly singer. “I wrote ‘Honey Pie,’ to an imaginary woman named Honey Pie who lived across the ocean on the silver screen,” he clarified. The narrative features the song “She was a working girl North of England Way.” Now, she has achieved fame in the U.S.A., recounting the story of a man who lusts after a well-known lover.

It’s one of my other fantasy tunes, he explained. But perhaps there’s a grain of truth to it. Due in part to their hectic schedules as well-known individuals, McCartney and his longtime girlfriend Jane Asher called it quits just before the White Album sessions started. The Beatles’ US tour particularly put a strain on their relationship. He sings, “Oh, Honey Pie, you are driving me frantic / Sail across the Atlantic / To be where you belong / Honeypie, come back to me,” the song, which may have been partially inspired by this experience.

McCartney, however, is adamant that it was just a made-up tale about a girl that never was. “It’s a nod to the vaudeville tradition that I was raised on,” claimed the love interest. In reality, though, she was nothing more than a made-up vehicle for an idea.

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