Tribute to the Best Trucking Songs of All Time
By Heather Hogeland & Kim Grimm
If you have been out here on the road for a lot of years, chances are you can remember when some of the great old trucking songs were playing on the radio. All the while those steel belts on your tall tires were humming right along with them on the pavement throughout the night!
January 8, 2016, Red Simpson passed away at the age of 81. He had several trucking hits and one of his favorites was “I’m A Truck”. He sang about the fact “there’d be no truck drivers if it wasn’t for us trucks”. “Roll, Truck, Roll” and “Diesel Smoke, Dangerous Curves” are a couple of his other popular trucking hits. He joined Junior Brown in 1995 and together they recorded “Semi Crazy” and “Nitro Express”. There were so many country songs back ‘in the day’ dedicated to our profession that we would be remiss if we didn’t bring them to mind again. Some of you may be unaware of or, have forgotten about, these great songs. Maybe you’ll want to give them a listen or get ‘em out, dust ‘em off and play ‘em once more!
There are still some old songs that bring back memories every time I crank up my radio and go trucking through the night. “White Line Fever” by Merle Haggard, “Phantom 309” Red Sovine, “Me & Bobby McGee” Roger Miller, “Truck Drivin’ Man” Terry Fell. How about “Girl on the Billboard” by Del Reeves, “Six Days on the Road” Dave Dudley, “Big Wheels in the Moonlight” Dan Seals, “Roll On” Alabama, or “Wolf Creek Pass” and “Convoy” by CW McCall?
“Give Me 40 Acres” by The Willis Brothers? I think we’ve all have a day like that every once in awhile! Kathy Mattea sings about “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” and Kay Adams tells about that “Little Pink Mack”. Dick Curless tells the story of a “Tombstone Every Mile”.
In “Prisoner of the Highway” Ronnie Milsap describes how many drivers felt, heck, still feel about sitting up there behind that wheel. The song may be over 30 years old, but it is timeless; as is true with most of these trucking songs. They describe or explain our lifestyle. They ‘get us’ which is probably why we love them so much, even decades later!
Get “On the Road Again” with Willie Nelson and take your temperature when Dave Dudley sings about having the “Freightliner Fever”. We’re sure some old drivers can relate to Johnny Cash singing “I’ve Been Everywhere”. I know we certainly can!
Leland Martin sings about “Stone Cold Fingers” and he will quit driving when they pry his stone cold fingers from the wheel. Del Reeves kind of says it all “Looking At the World Through A Windshield”. That is what we do and what so many of us live for and love doing. Getting paid to see this country in good and bad weather, driving on good and bad roads and of course coming home to see the people we are working so hard for.
I’ll never forget a phone call I once got from my little sister; who couldn’t understand my attraction to driving a truck. Our dad had taught me and apparently she just didn’t get it. Then she heard a ‘new’ Eddie Rabbitt song, “Drivin’ My Life Away” (well, it was new at the time!) and she asked me, ‘is this what it feels like to do what you do?’ Since I hadn’t yet heard the song I had to get back to her. That was before XM Radio or iTunes or Pandora. We didn’t have anything but good ole AM and FM, so I actually had to WAIT to hear it come on the radio. When it did I was like, “YESSSS!”
Many say that a picture is worth a thousand words. I think a song can be too. It’s one of those things that if I have to explain it, there’s no way you’ll understand.
Stay Safe Out There And Keep It Shiny!
Heather Hogeland and Kim Grimm are CDL holders and longtime friends with a combined 75 years and 7 million miles of driving experience. Both are writers and have a love for everything trucking, as well as, furry, four-legged friends. Kim is currently a full-time owner-operator and part-time writer. Heather writes for various trucking publications and enjoys traveling with her husband Roger.