Dave Dudley / (Photo credit: Screen grabbed from Youtube)
Love of trucks and driving is another theme commonly used in country music. When we speak about this particular subject, the best country artist we could associate with it is the late Dave Dudley. Why not? Most of his songs center on wagons and life on the road and he became best known for that. His 1963 record entitled “Six Days on the Road” reached tremendous success and it eventually became his signature song. Although the singer has long gone from this life, he left us a legacy that is worth treasuring. As we commemorate his 90th birthday today, let’s have a brief look back at his life and accomplishments.
A Sports Enthusiast-Turned Musician
Before Dudley appeared in the limelight, he was a semi-professional baseball player. He played the sport throughout his teenage life. An arm injury has forced him to give up this career as he can no longer play the sport. Instead of being dismayed, he channeled his attention to music – country music, in particular. He formed the Dave Dudley Trio and used to perform with them during the ‘50s. In 1959, he recorded the song entitled “Where There’s a Will” under the National Recording Corporation. A year later, he created The Country Gentlemen following the breakup of the previously mentioned trio. Again, a car accident hit him toward the end of 1960 causing a setback in his music career. Fortunately, Dudley recovered after several months continued and recording.
His big career break came in 1963 after recording “Six Days on the Road.” The single, which was released under the Golden Wing label almost topped the country chart. It peaked at No. 2 on the said chart while it crossed over to the pop chart’s Top 40. Throughout the ‘60s, Dudley had a string of truck driving singles. These include “Trucker’s Prayer,” Two Pick Packs Away,” and Truck Drivin’ Son-of-a-Gun,” to name a few.
His appearance on the chart slowed in the succeeding decades. However, he remained a popular concert draw. More importantly, truck drivers still loved him. As a matter of fact, he was awarded an honorary, solid gold membership card by the Teamsters Union. On December 12, 2003, Dudley died in his car after suffering a heart attack.
Let’s listen to his signature song below as we greet him the happiest birthday!
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Dave Dudley, Dave Dudley Trio, Six Days on the Road, The Country Gentlemen