Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: HoneyReleased: 1968Charted:
This song was written by Bobby Russell, who got the idea for the song when he noticed how much a tree in his front yard had grown in four years. Russell was a Nashville songwriter who was briefly married to actress/singer Vicki Lawrence, and wrote her 1973 hit "The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia
." He also wrote "Little Green Apples" for O.C. Smith (#2, 1968), and "The Joker Went Wild" for Brian Hyland (#20, 1966). Russell, who died of a heart attack in 1992 at age 51, was a singer, but his most successful songs were recorded by other artists. He had minor hits with the songs "1432 Franklin Pike Circle Hero" (#36, 1968) and the novelty song "Saturday Morning Confusion" (#28, 1971).
In this song, a woman who plants a tree, but then she dies a few years later. The story is told from the husband's perspective, who misses her terribly and is reminded of her when he sees the tree. The song has made various "worst song ever" lists as its detractors find it overly sentimental and cloying, but there are many defenders of the song as well, who find it heartfelt and moving. Here's a CNN Article
quoting a comment on this very page from one of the songs' supporters.
This was originally recorded by Bob Shane of The Kingston Trio, whose version was released about a week before Goldsboro's. Goldsboro was a more established artist, with six Top 40 US hits to his credit when he released this song. His version, with the much more elaborate production, became the hit.
In 1968 Goldsboro told NME: "I think 'Honey' is a very emotional song, but it's not like what I call a sick song, a death song. Actually what it is, very simply, is just a guy remembering little things that happened while his wife was alive and to me that's not sick at all."
For Goldsboro, this was by far his biggest hit, staying at #1 in the US for five weeks. He had his own TV variety show from 1972-1975.
Goldsboro recorded this in Nashville, Tennessee in RCA Studio B, which was known as "home of a thousand hits" and was later turned into a museum. The musicians who played on "Honey" were session pros who moved to Nashville after working at FAME studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. This included Norbert Putnam on bass, Jerry Carrigan on drums, and David Briggs on keyboards.