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



You can learn how to play I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by the Four Tops!

Four Tops released I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) in 1965 on Berry Gordy‘s Motown label.

Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland, and played by house band The Funk Brothers, this was one of the decades’s biggest hits.

Spending weeks at #1 it was ranked the second biggest single of the year, competing with other classics such as (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, California Dreamin’, Fever, How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), It’s Not Unusual, Keep On Running, Like A Rolling Stone, Mr. Tambourine Man, My Generation, My Girl, Nowhere To Run, Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag, Rescue Me, Respect, Unchained Melody, We Can Work It Out, and Wooly Bully!

1965 – what a year for songwriting! It may come to you as a surprise that out of the songs listed above, the biggest single of the year was Wooly Bully. Perhaps Like A Rolling Stone being voted as the best song ever a few decades later helps soothe the pain!

Anyway, let’s focus on Four Tops hit I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) chords and lyrics, perhaps by studying them you can learn something about songwriting.

Should you play in a Motown band, this one will appear on the set list at some point, guaranteed.


I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) chords and lyrics


||: C ( C G A C G A C) :|| x6

| C | C | G | G |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch, you know that I love you.
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
I can’t help myself, I love you and nobody else.

| C | C |
In and out of my life (in and out of my life), 
| G | G |
you come and you go (you come and you go).
| Dm | Dm |
Leaving just your picture behind (oh, oh, oh, oh), 
| F | G A5 |
and I kissed it a thousand times (oh, oh, oh, oh).

| C | C |
When you snap your fingers or wink your eye, 
| G | G |
I come a-running to you.
| Dm | Dm |
I’m tied to your apron strings (I can’t help myself), 
| F | G A5 |
and there’s nothing that I can do (oh, oh, oh, oh). Ooh.

| C | C | G | G |
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5
I can’t help myself (oh, oh, oh, oh), no, I can’t help myself (oh, oh, oh, oh).

| C | C |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch (sugar pie, honey bunch), 
| G | G |
I’m weaker than a man should be.
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
I can’t help myself, I’m a fool in love you see.

| C | C | G | G |
Wanna tell you I don’t love you, tell you that we’re through and I’ve tried, 
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
but every time I see your face (see your face), I get up all choked up inside.

||: C ( C G A C G A C) :|| x6
When I call your name, girl it starts the flame (burning in my heart, tearin’ it all apart).
No matter how I try, my love I cannot hide.

| C | C |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch (sugar pie, honey bunch), 
| G | G |
you now that I’m weak for you (weak for you).
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
I can’t help myself, I love you and nobody else.

| C | C |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch (Sugar pie, honey bunch), 
| G | G |
I’ll do anything you ask me to (ask me to).
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
I can’t help myself, I want you and nobody else.

| C | C |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch (sugar pie, honey bunch), 
| G | G |
you know that I love you (love you).
| Dm | Dm | F | G A5 |
I can’t help myself, no I can’t help myself.

| C | C |
Oh, sugar pie, honey bunch (sugar pie, honey bunch).


I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) chord progression

Slightly backward, but still pretty common, I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) chords move like this:

I – V – II – IV – V – VI. Being in the key of C, the roman numerals translates to:

CGDmFG A5.

The first three are more common the other way around, as a II – V – I. F – G is IV – V, #2 on my chord progression list.

The only chord that stands out is the A5 at the end which feels wrong as a minor or major, it reminds me of how Jimmy Mack’s chords move, incidentally written by the same songwriting team…


The Funk Brothers

Motown’s house band didn’t have an official name, only they knew they were the Funk Brothers.

The band played on pretty much everything Motown released until ’72 when they relocated to Los Angeles and the band found a note on the hit factory door.

Go to The Funk Brothers – Biography.


Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy is the man behind the hit factory that was Motown. The idea behind the label came from working in a car factory.

Housing the label, the studio, and a house band all in the same building proved to be a masterstroke as Berry set out to discover the greatest superstars of our time.

Go to Berry Gordy – Biography.


Holland-Dozier-Holland

Lamont Dozier and brothers Eddie and Brian Holland were Motown’s main songwriting team in Motown’s hit factory during the 60s.

Their hits are so many and their influence is so great it is a mystery how their names are not more widely known.

Go to Holland-Dozier-Holland – Biography.


The Professional Guitarist Song Book

As a guitarist, a repertoire is the greatest asset that you can acquire.

Learn these songs and you can progress from being a bedroom player to working with acoustic duos, Jazz trios, Indie/Rock/Party bands as well as large Soul/Motown ensembles.

Go to Song Book.


Copyright + Comments

Studying great songs is the best way for a musician to develop, we believe displaying chords and lyrics falls under “fair use in education”.

If you are the copyright holder and do not wish to be represented in this way, or want to comment on anything in these lessons, do reach out.

Go to Contact.