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.
“‘Little Green Apples’ was issued as the B-side to O.C. Smith’s second single (‘Main Street Mission’) from Smith’s 1968 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 single, 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 the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.”
Patti Page, “Little Green Apples” (1968):
O.C. Smith, “Little Green Apples” (1968):