Bobby Goldsboro - Honey
Often times, I will notice how little people pay attention to song lyrics. I am of course guilty of this too, and will discover just how poetic a song can be after years of listening to it. The natural result from this is that I overlook a lot of great songs. When I first heard ‘Honey’, I was on summer break from high school in a middle-of-nowhere town working long hours at my parents restaurant. Suffice it to say, the song had my full attention.
At first, Bobby Goldsboro's ‘Honey’ sounds like any number of oldies that no one listens to anymore. The melody is non-descript and the sentiment falls somewhere between a love song or just-maybe a breakup song. The singer recounts line after line of cherished events in a loving relationship so specific it bleeds sincerity. With most breakup songs, the lost memories are usually intense and about the relationship. Instead, Bobby sings about his ‘Honey’ and remembers her fondly for the little things in a relationship. By the end, you realize the song isn’t about a passionate breakup of a young romance, but of the loss of someone in a committed relationship. The way the track shifts from a break up to a commemoration song is subtle, but powerful. By the end, Bobby threads back to the first lyrics, where he starts to recount the same memories over and over highlighting the tailspin of disbelief mixed with sadness and fond memories.
'Honey' was a huge success in 1968 sitting at No. 1 for five weeks. The sombre song of life and death fell a week after the death of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination which undoubtedly contributed to the songs success. Though I fell in love with the sappy tune, it's quite clear that reception of the song hasn't quite been unanimous. Despite the perceived misogyny and lame sappiness, the song's sentiment isn't lost on me.
*** As a weird post-script, I wanted to mention that I had written this entry a week before the loss of my grandfather. It is a strange coincidence that this song about life and death happened to be scheduled on the same week that he passed away.