Last week, we offered some counter-programming to the predominantly country-twinged truck driving songs with some trucking services-themed rock ‘n roll. This week, we’ll dig into the huge library of trucking favorites with banjos, fiddles and other rural Americana specialties.
500 Miles: This track began life as a folk song and was later made popular during the ’60s folk revival. It was recorded by everyone from Peter, Paul and Mary, Elvis Presley and Roseanna Cash and could be heard coming from any number of East Village cafés before Bobby Bare understandably saw the connection between the song’s railroad-riding protagonist and the contemporary truck drivers. Bare’s new version, released in 1963, upped the country twang and gave the song a second life as a seminal country hit.
East Bound and Down: Though Jerry Reed wrote this song specifically to serve as the theme song for the 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit, the track became a veritable country music hit itself, peaking at #2 on Billboard’s country chart. It’s not hard to see why: With it’s infectious banjo-plucked riff, East Bound is a catchy piece of country pop that became so much a part of Southern America, it served as the title for the popular HBO comedy of the same name some 30 years later.