Happy Birthday, drummer Honey Lantree

Even now, a “girl drummer” in an all-boy band is a rare thing. Back in the 1960s, it was unheard of. Which is why Honey Lantree, drummer for the Joe Meek-produced The Honeycombs, stands out. Still. When she joined the band, she was working as a hairdresser. She had never played the drums before, but she took to it. She learned quickly. People refused to even believe it. People thought she was “pretending” drumming to a track already laid down. I know, it’s outrageous.

I wrote a tiny bit about The Honeycombs’ biggest hit – “Have I the Right?” – here. It was #1 in the UK, and #5 in the United States. The Honeycombs didn’t “go the distance” as a band, they were a one-hit wonder, but people still remember that song. It’s an ear-grabber for sure.

Interestingly enough, right before she died last year at the age of 74, Honey Lantree came up in a discussion on Facebook. Someone linked to the Elvis talk I gave in Memphis, in which I referenced the absolutely BONKERS final moment of Spinout. Someone in the comments section, a woman, posted a picture of Elvis’ “band” in Spinout, all boys, with – a girl drummer. A spunky sassy one-of-the-boys girl drummer.

I said, in response, “Hey, it’s like The Honeycombs” and the woman who posted the Spinout pic said, “The girl drummer in Spinout and Honey Lantree inspired me as a kid to become a drummer.” Karen Carpenter also said that when she saw The Honeycombs on The Ed Sullivan Show, it inspired her to become a drummer.

One-hit wonder? Okay. But you never know “how far that little candle throws his beams.”

Here are The Honeycombs performing “Have I The Right?” It’s a banger!

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4 Responses to Happy Birthday, drummer Honey Lantree

  1. I’ve always loved how happy she looks

  2. Shawn says:

    Listened to the song Have I the Right for the first time. It’s not my cup of tea, but the drumming is very cool. Very unique. It’s the guitar that doesn’t work. The guitar doesn’t seem to know what its job is haha. When I think of female drummers, Karen Carpenter and Moe Tucker (still alive btw) are the earliest I knew of. So this is very cool to see. Amazing, to be the only woman out there, in a world so dominated by men that a pedophile is able to be in a position of power like that. What a great contrast of how far things have changed.
    I’m a great admirer of your writing. I’m very excited I just discovered your blog.

    • sheila says:

      Well, the p*do lasted into our contemporary era! His downfall was swift, even though there were rumors out there for years. Appalling. I’m not British so there is definitely some kind of cultural thing there that I don’t understand – I don’t understand the appeal of him, I mean. I don’t “get” why he became famous. Something is lost in translation for me. I’m sure British people feel the same way about the some of the people we love – although I’m trying to think of a comparable figure … like, Johnny Knoxville or something? But I’ll fight anybody who doesn’t like Johnny Knoxville. Who else … like Wink Martindale or something? I don’t know – Savile occupied such a unique position for so long. There’s a documentary about Savile on Netflix, not sure if you’ve seen.

      I agree with you about the guitar on Have I the Right! For me, the whole song is “made” by his voice – and the foot stamping!

      Thanks for all your thoughtful comments – I’m catching up now after a busy couple of weeks.

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