David Allan Coe celebrates his birthday today. One of the more controversial artists in country music, he has graced us with awesome tunes and performances. Let’s get to know him better on his special day.
David Allan Coe and His Rise to the Outlaw Life
Born in Akron, Ohio on September 6, 1939, Coe was, unfortunately, born into a broken family. Life at home wasn’t exactly the best either and it contributed to him having a troubled childhood. Due to this, the soon to be country outlaw star was sent to a reform school at age 9. He had spent most of his teenage and young adult life going through various correctional institutions due to crimes that ranged from illegally carrying around burglary tools to auto theft.
The outlaw has also stated, at some point, that he had killed a fellow inmate in Ohio but the story has yet to be substantiated. While behind bars, Coe started writing songs saying that he was encouraged by a fellow inmate Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Coe then headed to Nashville in 1967 hoping to get a break in the music industry. During his start there he lived in his car and camped out in front of the Ryman Auditorium, where the Grand Old Opry operated. He did this in the hope of being noticed.
David Allan Coe: His Start, His Music
Coe’s early works were greatly influenced by the blues with hints of R&B. He was eventually able to get a deal with SSS records. Through them, he released his debut album “Penitentiary Blues” which was about his experiences behind bars.
Sales for the album weren’t great but it received great reviews and allowed him to gain the support he needs to keep going. After releasing “Requiem for a Harlequin”, which wasn’t really noticed, Coe’s music evolved into a more honky-tonk country style.
While his own music career wasn’t gaining much traction, his songwriting career was on the rise. He wrote “Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)” which was performed by Tanya Tucker. During this time, he began improving his stage presence. He began wearing rhinestone-studded suits and a mask and came up with the nickname “Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy” years before Glen Campbell released his hit with a similar name.
Soon, Coe released an album called “The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy” with Columbia records, funnily enough, after he got rid of the suits and mask his career started to rise.
He became a regular on the country charts with “Longhaired Redneck”, “Waylon, Willie, and Me”. His image as an outlaw has solidified at this point thanks to the media and rumors about the star’s involvement with alcohol, drugs, and polygamy. Coe has since continued to rise and has been part of the country stage ever since.