Originally recorded by Roger Miller (US #39/C&W #6/UK #19 1968).
Other hit versions by Patti Page (US #96/MOR #11 1968), O.C. Smith (US #2/R&B #2 1968).
From the wiki: “Bobby Russell (‘Honey’) wrote ‘Little Green Apples’ for Roger Miller to record and Miller made the first recording of the song on January 24, 1968 in a session at the Columbia Recording Studio, Nashville. According to Buzz Cason, Russell wrote both the ‘Little Green Apples’ and ‘Honey’ as ‘an experiment in composing – anticipating a potential market for true-to-life story songs … with more ‘meat’ in the lyrics [than was] standard’ for current hits.
“Released as the lead single from A Tender Look at Love, ‘Little Green Apples”‘afforded Miller his final Top Ten C&W hit at #6 and also his final Top 40 crossover reaching #39 on the Billboard Hot 100.
“Patti Page recorded ‘Little Green Apples’ for her C&W-oriented album Gentle on My Mind whose title cut shared the Easy Listening Top Ten with Miller’s ‘Little Green Apples’. Page’s version of ‘Little Green Apples’ was released as a single in June 1968, affording Page a #11 MOR hit and the final Hot 100 appearance of her career at #96.”
“‘Little Green Apples’ was issued as the B-side to O.C. Smith’s second single (‘Main Street Mission’) in September 1968 from Smith’s album Hickory Holler Revisited. But, as Buzz Cason recalls, ‘a disc jockey in Detroit played the album cut [by O. C. Smith] of ‘Little Green Apples’ one morning’ and that single spin triggered ‘such a reaction and rash of phone requests [as to] prompt [the deejay] to call the head of promotion for Columbia in New York.’
“‘Little Green Apples’ replaced the under-performing ‘Main Street Mission’ as the album’s promotional single (it peaked at an underwhelming #105, “bubbling under” the Hot 100), resulting in a #2 hit for Smith on both of Billboard’s Hot 100 and R&B charts. It would also win for its writer Russell the 1969 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and, because of Miller’s success on the Country Singles chart, the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.”
Patti Page, “Little Green Apples” (1968):
O.C. Smith, “Little Green Apples” (1968):