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Truck Driver Songs: Jerry Reed “The Bandit”


We’re back with another episode of Truck Driver Songs. Musicians love to sing about the open road and the people who live there, and we find some of the best examples of trucking songs based on history and our readers’ input.

This week, it’s another classic by a long-time trucking favorite, Jerry Reed. Reed began a long successful career in country music in Nashville’s golden era, writing hit songs for A-list performers like Elvis Presley and Chet Atkins. His popularity peaked in the mid-70s as a musician, but he had other plans to stay in the spotlight.

Soon Reed’s recording career began to take a back seat to his acting aspirations. In 1974, he co-starred with his close friend Burt Reynolds in the film W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings. While he continued to record throughout the decade, his greatest visibility was as a motion picture star, almost always in tandem with headliner Reynolds; after 1976’s Gator, Reed appeared in 1978’s High Ballin and 1979’s Hot Stuff.

He also co-starred in all three of the Smokey and the Bandit films; the first, which premiered in 1977, landed Reed a Number 2 hit with the soundtrack’s “East Bound and Down.”


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