There is such a driving power to this melody, as it grabs hold of the listener and refuses to let go, very much like how a very special woman has the narrator wrapped around her finger – because he loves her so. Levi Stubbs Jr. sings in a begging way “Sugar pie, honey bunch, you know that I love you, I can't help myself, I love you and nobody else.” It is amazing how hopelessly in love he is. The song is an upbeat lament, and if the track wasn’t so bright melodically, it would come off as heartbreaking and obsessive. It is a strange combination of elements, where a hopeless, almost pathetic romantic does everything possible to express a love that is not returned. We empathize with him because we all have been there, especially in middle school or high school, where the harder we crushed, the more standoffish the target of our affection. This is an innocence that is captured so well in classic R&B such as this, but those were different times. As the doomed affair is further explained, we can hear that this girl likes the attention, and abuses her power by giving him a only a part of her from time to time; “In and out my life, you come and you go, leaving just your picture behind, and I kissed it a thousand times.” She doesn’t seem like the type to stick around, and she clearly knows his personality by now. This is another reason why the narrator is so lovesick – he still has hope, though as the situation progresses, he becomes aware that he is doing unmanly things and relinquishing too much control to her, according to the notions of the times; “Sugar pie, honey bunch, I'm weaker than a man should be, I can't help myself, I'm a fool in love, you see, want to tell you I don't love you, tell you that we're through, and I've tried, but ev'ry time I see your face, I get all choked up inside.” As the song maintains it’s rhythm and style until the climax, the narrator admits that he will do anything that she asks, regardless of his low chances of succeeding. If he does win her over eventually, he will surely be “tied to her apron strings” forever.

Written by @taylor

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Song Info

"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)"




  • Jan 01, 1965


  • 7" single


  • Motown


  • Brian Holland Lamont Dozier


  • Soul, pop


"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" is a 1965 hit song recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label.
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