Little Green Apples

Released September 1968
Format 7″
Recorded 1968 at Columbia Recording Studios, Hollywood
Genre R&B, soul
Length 3:58
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Bobby Russell
Producer(s) Jerry Fuller



“Little Green Apples” is a song written by Bobby Russell. Originally written for and released by American recording artist Roger Miller in 1968, it was also released as a single by American recording artists Patti Page and O. C. Smith in separate occasions that same year. Miller’s version became a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and on the UK Singles Chart, while Page’s version became her last Hot 100 entry and Smith’s version became a No. 2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song earned Russell two Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Country Song. In 2013, “Little Green Apples” was covered by English recording artist Robbie Williams featuring American recording artist Kelly Clarkson, which became a top 40 hit in Mexico.

According to Buzz Cason, who partnered Bobby Russell in the Nashville-based Rising Sons music publishing firm, Russell wrote both the songs “Honey” and “Little Green Apples” 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. Russell 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 Columbia Recording Studio Nashville produced by Jerry Kennedy. Released as the lead single from the album 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 Hot 100 in Billboard. In the UK Miller’s “Little Green Apples” reached #19 in the spring of 1968 – when it also reached #46 in Australia – and in the spring of 1969 the track returned to the UK chart reaching #39.

O. C. Smith had recorded “Little Green Apples” at Columbia Studios LA for Hickory Holler Revisited, the parent album of his Top 40 hit “Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp”. The track “Main Street Mission” was issued as the follow-up single, but as Buzz Cason recalls “a disc jockey in Detroit played the album cut [by O. C. Smith] of ‘Little Green Apples’ one morning”. That single spin triggered “such a reaction and rash of phone requests as to prompt [the deejay] to call Steve Popovich, head of promotion for Columbia in New York City”, and “Little Green Apples” replaced “Main Street Mission” as Smith’s current single. Smith’s version was a #2 hit on both the Hot 100 and the R&B chart in Billboard and was certified Gold for domestic sales of one million units. The song won its composer Bobby Russell the 1969 Grammy Award for Song of the Year and the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia