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|"Little Green Apples"|
|Single by O. C. Smith|
|from the album Hickory Holler Revisited|
|Recorded||1968 at Columbia Recording Studios, Hollywood|
|O. C. Smith singles chronology|
"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.
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 Roger Miller's "Little Green Apples". Page's version of the latter was released as a single in June 1968 reaching #11 Easy Listening and affording Page the final Hot 100 appearance of her career at #96.
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 the Hot 100, behind "Hey Jude" by the Beatles. And likewise peaked at #2 on 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.
Other notable versions
The song has been covered by the following artists and groups:
- Bobby Goldsboro on his 1968 album Honey
- Burl Ives on his 1968 album The Times They Are A-Changin'
- Tony Joe White on his 1968 album Black and White
- Frank Sinatra on his 1968 album Cycles
- Stanley Turrentine on his 1968 album Always Something There
- Dionne Warwick on her 1968 album Promises, Promises
- Johnny Mathis on his 1968 album Those Were the Days
- Glen Campbell and Bobbie Gentry on their 1968 album Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell
- Saxophonist Sonny Stitt on his 1969 album Little Green Apples
- The Temptations on their 1969 album Puzzle People
- Andy Williams on his 1969 album Happy Heart
- Bing Crosby on his 1969 album Hey Jude / Hey Bing! and also on his 1972 album Bing 'n' Basie.
- Dean Martin on his 1969 album I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am
- Tony Bennett on his 1970 album Tony Sings the Great Hits of Today!
- Ben E. King on his 1970 album Rough Edges
- Bloodstone on their 1972 self-titled album
- Vicki Lawrence on her 1973 album The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia
- Monica Zetterlund in 1969 as Gröna små äpplen, with Swedish lyrics written by ABBA's manager Stig Anderson. Both the performance and the lyrics won Swedish Grammy awards.
- Nancy Wilson on her 2004 album R.S.V.P. (Rare Songs, Very Personal)
- Robbie Williams featuring Kelly Clarkson on his 2013 album Swings Both Ways.
- "Biography". Jerry Fuller's official website. Archived from the original on April 26, 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- Billboard vol 80 #13 (March 30, 1968) p.51
- "Chart appearances for the song "Little Green Apples"". the database of popular music. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- Living the Rock 'N' Roll Dream : The Adventures of Buzz Cason; Hal Leonard Corp Milwaukee WI (2004) ISBN 0-634-06672-2; p.192
- "The Hot 100: the week of October 26, 1968". Billboard. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 248. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
- "O. C. Smith, 65, Singer-Minister Who Had a Grammy Award Hit". The New York Times. November 27, 2001. Retrieved June 13, 2009.
- Kent, David (2005). Australian Chart Book 1940–1969 (doc). Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-44439-5.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Roger Miller Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
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- "Patti Page Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
- "Patti Page Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
- "O.C. Smith Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
- "O.C. Smith Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
- "O.C. Smith Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
- "Mexico Inglés Airplay". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. March 1, 2015. Retrieved September 19, 2013. (subscription required)
- "Billboard Top 100 - 1968". Archived from the original on 2010-11-25. Retrieved 2011-01-05.
- Graff, Gary (September 12, 2013). "Lily Allen duets with Robbie Williams on his new album 'Swings Both Ways'". NME. IPC Media. Retrieved September 13, 2013.