In the world of country music, only a few groups last as long as the iconic band Alabama. Ever since they formed in 1969, these fellas kept themselves busy touring and recording some of the best songs to ever grace country music. They have more number one hits, awards, and honors than anyone could begin to count, making them a country group that all others aspire to be like.
The band profited the most during the 1980s when they achieved seven multi-Platinum albums and twenty-seven chart-topping hits. One of those songs was “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler),” which marked a major milestone for the group when it reached No. 1 on the US Country charts as well as on the Canadian charts.
The song was the first single and title track to the band’s album Roll On, which also reached No. 1 in the US lists Billboard Top Country Albums. In addition to that, the album also got four platinum records, selling more than four million copies.
Alabama Pays Tribute to The American Truck Drivers
“Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” was Alabama’s way of showing their appreciation and respect to all American truck drivers out there. As we know, truck drivers have their own section in country music, called the Truck-driving country. Singers like Del Reeves, Dick Curless, Red Sovine, Dave Dudley, and Red Simpson, were the greatest representatives of this style.
Written by singer-songwriter Dave Loggins, “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” is the story of a man who drives an over-the-road semi-trailer truck to support his wife and three children. During one of his long trips, the children gathered around their mother in sadness and asked when their father would be back. The mother comforted her kids and told them that all they need to do is remember the song their father had taught them:
“Roll on highway, roll on along. Roll on daddy till you get back home. Roll on family, roll on crew. Roll on momma like I asked you to do. And roll on eighteen-wheeler, roll on (roll on).”
One night, the mother received a call from the police saying that they had found the truck lying on a snowbank. However, they did not find the driver in any highway motel. The woman hoped that her husband would be fine. So with her three children, they prayed “to the man upstairs” and sang the song their father had taught them. They waited all night until the phone rang again. Finally, it was the father’s voice saying he was safe and sound, “askin’ her if she had been singin’ the song.”
Make sure to check out Alabama’s heart-warming performance below too.