The Honeydrippers were a rock and roll band of the 1980s, deriving their name from Roosevelt Sykes, an American blues singer also known as "Honeydripper". Former Led Zeppelin lead singer Robert Plant formed the group in 1981 to satisfy his long-time goal in having a rock band with a heavy rhythm and blues basis. Formed originally in Worcestershire, the band went on to record an EP in the US. In addition to Plant, the band was composed of fellow former Led Zeppelin member Jimmy Page; Jeff Beck (a former Yardbirds member like Page); and other friends and well-known studio musicians. The band released only one recording, an EP titled The Honeydrippers: Volume One, on 12 November 1984. The Honeydrippers should not be confused with The Honey Drippers (two words), the backing band of Roy C known for recording "Impeach The President". Nor should it confused with Joe Liggins and His Honeydrippers, which had R&B hits in the 1940s and 1950s.
They performed in a concert at Keele University in 1981. The Honeydrippers peaked at #3 in early 1985 on the Billboard Hot 100 with a remake of the Phil Phillips' tune "Sea of Love", and hit #25 with "Rockin' at Midnight", originally a Roy Brown recording and a rewrite of "Good Rockin' Tonight." With the EP's success, Plant stated that a full album would be recorded, but it never was. The band appeared on Saturday Night Live on 15 December 1984, performing "Rockin' at Midnight" and "Santa Claus Is Back in Town." The band featured Brian Setzer and Georg Wadenius on guitar, Tom Barney on bass, Paul Shaffer on piano, Buddy Williams on drums, Michael Brecker, Lou Marini, and Ronnie Cuber on saxophones, Jon Faddis on trumpet and Tom Malone on trombone.
On 23 December 2006, Plant performed a charity show at Kidderminster Town Hall under the title 'The Return of the Honeydrippers' to raise money for his neighbour Jackie Jennings, who was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.
Original lineup (1981)
- Robert Plant – vocals
- Andy Silvester – guitar
- Kevin O'Neill – drums
- Ricky Cool – harmonica
- Jim Hickman – bass
- Keith Evans – saxophone
- Wayne Terry – bass
- Robbie Blunt – guitar
The Honeydrippers: Volume One lineup (1984)
- Robert Plant – vocals
- Jimmy Page – guitars
- Jeff Beck – guitars
- Paul Shaffer – keyboard
- Nile Rodgers – guitar, co-producer
- Wayne Pedzwater – bass
- Dave Weckl – drums
- Brian Setzer – guitar (guest appearance)
- Keith "Bev" Smith – Drums
- The Honeydrippers: Volume One (1984), US #5, US R&B #67, UK #56
- Huey, Steve (2011). "The Honeydrippers: biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2 June 2015.
- "Week of January 05, 1985". Billboard. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Reviews: Pop - Picks. Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 12 January 1985. pp. 101–. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Robert Plant to play benefit gig for neighbour". NME News. 29 September 2006. Retrieved 4 February 2007.
- "Bev Smith Memorial Concert: Aura, Billy Bowel & The Movements | Kidderminster King & Castle | Live Review |". Recordcollectormag.com. 28 September 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 258. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- The Honeydrippers at AllMusic