Willie Nelson wrote the film's signature song not long after signing on for the picture. On a plane flight, Nelson was asked by executive producer Sydney Pollack, who had just directed Nelson in The Electric Horseman (1979), to write a theme tune for the film about a singer's life on the road. Reportedly, Nelson apparently wrote the song, which features the beat of a train, on a plane paper barf bag.
First leading role in a major motion picture for singer turned actor Willie Nelson who was 47 years old when he debuted in a starring role in this movie. This picture followed Nelson's feature film debut in a supporting role in The Electric Horseman (1979) released the previous year.
There is no song on the soundtrack called "Honeysuckle Rose". However, it is the name of a 1928 song composed by Fats Waller with lyrics written by Andy Razaf. Waller's 1934 recording of it was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.
Reportedly, the character Buck Bonham that Willie Nelson played is considered to have borne more than a passing similarity to the actual Willie Nelson the person in real life. This duality was also displayed in Nelson's character Buck Bonham's life experience in the film's story. This is reflected in the movie's tagline that states: "For 20 years, he's been singing to the country. But he never figured he'd be living his own love songs.".
The film got Oscar nominated receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Music - Original Song for Willie Nelson's ballad "On the Road Again", the title of which is also one of the movie's aka titles. Nelson's nom for this tune to date [June 2013] still remains Nelson's only ever Oscar nomination.
The song "On the Road Again" sung by Willie Nelson from this film went to No. #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 whilst the "Honeysuckle Rose" album went to No. #11 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart but chart-topped to the No. #1 spot on Billboard's top country albums. The song "On the Road Again" got Oscar nominated and won a Grammy Award for Best Country Song. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine scored the song at the No. #471 rank on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time whilst in 2011, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. The tune was Nelson's his sixth No. #1 hit as a solo performer and his ninth No. #1 Country & Western hit overall. The track has frequently been used on various soundtracks for films and television series and is considered a music classic.
According to Allmusic, "The soundtrack to Honeysuckle Rose is an anomaly in the genre. It is really a collection of songs by Willie Nelson and his Family band as well as a host of friends like Jody Payne, Johnny Gimble, Amy Irving, Hank Cochran, Jeannie Seely, Kenneth Threadgill, Dyan Cannon and Emmylou Harris, all of it set in a concert-like atmosphere and performed live in front of an audience.".