Gary Gentry and J.B. Detterline Jr. were the composers for David Allan Coe’s “The Ride” recording. In February 1983, the song was released under country singer-songwriter Coe’s Castles in the Sand album. Being the lead single from the said album, it spent nineteen weeks on the Billboard country singles charts’ number four spot. Also, it peaked at number 2 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart.
Spine-tingling Story of How “The Ride” Was Written
Gary Gentry, one of the writers, told Billboard magazine that “there’s a mysterious magic connected with this song that spells cold chills”. It made him believe that “it was meant to be and that David Allan Coe was meant to record it”. When he was looking up Williams’ death date in his autobiography, he opened the book to the exact page. Later, when he was performing the song at the Opry House for a television show, the lights and power in the Opryland complex went out. This happened while he was singing the last verse when it says “Hank”.
One night, Gentry truthfully related that the ghost of Hank Williams appeared to him in his darkened house. Trying to summon Williams for a little inspiration, Gentry lit a candle and called for Hank to show himself. Surprisingly, there he sat on Gentry’s couch at the end of the hallway. From that, he was able to write the song at 4 in the morning.
Through David Allan Coe, he delivered its story through the ballad. It is a haunting tale of a hopeful songwriter to get a ride from Alabama to Tennessee. The hitchhiker encounters the ghost of Hank Williams, Sr. Thanks to the ghost of a forlorn and forsaken Hank Williams, the track made its way to fame.
The song first appeared on Coe’s Castles in the Sand album. The first to cover it was Hank Williams, Jr. Later, Tim McGraw re-recorded it appearing at the end of the “Real Good Man” music video, which was recorded live.
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