Here we are again with another Truck Driver Song to help you put some miles behind you as you tap your toes. This week, it’s one of the hits from a 70s trucking icon.
Nearly everything about C.W. McCall is fabricated. We don’t mean to say that he’s not a real person who performs truck driving country songs. We mean that he was basically conceptualized by an ad agency looking to sell products based on the image of trucking in the 70s. Truck driving was huge in the 70s as the country fell in love with the pioneer lifestyle and outlaw image of truckers. It took over Hollywood and Nashville as the country went crazy for cowboys and CBs.
In 1973, while working as a creative director for Bozell & Jacobs, an Omaha, Nebraska advertising agency, William Fries created a Clio Award-winning (1974) television advertising campaign advertising Old Home Bread for the Metz Baking Company. The advertisements featured a truck driver named C. W. McCall, who was played by Dallas, Texas, actor Jim Finlayson. The waitress named Mavis Davis was played by Dallas actress Jean McBride Capps. The commercial’s success led to songs such as “Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep on a-Truckin’ Café”, “Wolf Creek Pass” and “Black Bear Road”. Fries sang and wrote the lyrics and Chip Davis, later of Mannheim Steamroller, wrote the music. Later Fries would come to personally embody his creation to sing some of the big trucking country hits of the 70s.
McCall’s biggest hit, “Convoy” would later become the inspiration for a big budget Hollywood movie about some rogue truck drivers who bucked the system because they felt they were over-regulated (sound familiar?). So a movie, based on a song story, created by a fictional character, created by an ad agency wonk, started the whole ball rolling. What a long strange trip it’s been.