Honky Tonk Angel (Cliff Richard song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Honky Tonk Angel"
Single by Cliff Richard
A-side "Honky Tonk Angel"
B-side "(Wouldn't You Know It) Got Myself a Girl"
Format 7-inch single
Genre Country
Label EMI
Writer(s) Troy Seals
Denny Rice
Producer(s) Bruce Welch
Hank Marvin

"Honky Tonk Angel" is a 1975 single recorded by Cliff Richard, which was withdrawn when the singer discovered that 'honky-tonk angel' is an American slang term for a prostitute.[1]


The song, which was written by Troy Seals and Denny Rice, was originally recorded by country music artist Conway Twitty and released as a single in the United States in January 1974. One of Cliff Richard's producers, Bruce Welch, heard the song and considered that it would make a good 'comeback' single after disappointing chart performances in 1973 and 1974.[1] A version was then arranged for Cliff Richard by John Farrar, with a string arrangement by Nick Ingman.


While recording the song, Cliff Richard incorrectly assumed that the song's lyrics were about a piano player, unaware that the phrase 'honky-tonk angel' was used in America as a synonym for 'prostitute'.[2] Some of his fans and friends, aware of the true meaning of the song's title, expressed surprise that he had chosen to cover the song, given his Christian beliefs. When the singer himself learnt the meaning of the slang term, he decided to make a television announcement about the withdrawal of the record and refused to promote it, even though the single was expected to perform well.[1] During his 50th Anniversary tour in 2008, however, he revealed that he could not remember why he banned the song so he decided to reprise it.

Release information[edit]

The single was originally released in September 1975 with the B-Side "(Wouldn't You Know It) Got Myself a Girl". Since its withdrawal, "Honky Tonk Angel" has appeared as a bonus track on the CD release of I'm Nearly Famous (2001) and on two official compilations: The Singles Collection (EMI, 2002) and Lost & Found (From the Archives) (EMI, 2009).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Ewbank, Tim; Hildred, Stafford (2008). Cliff: An Intimate Portrait of a Living Legend. Random House. pp. 229–230. 
  2. ^ Sandall, Robert (21 March 1993). "The straight man". The Sunday Times.