Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Honey (I Miss You)

First recorded and released by Bob Shane (1968).
Hit version by Bobby Goldsboro (US #1/C&W #1/UK #2/CAN #1/IRE #1/AUS #1/NZ #1 1968 |UK #2 1975).

From the wiki: “I’ve yet to find a song with so many ‘Bobs’ involved in its writing, production and promotion. Keep count. Everyone is named ‘Bob’ or ‘Bobby’.

“‘Honey’, also known as ‘Honey (I Miss You)’, was written by Bobby Russell who also produced the first recording of it with former Kingston Trio singer Bob Shane. Russell would wind up passing the song along to Bobby Goldsboro’s manager, Bob Montgomery, but with the proviso that any Goldsboro recording could not be released without Russell’s approval, and not until Shane’s single had finished its chart run. As events then unfolded, Shane’s single wound up not being well-promoted by his label (Decca), to Russell’s great consternation.

“Both singles wound up being released within one week of each other. Montgomery recalls being advised by a promotions man at Decca, Bob Holiday, to call Russell. ‘If you call Bobby [Russell] right now, he’ll tell you to go ahead and release Goldsboro’s record because he’s mad at Decca over something.’ Montgomery called Russell to ask his permission and Russell is reported to have angrily replied ‘I don’t give a s*** what you do.’

“Goldboro’s single was rush-released on February 17, 1968, and debuted at #64 on the Billboard Hot 100 the week of March 23, 1968 … the same week Shane’s single debuted “bubbling under” at #114. By April 13, Goldsboro’s ‘Honey’ was the most popular song in the U.S. It spent the next five weeks at #1. Meanwhile, Shane’s ‘Honey’ never got higher than #104 and made its final chart appearance the week of April 27, 1968.

“The Top-10 run in the Hot 100 for ‘Honey’ (from April 6 to June 8) was bookmarked by two calamitous events. ‘Honey’ first reached the Top-10 the week of the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination at the beginning of April, 1968, and ended the week of the assassination of Robert Kennedy in early June, 1968. No other Hot 100 entry in 1968 had a Top-10 run (including its five-weeks at #1) that spanned that same interval. ‘Honey’ reached #2 on the UK Singles Chart and a re-release of the single in the United Kingdom in 1975 also reached #2.

“The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that the song frequently appears on ‘worst songs of all-time’ lists and, in April 2006, Todd Leopold of CNN named it the ‘Worst Song of All Time.’ In the 1970s. when UK radio DJ Tony Blackburn was going through his divorce with his wife, Tessa Wyatt, which left him inconsolable and sobbing on air, he regularly played ‘Honey’ – later parodied in the ‘mockumentary’ Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era.

“Regardless, ‘Honey’ turned out to be the top-selling song of 1968 not only in the U.S. but worldwide, more popular even than the Beatles’ ‘Hey Jude’. ‘Honey’ became the fastest-selling single in United Artists history – a million copies sold in the first three weeks. ‘Honey’ was also awarded Song of the Year in 1968 by the Country Music Association.”

Bobby Goldsboro, “Honey” (1968):

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