On this day in 1968, The Beatles began recording the George Harrison song, “Savoy Truffle”, inspired by Eric Clapton’s love of sweets.
While for the past few weeks, we’ve been focusing more on contemporary music, it’s been a while since we’ve covered any Beatles songs. So far this week, we’ve looked at a few new tracks, and just one oldie. On Monday, we looked at The New Pornographers’ “The Surprise Knock” from their new album, “In the Morse Code of Brake Lights”. Tuesday, we listened to Tegan and Sara’s “Hey, I’m Just Like You”, from their new album of the same name. And yesterday, we listened to “Atom Heart Mother” by Pink Floyd.
On October 3, 1968, The Beatles were in Trident Studios in London working on what would become known as The White Album. On this particular day, they recorded the basic track for George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle”.
But before we get too far into the song itself, let’s first take a quick look at the album it appeared on.
Originally titled, “The Beatles”, this 1968 album is commonly referred to as “The White Album” by fans. It is the ninth studio album released by the Beatles, and their only double album release. It is also the album that some mark as the beginning of the end for the fab four, as during recording, arguments over creative differences, along with the inclusion of Yoko Ono during sessions, rose tensions among the band.
Despite the abundance of tension, the White Album includes some of the best songs the Beatles ever wrote. These include “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”, “Dear Prudence”, “Revolution”, and more.
Along with including a number of timeless tracks, the Beatles also provided a wide and fragmented ensemble of styles and genres on the White Album. From the ska-influenced “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, to the heavy rock of “Helter Skelter”, to the nursery rhyme-inspired “Piggies”, the Beatles really stretched their songwriting muscles. Or perhaps they were just having fun.
Speaking of, one of the more fun songs found on the White Album just happens to be George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle”.
“Savoy Truffle” appears on the later half of the White Album. More specifically, on side four of the double LP release. Unlike many of his other songs, “Savoy Truffle” doesn’t have any spiritual or deeper meaning to it.
During the recording of the White Album, while tensions among the band members were high, George Harrison began spending more time with fellow guitarist Eric Clapton, who contributed the solo on his other song, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.
In his book, “I, Me Mine”, Harrison recalls the inspiration behind the song. “‘Savoy Truffle’ is a funny one written whilst hanging out with Eric Clapton in the sixties … He always had toothache but he ate a lot of chocolates … once he saw a box he had to eat them all”.
“Savoy Truffle” is a song written to Eric Clapton from George Harrison. It may have been Harrison’s way of coping with the band’s tension, by trying to find a way to loosen up and have fun. You can see this more in the lyrics.
The lyrics to “Savoy Truffle” largely contain a list of real and imagined treats found in a box of Mackintosh Good News chocolates. In the first verse, Harrison even makes a direct reference to the brand name.
“Creme tangerine and montelimar
A ginger sling with a pineapple heart
A coffee dessert, yes you know it’s good news
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle”
Later in the song, Harrison continues to warn Clapton of the dangers of an uncontrollable sweet tooth.
“You might not feel it now
But when the pain cuts through
You’re going to know, and how
The sweat is going to fill your head
When it becomes too much
You shout aloud”
Additionally, Harrison’s guitar solo right after this verse has a tone that mimics the sound of a dentist’s drill. Just another little addition to convince his friend to stop eating so many chocolates.
While it may not be the most interesting or musically inventive song the Beatles ever put out, “Savoy Truffle” was still a solid addition to the Beatles’ catalog. And it was further proof that Harrison wasn’t only capable of the deep, contemplative songs, and could hang with John Lennon when it came to the nonsense lyrics and active sense of play.
That about does it for our discussion today. I hope you enjoyed listening to and learning a little bit about George Harrison’s “Savoy Truffle”. Leave a comment down below to let us know whether you think it’s overrated or underrated.
We’ll be back tomorrow with another song to finish up the week.