Honeysuckle Rose | Classic Jazz Songs (Series)

Written in 1928 by legendary jazz pianist and composer Fats Waller, “Honeysuckle Rose” remains a highly popular jazz standard to this day.

As with many jazz songs in the 20s and 30s, it was originally heard in a musical – in this case, the Off-Broadway show “Load of Coal”.

However, it was Waller’s 1934 version – inducted six decades later into the Grammy Hall of Fame – which brought it to mainstream success.

It is often said that jazz not only came of age as an art-form  in a programme led by Benny Goodman’s Orchestra. 

The song was also featured in a jam session at the famous Carnegie Hall concert in January 1938 presenting a mixed group of white and black musicians (unusual at the time) from the the bands of Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Duke Ellington.

Honeysuckle Rose Lyrics

When I’m taking sips From your tasty lips

Fats Waller wasn’t alone in putting this composition together; lyrics were provided by Andy Razaf, who also partnered with the pianist for another smash hit, Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Whilst the lyrics may seem cute by today’s standards, they were considered a little risquĂ© at the time…

Honeysuckle Rose Versions

It’s a fascinating testament to the best jazz songs in history how fresh they continue to sound over the years. 

To demonstrate the full genius of Honeysuckle Rose, we’ve picked 3 additional versions which, when listened with the original Fats Waller recording above, span almost 100 years! 

Thelonious Monk plays Honeysuckle Rose (1965)

Mike Campbell version (1982)

Jason Moran plays Honeysuckle Rose (2014)

What was your favourite?

Feel free to suggest others; there are more than 700(!) registered over at Second Hand Songs!

Looking for more like Fats Waller? Check out our heroes of Stride Piano.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.