Songwriter Bobby Russell was born on April 19, 1941, in Nashville. His country-pop songwriting abilities produced several hits of the '60s and '70s. His first song to make an impact on the charts was a pop tune, "The Joker Went Wild," recorded in 1966 by teen idol Brian Hyland. Two years later Russell struck again with "Little Green Apples." It was first recorded by Roger Miller and was a Top Ten country hit in 1968, followed by O.C. Smith's version, which became a huge crossover pop record. The next release, the tearjerking "Honey" recorded by Bobby Goldsboro, hit number one on both the country and pop charts. In 1968 Russell signed to Elf Records and released his first album, Words, Music, Laughter and Tears. He stayed with the label until the following year, when he signed with the New York-based Bell Records and released the album Dial-a-Hit. In 1971 Russell moved back to Nashville and hooked up with United Artists, scoring the country-pop hit "Saturday Morning Confusion." In 1973 he signed on with Columbia and also married pop singer/actress Vicki Lawrence, who had a number one hit with Russell's composition "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia." Russell continued writing songs throughout the '80s, but by that time his glory days were behind him. He passed away on November 19, 1992, after suffering a heart attack. He was posthumously inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1994.
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