“Honey Don’t”: That Revolutionary Chord Change

Jack Clement, Sun Engineer: I like that song. I was at Sun when ol’ Carl [Perkins] cut that. Sam [Phillips] was running the board. I hadn’t been there all that long. But I was there and I remember that song real well. I always liked that funny chord change in it.

Ben Folds: Yeah.

Jack: What key is that it in?

Ben: It’s in E. It goes from E to a C.

Jack: It goes to C. Right.

[Ben Folds demonstrates the chord change from E to C.]

Jack: That’s an ear-grabber, you know? I do remember everybody was excited about that song and they all liked that change from E to C.

Ben: That’s basically why I wanted to play it. It was kind of unusual for that time, I think. That’s a strange … It’s weird for now. Cool chords.

Robert Sledge, standup bass player: It’s an awesome song.

Ben Folds: Yeah, it’s a great song.

[Robert Sledge demonstrates the chord change in question.]

Robert: In an interview I heard that his guitar player said, ‘Man, you can’t do that. It’s just not right.” And Carl said, “I can do it.” The guitar player said, “It’s just not right. I don’t know if I want to play that.” And he did it anyway and made history. And it just goes to show you you’ve got to take some chances.

From the documentary “Good Rockin’ Tonight”.

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