Celebrate the Heart of Country, Americana, and Roots Music!

Drop Us A Line, Y'all

Y'all interested in advertising, partnering up, contributing stories, joining our team, or just got a question? Well, don't be shy, drop us a line!

Follow Us

The Story Behind The Song:“Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico”


Johnny Rodriguez set a country music precedent when he became the first Mexican-American to garner a #1 record on the Billboard charts. Born December 10, 1951, Rodriguez grew up in Sabinal, Texas, about 90 miles from the Mexican border. Johnny was the next to youngest of ten children in the family, living in a four-room shack, and his growing years were split between the violent street life of the Chicano neighborhood and the middle-American standards set in the white school system.

Chameleon-like, Rodriguez functioned well in both environments. He gained A’s and B’s in school and served as captain of his high school football team. Unfortunately, he landed in jail four times before his eighteenth birthday. During one of those incarcerations, a Texas Ranger heard Johnny singing in his cell to pass the time, and was impressed with the teenager’s vocal abilities. He put Rodriguez in touch with entertainment executive Happy Shahan, who then employed his new singer in a show at his theme park, Alamo Village. Tom T. Hall happened to catch one of his performances, liked what he heard, and offered Johnny a job playing guitar in his band The Storytellers. Hall later introduced Rodriguez to Mercury label chief Roy Dea, who signed him immediately. Johnny’s debut record, “Pass Me By (If You’re Only Passing Through)” brought him to #9 right out of the gate. Hall and Rodriguez teamed up to write the next single “You Always Come Back (To Hurting Me)” which became Johnny’s first #1 hit.


The Video

Johnny wrote his second #1 hit himself while riding in Hall’s touring bus between shows. “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico” was inspired by his youthful experiences in south Texas. He hitch-hiked a lot during his travels from town to town and would go down to Mexico sometimes. Rodriguez’s producer at Mercury, Jerry Kennedy, strongly believed that Johnny had delivered a powerful cut of “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico,” and it was shipped to Mercury’s home office in Chicago immediately after the mixing of it had been completed. The company executives were just as excited about it as Kennedy was, and the label’s promotions department decided to push it toward the pop market. However, the Top 40 stations just weren’t that keen on the record, although “Ridin’ My Thumb To Mexico” somehow did manage to reach the #70 mark on the Billboard Hot 100. Of course, it had no problems cruising into the #1 slot on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart October 13, 1973. Two days after the record made the summit, with just three singles under his belt, Johnny Rodriguez was voted one of the five finalists for the Country Music Association’s “Male Vocalist of the Year” award.

Latest Stories

Travis Tritt + Help Me Hold On

Travis Tritt Begs His Lover For One More Chance In “Help Me Hold On”

Country singer Travis Tritt scored his first number-one hit with his second release from his 1990 debut album Country Club titled “Help Me Hold On.” He co-wrote it with accomplished ...

Carrie Underwood Falls Off Stage on Tail End of South Carolina Concert

Carrie Underwood Rocks Carolina Country Music Fest Despite Rain

Country singer Carrie Underwood graced the last day stage of the Carolina Country Music Fest 2024 in Myrtle Beach and delivered one hell of a performance despite the massive downpour. ...

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Seeks Annulment on Grounds of Fraud

Billy Ray Cyrus Files for Divorce from Firerose, Cites Fraud

American country singer Billy Ray Cyrus reached a breaking point with Australian singer Firerose just after seven months of marriage. According to court documents obtained by the Associated Press, Billy ...

Travis Tritt + Best of Intentions

Travis Tritt Made A Career Comeback With “Best of Intentions”

It was 2000, and it had been six years since Travis Tritt hit the top of the charts and three since his last appearance in the Top 10. The first ...

Sonny James Death

A Moment To Remember: Country Singer Sonny James’ Death At 87

Country singer Sonny James, known for his 1957 track “Young Love,” which topped both country and pop charts, passed away on February 22, 2016, at Nashville’s Alive Hospice. According to ...

Wynonna Sings Coal Miner's Daughter with Loretta Lynn's Granddaughter Emmy Russell - Idol

Wynonna Judd Joins Emmy Russell On Idol To Sing “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

Emmy Russell started her American Idol journey with an original song. She fittingly ended it with a tribute cover of “Coal Miner’s Daughter” for her late grandmother and country legend ...

Johnny Cash + Forty Shades of Green

“Forty Shades of Green”: Johnny Cash’s Ode to Ireland

Country legend Johnny Cash released an ode to Ireland appreciating its beauty with “Forty Shades of Green” as part of his album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash ...

Randy Travis A Country Legend's Fight for His Voice and His Legacy

What Happened to Randy Travis After Massive Stroke and Dire Financial Situation?

What happened to Randy Travis? That has been the question of many of his fans after his massive stroke in 2013.  Randy Travis is a legend and an icon in ...

5 Must-Hear Lainey Wilson Collaborations

Here Are 5 Lainey Wilson Collaborations You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

Country singer Lainey Wilson’s discography isn’t just a string of solo hits. Over the years, she has also steadily stacked up her collaboration resume — earning several number ones from ...

Lukas Nelson And Sierra Ferrell + Crying Time

Lukas Nelson & Sierra Ferrell Harmonize on Buck Owens’ “Crying Time”

Buck Owen’s 1964 track “Crying Time,” popularized by Ray Charles, is making waves again after Lukas Nelson and Sierra Ferrell shared a casual snippet of their take on the song.  ...

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.