Welcome back to another installment of our running series Truck Driver Songs. Here we examine how rock and country musicians portray the truck driving lifestyle through music and video. We’ve done stories on songs from as early as the 50s to as late as the 00′s. They all appeal to different types, but sing the praises of a single profession.
This week, we have one of the more famous truck driving songs written from one of the most popular action comedies ever made. It’s Jerry Reed’s “Eastbound and Down” single that was the theme from Smokey & The Bandit from 1977. It helped propel Reed into stardom on screen, after a very successful turn through Nashville, led along by masters like Chet Atkins, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Both saw talent in the slim, good looks of Reed and made sure that many more people found out who he was from the 60s through the 80s. In 1976 he was even given a shot at TV stardom with his own variety show.
The theme music, “East Bound and Down”, was sung by Jerry Reed and co-written by Reed Feller. It became Reed’s signature song and is found on multiple albums, including Country Legends and his live album Jerry Reed: Live Still.
Jerry Reed died in 2008 due to complications from emphysema, but his deep twanging voice and easy-going singing style continue to keep toes tapping today.
The first video is the studio cut of Eastbound and Down that features footage from Smokey & The Bandit, and the second is a live performance Reed released in the late 70s. Enjoy, truck drivers!
If you can’t get the video below to play, visit the YouTube page directly here.