Hush (Billy Joe Royal song)

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Cover of the 1967 Norway single
Single by Billy Joe Royal
from the album Billy Joe Royal
featuring Hush
B-side"Watching from the Bandstand"
ReleasedSeptember 1967
GenreSwamp rock[1]
Songwriter(s)Joe South
Producer(s)Joe South
Billy Joe Royal singles chronology
"These Are Not My People"
"Storybook Children"

"Hush" is a song written by American composer and musician Joe South, for recording artist Billy Joe Royal. The song was later covered by Somebody's Image (an Australian band fronted by Russell Morris) in 1967. It reached #15. It was also covered by Deep Purple in 1968 and by Kula Shaker in 1997. Each artist had a Top 5 hit with their version.

Billy Joe Royal version[edit]

Billy Joe Royal recorded "Hush" on 12 July 1967 in Nashville with Barry Bailey, future lead guitarist for the Atlanta Rhythm Section, on guitar. Joe South, Royal's regular songwriter/producer, was travelling to Nashville with Royal and writing "Rose Garden" in the car. Royal didn't like it, so South wrote "Hush" for him while leaning on the dashboard.[2] Royal did record "Rose Garden" for his album Billy Joe Royal featuring Hush, though didn't release it as a single. In 1971, "Rose Garden" become an international hit for Lynn Anderson, and was South's most successful composition. Royal later regretted not liking the song.[3]

Although more successful than Royal's last six single releases, only two of which had ranked even low on the Billboard Hot 100, "Hush" would not afford Royal a Top 40 comeback: managing only one "top-tier" market breakout in Chicago - whose prime Top 40 station WLS would rank "Hush" as high as #5 tying the WLS hit parade peak for both Royal's 1965 career record "Down in the Boondocks" and also Deep Purple's 1968 "Hush" cover[4] - "Hush" would rise no higher on the Hot 100 than #52,[5] with a Canadian pop chart peak of #45.[6] The qualified success of "Hush" was sufficient to allow for the release of Royal's second album Billy Joe Royal featuring Hush.

"Hush" did afford Billy Joe Royal a one-off hit on the European continent, reaching #12 on the German singles chart and becoming a Top Ten hit in Belgium (#1), the Netherlands (#5) and Switzerland (#2).[7]

A promo clip for Billy Joe Royal's release of the song was filmed at the boardwalk amusement park and outskirts of an unidentified Southern beach town.

Deep Purple version[edit]

Cover of the 1968 UK single
Single by Deep Purple
from the album Shades of Deep Purple
B-side"One More Rainy Day"
  • 21 June 1968 (UK)[8]
  • July 1968 (US)
RecordedMay 1968
StudioPye, London
Songwriter(s)Joe South
Producer(s)Derek Lawrence
Deep Purple singles chronology
"Kentucky Woman"
Audio sample
Cover of the 1988 German single
Single by Deep Purple
from the album Nobody's Perfect
  • "Dead or Alive" (live)
  • "Bad Attitude" (live)
ReleasedJune 1988
Recorded26 February 1988[11]
StudioPye, London
style: blues rock,[12] hard rock[13]
Songwriter(s)Joe South
Deep Purple singles chronology
"Call of the Wild"
"King of Dreams"

The song was subsequently recorded by English hard rock band Deep Purple for their 1968 debut album Shades of Deep Purple, group member Ritchie Blackmore having heard the Billy Joe Royal original while living in Hamburg: (Ritchie Blackmore quote:) "It was a great song [which] would be a good song [for] our act, if we could come up with a different arrangement...We [recorded] the whole song in two takes."[14] The track became the group's first hit single peaking at number 4 on the Hot 100 on 21–28 September 1968,[15] number 16 in Italy in late 1968, and number 2 in Canada while going largely unnoticed in the United Kingdom. Cash Box called it a "psychedelicized reversion of the time-back Billy Joe Royal song," saying that the instrumental work and tailoring of the rock song all point to sheer force".[16] Record World described it as "a rollicking, contemporary ditty."[17]

In 1968, Deep Purple performed live on Hugh Hefner's Playboy After Dark TV series. The band opened the episode playing the instrumental "And the Address". After Hefner heard a ghost story from Jon Lord and had a guitar lesson from Ritchie Blackmore, Deep Purple performed "Hush" which is available in the Playboy After Dark -2nd Collection 2007 DVD release and the 2000 CD-reissue of the Shades of Deep Purple album.

In celebration of the band's 20th anniversary, Deep Purple re-recorded the song in 1988 for their album Nobody's Perfect. The track was released as a single and reached number 62 on the UK singles chart and number 44 on the US Hot Mainstream Rock chart.

"Hush" is one of four songs originally recorded with the band's original vocalist Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper that Deep Purple have performed with their replacements Ian Gillan and Roger Glover later on. Others are "Mandrake Root", also from Shades of Deep Purple, "Kentucky Woman", from the album The Book of Taliesyn from 1968 and "Bird Has Flown", from the album Deep Purple from 1969. The instrumental "Wring That Neck" from The Book of Taliesyn was also a regular part of the band's setlist into the early 1970s.

Other versions[edit]


1968 Deep Purple version

1988 Deep Purple version


  1. ^ Fontenot, Robert. "What Is Swamp Rock?". LiveAbout. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  2. ^ Vancouver Province 4 November 1988 "Billy Joe Pulls Himself Out of the Boondocks" by Bruce Mason p.65
  3. ^ The Tennessean 7 November 1987 "Billy Joe Royal a Little Late, But Country Stardom Arrives at Last" by Robert K. Oermann pp.1D, 2D
  4. ^ Smith, Ronald P. (2001). 'Chicago Top 40 Charts 1960-1969. Bloomington IN: Writers Club Press. p. 161. ISBN 0-595-19614-4.
  5. ^ "Billy Joe Royal – Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "Official list" (PDF). Retrieved June 28, 2020.
  7. ^ "Billy Joe Royal - Hush -". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  8. ^ Popoff, Martin (2016). The Deep Purple Family (2nd ed.). Wymer Publishing. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-908724-42-7.
  9. ^ Wiser, Carl. "Steve Morse of Deep Purple : Songwriter Interviews". Songfacts. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  10. ^ Breihan, Tom (November 15, 2022). "Bon Jovi - "You Give Love a Bad Name". The Number Ones: Twenty Chart-Topping Hits That Reveal the History of Pop Music. New York: Hachette Book Group. p. 175.
  11. ^ Gillan, Ian (2016). The Autobiography (3rd ed.). John Blake Publishing. p. 328. ISBN 978-1-786-06135-5.
  12. ^ "Deep Purple - Hush". Discogs. 1988.
  13. ^ "Deep Purple - Hush". Discogs. 1988.
  14. ^ Moseley, Willie G. (July 10, 2001). "Ritchie Blackmore". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 169.
  16. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. July 27, 1968. p. 32. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  17. ^ "Single Picks of the Week" (PDF). Record World. July 27, 1968. p. 163. Retrieved May 31, 2023.
  18. ^ "Joe South - Games People Play". Discogs. 1969.
  19. ^ "Tom – Nature Boy (1968, Vinyl)". 1968. Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c "Cover versions of Hush by Billy Joe Royal". Retrieved December 25, 2021.
  21. ^ Alan Byrne, "Thin Lizzy: Soldiers of Fortune", Firefly, 2004
  22. ^ "Captain Jack - Party Warriors - The Partyhit Collection". Discogs. February 24, 2003.