Writers Workshop: “Honey”

You might already know the theory that I have about Bobby Russell’s song "Honey," Bobby Goldsboro’s #1 hit from 1968.

It’s sappy and overly sentimental, but I kind of liked it when I was 12. It was kind of a guilty pleasure (though I’ve always said that there’s no such thing). I had the music in a songbook that I played from on occasion (did the vocal and everything). I just always thought it was just a nice, sweet tune about a young woman who was maybe a little immature, but was a sweet girl, the kind a guy might like to marry.

Since I’ve been doing this blog, I’ve done recreations of radio station surveys, playing the Top Ten records from a random radio station in the United states, Canada, or elsewhere for a date close to the day’s date. Tuesday, for example, I recreated the Top Ten from WKOZ in Kosciusko, Mississippi from March 29, 1979. Anyway, a few years ago, I chose a survey from 1968, and "Honey" was in the Top Ten.

I listened to the song, and suddenly something didn’t sound right. Maybe it was the line "It would sure embarrass her when I’d come home from working late, ’cause I would know/That she’d been sitting there and crying over some sad and silly late late show." Or the line toward the end "I came home unexpectedly and caught her crying needlessly in the middle of the day/And it was in the early spring, when flowers bloom and robins sing, she went away."

Like a lot of people, I’ve dealt with depression. I’ve taken Welbutrin for a number of years now. Knowing what depression is like, I realized that Honey was likely suffering from it. Then, in the last verse, it says "One day when I was not at home, when she was there and all alone, the angels came."

Now, maybe I’m being crazy and a little overdramatic and my mind is working too hard, but that sounds to me like she committed suicide.

It’s still a lovely song, and the singer who’s telling the story is no doubt sad ("Now all I have is memories of Honey, and I wake up nights and call her name… Now my life’s an empty stage, where Honey lived and Honey played, and love grew up"). But, darn it, I wish I hadn’t realized that…

The prompt: Tell us about a song that you loved as a kid that hits different as an adult now that you can fully process the lyrics.

27 thoughts on “Writers Workshop: “Honey”

  1. I don’t know anyone who has not been depressed at one point in their lives. When a person suffers from depression, it’s a whe new ball game and this song truly showcases what this girl us dealing with and succumbs to. It also deals with the loved one who can’t do anything for her. It’s a sad song.


    1. Regardless of whether you think she was terminally ill or seriously depressed and suicidal, I find it hard to believe that any man could be that oblivious to his wife’s condition. I mean, if Mary starts coughing or has a mishap in the kitchen or whatever, I’m worried as hell that something’s terribly wrong. I drive her crazy sometimes, but I don’t want anything to happen to her.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. it makes perfect sense and I think you are probably right. so sad. I used to think she had a terminal illness of some sort but hadn’t shared it with him, though your theory seems more likely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believed the terminal illness theory, too, but there are just too many signs of depression, including the excuses she makes for why she’s crying (“it’s just that movie I watched last night…”) I should try and get in touch with Bobby Russell, the guy who wrote the song, and ask him.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. The Wikipedia entry has a number of scenarios for what they were throwing off the bridge (a ring, a fetus…) That’s a hell of a song, and Bobbie was one of the women who helped usher me into puberty…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw it the same way, but when I got to thinking about it, it didn’t seem right. I can’t figure a man would be so oblivious to his wife’s fatal disease, something that tends to drag on and on…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not so sure, John. Some people can be remarkably unobservant, and some people are very good at concealing their health conditions.

        That said, it could never happen in my house. If I so much as oversleep (something that almost never happens, because I’m such an insomniac), my husband panics. The last time I overslept he actually came in and woke me up because he was afraid there was something wrong. I felt like busting him in the chops, but I restrained myself, resolving instead to take it as an indication that he really doesn’t want to live without me.


        1. Oh, I believe both that someone can be remarkably unobservant and another can be very good at hiding ill health. I can see Honey having a congenital heart issue and dying suddenly of that, and, not being a psychologist, I wouldn’t know if the tears were caused by the heart condition. I know that Mom got very emotional and depressive shortly before she died… Interesting thought….

          Liked by 2 people

You can use Markdown in your comments. Thanks for your comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s