Trucking Songs - Taking a Trip Down Memory Lane.

Oct 18, 2021, 14:55 PM by NAIT

Last month, going down the rabbit hole with William Dale Fries Jr. – aka C.W. McCall – gave me a chance to get reacquainted with many of the forgotten tunes about trucking. I know many folks lean into Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, and many of the “Bro Country” singers featured on today’s radio.

But today, we’re going to buckle up and take a trip down memory lane for some engine grease-and-road grime tunes that should not go gentle into that good night …


 Merle Haggard’s Moving On is a love letter to the men and women who are the heartbeat of America’s economy:

The white line is a lifeline to a nation

And men like Will and Sonny make it move

Livin’ like a gypsy always on the go

Doin’ what they best know how to do.


Dave Dudley’s Six Day on the Road deserves a spot in the Smithsonian:

Well my rig’s a little old

But that don’t mean she’s slow

There’s a flame from her stack

And that smoke’s a-blowin’ black as coal

My hometown’s a-comin’ in sight

If you think I’m a happy, you’re right

Six days on the road

And I’m a-gonna make it home tonight


Eddie Rabbit could sing the phone book, and I’d listen. Hard to believe Drivin’ My Life Away is 41 years old:

 Well, the midnight headlight blind you on a rainy night

Steep grade up ahead slow me down makin’ no time

But I gotta keep rollin’

Those windshield wipers slappin’ outta tempo

Keepin’ perfect rhythm with the song on the radio

But I gotta keep rollin’


Kathy Mattea’s 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses hits me in the feels. Every. Dang. Time.

 Charlie’s got a gold watch

Don’t seem like a whole lot

After thirty years of drivin’

Up and down the interstate

But Charlie’s had a good life

And Charlie’s got a good wife

And after tonight she’ll no longer

Be countin’ the days


Raise your hand if you can relate to Little Feat’s Willin’

 And I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari

Tehachapi to Tonopah

Driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made

Driven the back roads so I wouldn’t get weighed

And if you give me; weed, whites, and wine

And you show me a sign

I’ll be willin’, to be movin’


Cledus Maggard and The Citizen’s Band with a word of caution if you run across The White Knight.

Well, I hammered down like I had wings

Little gravels in my wheels

Going ping, ping, ping

‘Bout the time I hit ninety-two

I saw something flashing in my rearview


Joe Stampley’s Roll on Big Mama is something everyone can relate to:

 And rambling is the life I chose,

Sitting here between the doors,

And the yellow line a keeping time,

The things that’s a-running through my mind,

Through my mind


The Willis Brothers’ Give Me 40 Acres – I doubt anyone can deny they’ve thought this a time or two when in a tight spot:

 Give me forty acres and I’ll turn this rig around

It’s the easiest way that I’ve found

Some guys can turn it on a dime or turn it right downtown

But I need forty acres to turn this rig around


I still check big rigs to see if anyone tips the cap to Red Sovine’s Phantom 309:

 At the wheel sit a big man, he weighed about two-ten

He stuck out his hand and said with a grin

“Big Joe’s the name,” I told him mine

And he said: “The name of my rig is Phantom 309.”


No trucking songs list is complete without Jerry Reed’s Eastbound and Down:

 Ol’ Smokey’s got them ears on

He’s hot on your trail

And he ain’t gonna rest ’til you’re in jail

So you got to dodge ’im and you got to duck ’im

You got to keep that diesel truckin’

Just put that hammer down and give it hell


This isn’t a complete list of the all-timers, but the definitive collection will include these 10 songs. Yes, that means Willie, of course. We’re all On the Road Again, so you can relate. After all, like Johnny, I’ve Been Everywhere!


I hope you at least hummed along with these lyrics. Next month, we’ll dig into trucking-themed movies. (So be sure your NAIT membership dues are current; that satellite subscription will come in handy!)

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