Nearly five decades ago, country singer Johnny Russell released what would be the biggest hit of his entire career, “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer.” It was the first single from his album of the same name.
The song was his only top ten on the country chart, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. The song also reached No. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks chart in Canada, making it his only No. 1.
One Of The Greatest Sing-Along Songs In History
Written by Wayland Holyfield and Bob McDill, “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer” tells the tale of a neighborhood tavern’s patron.
He thinks to himself that there’s no place he’d rather be than at this tavern despite a lot of things, like a customer making an unwanted pass at a female bartender, a cowboy cursing the pinball machine, a drunken patron who’s now starting to get noisy and mean, and some guy telling his wife he’ll be home soon. The man in the song instead looked at the good times and companionship of friends at the tavern.
“No, we don’t fit in with that white-collar crowd. We’re a little too rowdy and a little too loud. There’s no place that I’d rather be than right here. With my red-necks white socks and blue ribbon beer,” the song goes.
Years later, Russel revealed that Charley Pride’s manager – whom he was touring and performing with – told him at the time he recorded “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer” that Pride might be offended by the song’s racial nature. This led Russel to seek the famous guitarist Chet Atkins’s advice, who was the RCA Vice President at that time.
Atkins then encouraged Russel to give Pride a call on the telephone. When Russel finally asked Pride, the RCA’s biggest selling artist, he answered that if Russel believed the song would be a hit for the label, then he should release it.
Glad he did! “Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer” became one of the greatest sing-along songs in the history of country music and pretty much became a staple on jukeboxes in every bar and honky-tonk in the country.
Nevertheless, Russel was never permitted to perform “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer” at any shows that feature Pride.
Tune in and watch Johnny Russell’s incredible performance of “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer” in the video below.