About The Song

Background

“Honey (Open That Door)” is a country song written by the legendary songwriter Mel Tillis. While the exact date of composition remains unclear, Tillis himself recorded the song in 1962 for his album “Hideaway Heart.” It didn’t find much chart success at the time. However, the song received a new lease on life over two decades later when Ricky Skaggs released his version in 1985 on the album “Live in London.”

Skaggs’ rendition became a surprise hit, reaching No. 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It showcased Skaggs’ powerful vocals and his band’s tight bluegrass instrumentation. The song’s success helped solidify Skaggs’ position as a rising star in country music during the mid-1980s.

Musical Style

“Honey (Open That Door)” falls squarely within the realm of traditional bluegrass, a subgenre of country music known for its acoustic instrumentation and focus on vocal harmonies. The song features a driving banjo picking pattern, a steady mandolin rhythm, and a prominent fiddle melody. Skaggs’ soaring vocals take center stage, delivering the protagonist’s pleas with a heartfelt sincerity.

The overall tempo is brisk, creating a sense of urgency that reflects the narrator’s desperate situation. However, there are brief moments of slowing down for emphasis, particularly during the pleading lines “Honey, honey, watchin’ over that door” and “Honey, honey, won’t you open that door.” These shifts in tempo add emotional depth to the performance.

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Lyrics

The lyrics of “Honey (Open That Door)” paint a vivid picture of a man locked out of his home, pleading with his partner, “Honey,” to let him in. The narrator seems to be intoxicated, evidenced by lines like “I went right down to see old Bob/ Thought he was my friend” and the landlord’s response, “The police turned mean on me.”

Despite his state, the man expresses remorse and a desire to reconcile. Lines like “Honey, if you don’t open that door, I’m gonna rock on away from here” and “Honey, honey, what you watchin’ over that door/ This is your sweet daddy, don’t you love me no more?” showcase a mix of frustration and longing. The repeated pleas of “Honey (Open That Door)” become the song’s central refrain, hammering home the desperation of the situation.

The lack of response from “Honey” throughout the song leaves the listener to speculate on the cause of the conflict. Did the narrator do something wrong? Is there a deeper issue at play? This ambiguity adds to the song’s emotional weight and allows listeners to connect with the story on a personal level.

Cultural Impact

“Honey (Open That Door)” became a signature song for Ricky Skaggs, often included in his live performances and compilations. The song’s success helped introduce a younger generation to the sounds of traditional bluegrass and the evocative storytelling of classic country music.

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The song’s relatable theme of relationship struggles resonated with audiences. The image of a man locked out, pleading for forgiveness, tapped into a universal experience of longing and reconciliation. “Honey (Open That Door)” also resonated with themes of addiction and its impact on relationships, a topic that continues to be relevant today.

The song’s cultural impact extends beyond country music. It has been covered by artists from various genres, including rockabilly singer Wanda Jackson and bluegrass group Alison Krauss & Union Station. This widespread adoption speaks to the song’s enduring appeal and its ability to transcend genre boundaries.

Conclusion

“Honey (Open That Door)” stands as a testament to the power of traditional bluegrass music. Mel Tillis’s poignant lyrics and Ricky Skaggs’ powerful vocals combine to create a timeless story of love, loss, and the desperate hope for reconciliation. The song’s cultural impact continues to be felt, reminding listeners of the enduring strength of classic country music and its ability to connect with audiences on a deeply emotional level.

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Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

Honey, honey, honey, won’t you open that door?This is your sweet daddy, don’t you love me no more?It’s cold outside, let me sleep on the floorHoney, won’t you open that door?
I honky tonked around DallasI got in a poker gameSomebody musta been a cheatin’I lost everything but my name
Well, I walked halfway to MemphisI finally got back homeBut I’d been better off where I was‘Cause here’s where things went wrong
Honey, honey, honey, won’t you open that door?This is your sweet daddy, don’t you love me no more?It’s cold outside, let me sleep on the floorHoney, won’t you open that door?
I went right down to see old BobI thought he was my friendThe landlord said that Bob’s not hereThe police done hauled him in
I ran right back to little honey’s houseI got me a rockin’ chairNow, honey if you don’t open that doorI’m gonna rock on away from here
Honey, honey, honey, won’t you open that door?This is your sweet daddy, don’t you love me no more?It’s cold outside, let me sleep on the floorHoney, won’t you open that door?
Honey, honey, honey, won’t you open that door?This is your sweet daddy, don’t you love me no more?It’s cold outside, let me sleep on the floorHoney, won’t you open that door?
Honey (honey)Honey (honey)Honey (honey)Honey (honey)Now, honey won’t you open that door?

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