Honey (Bobby Goldsboro song)

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Single by Bobby Goldsboro
from the album Honey
A-side "Honey"
B-side "Danny"
Released February 17, 1968[1]
Format Vinyl
Recorded January 30, 1968[1]
Genre Country
Length 3:55
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Bobby Russell
Producer(s) Bob Montgomery
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Bobby Goldsboro singles chronology
"Autumn of My Life"
"The Straight Life"

"Honey," also known as "Honey (I Miss You)," is a song written by Bobby Russell. He first produced it with former Kingston Trio member Bob Shane. Then he gave it to American singer Bobby Goldsboro, who recorded it for his 1968 album of the same name, originally titled Pledge of Love.

The song's narrator mourns his deceased lover, beginning with him looking at a tree in their garden, remembering how "it was just a twig" on the day she planted it (with his disapproval). This single about the loss of a loved one hit No. 1 the week after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis.


It was released as a single in the U.S. in 1968 and spent five weeks at No. 1 the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart, from April 7 to May 11 (the 200th song to do so), and three weeks atop Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart. It was preceded on the Billboard Hot 100 by "(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding and was followed by Archie Bell & the Drells' "Tighten Up." It was Goldsboro's only No. 1 hit on the Pop Singles and Country Singles charts and it was his first song to top the Adult Contemporary chart. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song for 1968.[2]

"Honey" reached No. 2 on the UK Singles Chart and a re-release of the single in the United Kingdom in 1975 (see 1975 in music) reached No. 2 again. In Australia, it spent four weeks at No. 1 on the ARIA Charts, replacing The Beatles' "Lady Madonna", and was the No. 6 song of 1968.

The story behind "Honey"[edit]

One day in early 1968, Bobby Goldsboro was sitting at home in his apartment in Nashville, Tennessee, when Larry Henley (the falsetto singer from the group The Newbeats) walked in to talk to him. Larry Henley had said that he had just heard this nice new song that Bobby Russell had played for him. Bobby Russell's office at Acuff-Rose Music was right across the street from where Goldsboro lived. So they went over to Bobby Russell's office. Russell told them the song was called "Honey" and played it on a guitar for Henley and Goldsboro. At the end of the song, Henley said it was a great song. Goldsboro later remembered he thought that the song just "didn't do anything for him", and he walked back to his apartment.

A few weeks later, he was with his new producer, Bob Montgomery (his producer had been Jack Gold, who produced "Little Things," "See the Funny Little Clown," and most of his pre-'68 songs). Montgomery and Goldsboro were sitting around and thinking about new songs that he could sing. Then, in an ironic twist of fate, Montgomery took him over to Bobby Russell's office again, and the three were brainstorming until at last Goldsboro said "How about that ... song you played for me the other day?" Russell said, "You mean 'Honey'?" Goldsboro replied "Yes, I think so." So Russell played the song for Montgomery and Goldsboro, with another guitar, and it just "floored them both." Goldsboro was delighted. He asked Russell if he could try singing the song as a possibility of a new hit. However, Russell told him Bob Shane, from the group The Kingston Trio already had recorded the song. It was already getting a little bit of airplay on radio stations. Russell said to Bobby Goldsboro that it was in top 20 in the music charts down in Texas. Russell told Goldsboro that he could have a try at the song if Shane's record flopped. Nothing happened for Shane, so Bobby Goldsboro recorded "Honey," and it became a #1 hit in April 1968.[3][4][5][6] Russell recorded the song himself in 1968 on his first album, Words, Music, Laughter and Tears.

Bobby Russell wrote several other songs, including O.C. Smith's "Little Green Apples" and Vicki Lawrence's "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia". From June 1972 until November 1974 he was married to Lawrence (who played Mama Thelma Harper on the television sitcom Mama's Family in the 1980s). He died of a heart attack on November 19, 1992, age 52 in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Larry Henley later wrote the song "The Wind Beneath My Wings". He died on December 18, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee, at age 77, from Alzheimer's disease and from Parkinson's disease.[7] The song's producer, Bob Montgomery, had died of Parkinson's two weeks prior to Henley, on December 4.[8]


The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the song frequently appears on "worst songs of all-time" lists,[9] and in April 2006, Todd Leopold of CNN named it the "Worst Song of All Time."[6] In the 1970s when radio DJ Tony Blackburn was going through his divorce with his wife Tessa Wyatt, he regularly played "Honey" and would comment live on air about how much he missed his wife.[10] This was parodied in the "mockumentary" Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era.

Cover versions[edit]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1968) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 1
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Preceded by
"(Sittin' on) the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
April 13, 1968 (five weeks)
Succeeded by
"Tighten Up" by Archie Bell & the Drells
Preceded by
"Young Girl"
by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap
Cash Box Top 100 singles
April 1, 1968
Succeeded by
"Tighten Up" by Archie Bell & the Drells
Preceded by
"Love Is Blue" by Paul Mauriat
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single
May 4, 1968 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" by Hugo Montenegro
Preceded by
"I Wanna Live" by Glen Campbell
Billboard Hot Country Singles number-one single
May 25-June 8, 1968
Succeeded by
"I Wanna Live" by Glen Campbell
Preceded by
"Wild Weekend" by Bill Anderson
RPM Country Tracks number-one single
June 1-June 8, 1968

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "You've come a long way Bobby.", Billboard, October 5, 1974. p. 62
  2. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1968
  3. ^ Summarized from liner notes by Steve Kolanjian from "The Best Of Bobby Goldsboro: Honey by Bobby Goldsboro," September 1991, issued by Capitol-EMI Records, available on CD).
  4. ^ Bickhart, Jim (October 5, 1974). "Watching Bobby Grow". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 86 (40): BG-4. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  5. ^ Yap, Timothy (December 18, 2014). "Writer of "Wind Beneath My Wings" Larry Henley Dies". hallels.com. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Leopold, Todd (April 21, 2006). "The worst song of all time". CNN.com. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  7. ^ Yap, Timothy (December 18, 2014). "Writer of "Wind Beneath My Wings" Larry Henley Dies". hallels.com. Retrieved December 19, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Bob Montgomery, Songwriter for Buddy Holly, Dies at 77". Billboard. Associated Press. December 4, 2014. Retrieved April 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "My, my, some rock 'n' roll should die". Norwich Bulletin (Cincinnati Enquirer). February 6, 2001. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ Ian Burrell (20 April 2004). "It's poptastic to be back". The Independent. 

External links[edit]