"Bower was content stopping pucks for a living and never had any intention to cut a record. But that was until songwriter Chris Young visited Maple Leaf Gardens during the 1965-66 NHL season to see if any members of the Toronto Maple Leafs wanted to help him out on a couple of songs he’d written.
Bower, never trained as a singer, agreed to lend his vocals to the songs after Young told him the record proceeds would be donated to charity.
Not long after, Bower, accompanied by a chorus of kids, including his own son, Johnny Jr., collectively known as Johnny Bower and Little John with The Rinky-Dinks, gathered around the microphone at a Toronto studio, to record Honky the Christmas Goose and Banjo the Mule.
The end result was a success. Sales exceeded 40,000 which, at the time, made Honky the Christmas Goose the biggest-selling Canadian-made single ever and Bower didn’t pocket a dime. All proceeds went to charity.
The song debuted on the top-50 CHUM radio chart on Dec. 20, 1965 at number 42 against some heavy competition as four lads from Liverpool were also climbing the charts with two songs of their own. The Beatles’ We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper were both tied at position nine for that week.
Bower’s song made it all the way to number 29 on the Canadian charts and became a memorable piece of sports and pop culture history."