Honey Don't Leave L.A.

Album: JT (1977)
Charted: 61
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Songfacts®:

  • The third single from the JT album, this is one of the few original songs Taylor recorded but didn't write. It was composed by his guitarist, Danny Kortchmar, who would later write or co-write many of Don Henley's hits. In our interview with Kortchmar, he told the story:

    "Some of it's real. I was going out with a woman and she did leave for the South of France with her boyfriend. I thought I was cooler than he was, and that she should have stuck around and hung out with me instead. So that was kind of a big ego trip.

    Believe me, I made myself look like the good guy in that situation, but that's what songwriters do. But really, I took something that kind of happened and I blew it up and made it into that song, made it more romantic and interesting as I wrote the tune."
  • Most of the musicians who performed on the JT album also backed him on the subsequent tour, including Waddy Wachtel on guitar, David Sanborn on sax, and Lee Sklar on bass. This song's writer, Danny Kortchmar, was also on the tour, which gave Taylor a chance to poke some fun at him when introducing the song. Taylor got a kick out of how Kortchmar's girl not only left the country, but left the country to get away from him, a story that was always punctuated by an incredulous look from Kortchmar.

    For Taylor, this song meant an opportunity to sing an upbeat tune about someone else's life, which helped balance the very personal songs in his setlist.
  • This song took a lot of pressure off Taylor, who was in deep in the cycle of recording and touring, which demanded a constant flow of new songs. When Kortchmar approached him with this track, he was thrilled to get a single-worthy song that he didn't have to write.

    There was another factor as well. "James doesn't really write a whole lot of Rock & Roll," Kortchmar told us. "He has written some really great Rock & Roll songs, but this one was something I guess he felt would be good on his album. Peter Asher agreed with him, and away we went."

    Peter Asher produced the JT album and helped establish Taylor's signature sound. Asher was half of the duo Peter & Gordon, who had a transatlantic #1 with "A World Without Love." He is one of the most successful and acclaimed producers of his time, with Grammy wins for Producer of the Year in 1978 and 1990.

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