Tupelo Honey (song)

"Tupelo Honey" is a popular song written by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison and the title song from his 1971 album, Tupelo Honey. The title derives from an expensive, mild-tasting tupelo honey produced in the southeastern United States. Released as a single in 1972, it reached number 47 on the U.S. pop chart.

"Tupelo Honey"
Single by Van Morrison
from the album Tupelo Honey
B-side"Starting a New Life"
Format7", 45rpm
GenreCountry soul, soft rock
LabelWarner Bros.
Songwriter(s)Van Morrison
Producer(s)Van Morrison, Ted Templeman
Van Morrison singles chronology
"Wild Night"
"Tupelo Honey"
"(Straight to Your Heart) Like a Cannonball"

The melody, which has a catchy, soulful feel to it, was borrowed from Morrison's song "Crazy Love", released the previous year.[1] This same melody was later used by Van Morrison on the song, "Why Must I Always Explain?", on his 1991 double album, Hymns to the Silence.[2] Morrison has played "Tupelo Honey" in a medley with both "Crazy Love" and "Why Must I Always Explain?" in concert.[3]


In an Uncut review for the album, David Cavanagh remarks: "Building upwards from a gentle flute refrain, and then pushed forwards by mighty fills from jazz drummer Connie Kay who played on Astral Weeks, 'Tupelo Honey' is sung by a man who has grabbed us by the lapels and won't let go until we understand precisely what he's experiencing. On an album where the vocals are exultant to say the least, this song sees Morrison use larynx, diaphragm, teeth and tongue to find new ways of enunciating the lines 'she's as sweet as Tupelo honey' and 'she's all right with me', seemingly in ever-increasing adoration."[4]

Bob Dylan (who performed the song with Morrison during a concert tour in the 1990s) once remarked that "'Tupelo Honey' has always existed and that Morrison was merely the vessel and the earthly vehicle for it".[5] The Allmusic reviewer commented (echoing Bob Dylan): "Morrison's lyrics, singing, and phrasing are so free and natural on the country-soul song that it is indeed hard to imagine that the song, and the original recording of 'Tupelo Honey', has not always been there."[5]

Other releases

A duet with Morrison and Brian Kennedy appears on the 1994 live album A Night in San Francisco. Another duet with Bobby Bland is one of the tracks on the 2007 compilation album The Best of Van Morrison Volume 3. In 2007, the original version of "Tupelo Honey" was remastered and included as one of the hits on Morrison's compilation album, Still on Top - The Greatest Hits.

Morrison has released two filmed performances of the song: "Tupelo Honey" as performed in concert in 1979 was one of the songs on Morrison's first video Van Morrison in Ireland that was released In 1981. A live performance from Morrison's 1980 appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival is featured on the 2006 DVD Live At Montreux 1980/1974


"Tupelo Honey" is featured on the end credits of the 1997 movie Ulee's Gold starring Peter Fonda. On the sitcom Friends, Ross expresses that he thinks the song to be the most romantic ever.[6]

Bruce Springsteen's "Racing in the Street" is influenced structurally by the Van Morrison song.[7]

The female Asian elephant calf born to Tess on 3 October 2010, at the Houston Zoo was named Tupelo in honor of this song.[8]


Personnel on original release


Chart (1972)[12] Peak
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[13] 35
U.S. Pop Singles 47


  1. Brooks. In Search of Van Morrison, p.62
  2. "Van Morrison: Keep It Simple: Music Review". slantmagazine.com. Retrieved 5 December 2009.
  3. Becker, Gunter. "Van Morrison song database". ivan.vanomatic.de. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  4. "Van Morrison - Tupelo Honey". Uncut. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  5. "Tupelo Honey: allmusic review". Allmusic. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  6. "The one with the Princess Leia Fantasy". friendscafe.org. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  7. Marcus. In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992, pp. 45–49
  8. Russo, Kelly (25 October 2010). "She's as sweet as Tupelo Honey". houstonzooblogs. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  9. "allmusic: Tupelo Honey". allmusic.com. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
  10. "Review of Lake of Fire at Musical Discoveries". musicaldiscoveries.com. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  11. "Into the Mystic: An Instrumental Tribute to Van Morrison". dailyvault.com. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
  12. "Allmusic: Van Morrison billboard singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 7 October 2009.
  13. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5306." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 5 February 1972. Retrieved 5 January 2019.


  • Brooks, Ken (1999). In Search of Van Morrison, Agenda, ISBN 1-899882-95-2
  • Marcus, Greil (1999). In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977-1992, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-44577-5
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