Welcome back to our popular running series Truck Driver Songs, where we look back at some of the great music from the 50s all the way to the 90s that sing the praises of truckers everywhere. This week we have a look at a crossover country hit from the days of soft focus TV music shows and long feathered hair.
Eddie Rabbitt may come off as a bit of a disco country icon due to his image, but he got his start with some pretty big names in country and rock n’ roll – namely, Elvis Presley. Rabbitt became successful as a songwriter in 1969 when Elvis Presley recorded his song “Kentucky Rain”. The song went gold and cast Rabbitt as one of Nashville’s leading young songwriters. This helped him move quickly along to a recording contract with the Elektra record label. His first single under that label, “You Get To Me” made the Top 40 that year, and two songs in 1975, “Forgive And Forget” and “I Should Have Married You” nearly made the Top 10. Rabbitt’s self-named debut album made quite a splash and he hasn’t looked back since.
In the late 70s and early 80s, Rabbitt became even more popular as he penned big hits for Hollywood movies, such as the them for Clint Eastwood’s “Every Which Way But Loose” and a duet with Crystal Gayle that became a love theme for the soap opera “All My Children.” He continued to experiment with formatting a more open style of country and found more avenues for popularity through TV. He was given his own television special on NBC, first airing on 10 July 1980, which included appearances by such performers as Emmylou Harris and Jerry Lee Lewis.
Eddie also garners the honor in our Truck Driver Song series as being not only a popular musician, but a fellow truck driver as well. When he first moved to Nashville in the early 70s, he drove a local delivery flatbed truck to support himself. Two country hits later and he traded his tire iron for an acoustic guitar and made the most of it.
In spring 1998, Rabbitt passed away after complications due to lung cancer. He was 56.
So in honor of the popular song writer who made so many crossover hits his legacy, we’re featuring the song “Driving My Life Away” from a performance on The Midnight Special in the summer of 1980. Enjoy, truck drivers!
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