Music/Popular Culture

The Savoy Truffle: you know that what you eat you are…

George has a laugh at Eric Clapton’s expense.

“‘Savoy Truffle’ on The White Album was written for Eric [Clapton]. He’s got this real sweet tooth and he’d just had his mouth worked on. His dentist said he was through with candy. So as a tribute I wrote, ‘You’ll have to have them all pulled out after the Savoy Truffle’. The truffle was some kind of sweet, just like all the rest – cream tangerine, ginger sling – just candy, to tease Eric.” – George Harrison

Mackintosh’s Good News chocolates collection featuring, upper left, the Savoy Truffle (image courtesy The Beatles Bible)

The White Album sessions were, by all accounts, chaotic affairs with individual Beatles often working on their separate songs (the collection is rather more like solo albums in progress – at least for John, Paul, and George – with the other Beatles serving as side men rather than a unified effort by the band. John was spending his free moments with Yoko, Ringo got mad and quit the band, Paul was doing Paul-y things….

George was hanging out with Eric Clapton with whom he’d become close friends and with whom George had broken Beatle protocol by having Clapton play lead guitar on his White Album classic, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” The friendship was a strong one and survived even when George’s first wife Patti left him for Eric.

And that’s how “Savoy Truffle” came to be written. Clapton’s sweet tooth and dental woes gave impetus to one of George’s wittiest and most light-hearted songs. 

             Savoy Truffle

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 truffleCool cherry cream, nice apple tart
I feel your taste all the time we’re apart
Coconut fudge really blows down those blues
But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffleYou 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’ll shout aloud[Instrumental/Solo]

But you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

You know that what you eat you are
But what is sweet now turns so sour
We all know obla-dibla-da
But can you show me where you are?

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

Yes you’ll have to have them all pulled out
After the Savoy truffle

The illustration above is of a box of chocolates like the one George used to write his lyrics, He added some flavors not listed to make the lyrics work and famously got help with the bridge from long time Beatles press officer (and friend) Derek Taylor:

George said, “We need a bit here, da da, da da da da, da da,” and I thought again of my good friend, Alan Pariser.  He had done a film called You Are What You Eat, which was a very pippy thing; “Don’t eat meat, man, or you’ll be filled with the adrenaline of frightened animals.”  So I said to George, “You know that what you eat you are.”  So that was that bit for ‘Savoy Truffle.’

George himself added the line “We all know Ob-la-di-bla-da” as a good-natured poke at Paul over the extensive length of time it took to record that song. And of course the “You’ll have to have them all pulled out/After the Savoy Truffle” line is George teasing Eric Clapton about his dental problems.

Here it is in a remastered version on Spotify. Have a laugh at Eric Clapton’s expense:

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