The 20 Best Country Trucking Songs of All-Time

Merle Haggard

Our work has an enormous effect on how we live our lives. That means it’s natural for people to sing about their jobs. For proof, look no further than country music about trucking, which is so common that it can be considered a subgenre. That makes sense because truckers have a sizable number of similarities with cowboys.

After all, they’re working-class people who spend long hours on the road. There’s also a strong sense of independence about the job that is sometimes mixed with hints of loneliness, which makes it as easy to romanticize as these things get. These aren’t new observations. People noticed the similarities in the 1970s, thus resulting in the comparison becoming entrenched in the popular consciousness. Thanks to this, numerous country songs are either about trucking or can be interpreted as being so. These include some examples that stand head and shoulders over the rest.

Here are 20 of the best country trucking songs ever released:

20. “Mama Hated Diesels” – Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen

“Mama Hated Diesels” is more about the dynamics of a family than anything else. The narrator is a young man raised by a single mother. He is fascinated by trucks, while his mother loathes them. Something the narrator suspects is connected to his father in some way. When she died, he decided to become a trucker. Eventually, it’s revealed that the narrator was correct in his suspicions. His father was a trucker who had married his mother. However, it’s never answered why his father wasn’t around when he was a child. Perhaps his father died, or perhaps his father left. Whatever the case, it left deep scars on the narrator’s mother, thus providing the song with much of its emotional weight.

19. “Girl On the Billboard” – Del Reeves

“Girl On the Billboard” is a more humorous work. One could argue it’s a reminder of the dangers of distracted driving. However, “Girl On the Billboard” was released in the 1960s, meaning the truckers weren’t fiddling around with their smartphones. Instead, the song says they’re crashing in enormous numbers because they’re staring at a depiction of a beautiful woman wearing nothing but a towel. The funniest thing is that the narrator learns that the depiction wasn’t even based on an actual person when he mustered the courage to ask.

18. “Give Me 40 Acres” – Willis Brothers

“Give Me 40 Acres” is another well-known trucking song with a humorous take on things. In its case, the narrator isn’t worried about crashing. Instead, he’s on an unlucky streak, as shown by how he has been forced to ask for the room needed to turn his truck around several times in the same day. By the end, he’s so frustrated that he’s ready to blow up his truck rather than continue, though he’s presumably venting more than anything else. This is a memorable song with a memorable tune, meaning it has more than earned its fame.

17. “I’m a Truck” – Red Simpson

Red Simpson made an interesting choice to anthropomorphize the truck in this song. This result is a hard-working, long-suffering person fed up with how the trucker gets all the recognition while he receives none. Amusingly, the truck has an opinion so low of the trucker that it’s underground, sometimes for justified reasons and sometimes for not-so-justified reasons. For example, he dislikes how the trucker acts entitled towards the servers even though the trucker never tips them. Simultaneously, he dislikes the trucker’s fondness for Buck Owens because he prefers Merle Haggard. These things make the truck that much more likable because he feels that much more authentic.

16. “Bud the Spud” – Stompin’ Tom Connors

Trucking music isn’t just an American thing. For proof, look no further than Stompin’ Tom Connors’s song “Bud the Spud.” The titular character is a trucker who operates out of Prince Edward Island. Said province was famous for its potatoes then and remains famous for its potatoes now. As a result, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that Bud the Spud is nicknamed thus because he transports Prince Edward Island’s most iconic crop.

15. “Convoy” – C.W. McCall

“Convoy” is one of the most famous trucking songs ever released. It capitalized on the craze for CB radio in the mid-1970s. Thanks to that and other factors, the song became so successful that it inspired the movie of the same name in 1978. The critics had mixed opinions of the movie. Even so, it was the commercial hit the director Sam Peckinpah had been looking for after a string of flops.

14. “Truck Drivin’ Man” – Buck Owen

“Truck Drivin’ Man” has proven so popular that it’s been recorded and released repeatedly. The first to do so was Terry Fell and the Fellers. However, “Truck Drivin’ Man” tends to be better known because of Buck Owen, who was one of the Fellers. He sang harmony on the original recording. Later, he released a cover with some changes, thus kickstarting a trend of people doing so. Despite that, Owen’s version remains iconic, which is no small feat considering the sheer amount of competition that has popped up.

13. “Phantom 309” – Red Sovine

Red Sovine was famous for his trucking songs. More than one of his releases could’ve made this list. “Phantom 309” stands out because it’s a ghost story in musical form. The neat thing is that the ghost is more helpful than anything else. He did the narrator a favor by giving him a ride. Subsequently, the song revealed that he’s been offering rides to hitchhikers for years, so much so that he’s built a well-known reputation in the region. The best part is that the ghost’s helpful nature fits with how he died. After all, he died by choosing to put himself in danger rather than hit a busload of kids, which was respectable.

12. “Roll On Big Mamma” – Joe Stampley

“Roll On Big Mamma” isn’t the most sophisticated song about trucking ever penned. Still, few can match it when it comes to conveying the colossal presence of semi-trucks, which are awe-inspiring machines because of their size and power.

11. “Six Days On the Road” – Dave Dudley

“Six Days On the Road” came out in the 1960s. Specifically, Paul Davis released the original in 1961. However, it was Dave Dudley who released the genre-defining cover in 1963. “Six Days On the Road” was far from the first trucking song. After all, trucks started seeing use in the late 19th century, received a sizable boost during the First World War, and were increasingly recognizable by the 1930s and 1940s. As such, there was no way that “Six Days On the Road” could’ve been the first trucking song. Instead, it became popular in an era when country music was aligning with the working class, thus enabling it to become a pioneer of the country trucking songs that were popular for decades afterward. That is why “Six Days On the Road” can be considered genre-defining without exaggeration.

10. “I’ve Been Everywhere” – Johnny Cash

“I’ve Been Everywhere” isn’t necessarily a trucking song. Still, it’s easy to see why truckers identify with it, considering they’re often very well-traveled people. Johnny Cash’s cover isn’t the only version, even if it’s particularly well-known. The original was meant for Australia. Since then, different artists have released versions based on everything from Texas to Thailand.

9. “A Tombstone Every Mile” – Dick Curless

Trucking can be dangerous. Truckers tend to be safe drivers, which makes sense because their job relies on them being so. Unfortunately, they spend a lot of time on the road, which includes navigating places that are more dangerous than they should be. “A Tombstone Every Mile” is talking about a real place. The Haynesville Woods refer to a part of Maine with a hairpin turn responsible for more than one victim from the truckers headed to Boston.

8. “Prisoner of the Highway” – Ronnie Milsap

Humans can be creatures of habit. Here, Ronnie Milsap sings about a trucker who knows the toll his job takes on him and his loved ones. Even so, he can’t see himself happy doing anything else, thus explaining the song’s name. Ultimately, the narrator embraces his nature, which isn’t necessarily wrong.

7. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” – Kathy Mattea

As mentioned, trucking can take a toll on families because of frequent separation. The central character in “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” is Charlie, who has decided to retire to spend more time with his wife. That sentiment earned it numerous fans back in the late 1980s. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” topped the country charts in the United States and Canada when it was released.

6. “Driving My Life Away” – Eddie Rabbitt

“Driving My Life Away” is another song in which the narrator thinks about his lifestyle. It isn’t as focused on the tolls that trucking takes on people as some of its counterparts on this list. Instead, it’s more interested in the ordinary things that repeat as the narrator continues to work. The song’s name can sound bleak, but there’s a comforting familiarity to the rhythms laid out in the lyrics.

5. “Me and Bobby McGee” – Roger Miller

Some jobs can be stressful for relationships. Sometimes, people can work things out; other times, they can’t. The couple in this song were happy until they weren’t. Due to this, it’s easy to interpret it as a representation of how a relationship can break down when one person is so often away.

4. “On the Road Again” – Willie Nelson

Technically, Willie Nelson wasn’t singing about trucking. After all, he wrote the song about going on tour with his bandmates. Even so, “On the Road Again” shines with enthusiasm and satisfaction for the hard work done while traveling from place to place. Unsurprisingly, truckers have embraced it ever since it came out in 1980, meaning it’s a time-honored favorite for many.

3. “White Line Fever” – Merle Haggard

“White Line Fever” refers to a condition that interested individuals might be more familiar with as highway hypnosis. This is when someone drives long distances without remembering themselves doing so. They still react appropriately to everything they encounter on the road. The issue is that they aren’t as alert as they would be under normal circumstances, meaning it’s speculated that highway hypnosis contributes to vehicular accidents. Regardless, “White Line Fever” isn’t referring to the actual condition. Instead, it’s being used as a convenient shorthand for describing the narrator’s intense interest in trucking, which promises to drive him onward until he can’t do so anymore.

2. “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” – Alabama

“Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” might be the most iconic trucking song of the 1980s. It’s about a trucker who goes missing while working hard to support his family. His family spends the night praying for his well-being after hearing that a semi-truck has been found after plowing into a snowbank. Luckily, the trucker survives, even though rescue efforts had been called off because of a blizzard. As such, this song touches upon the dangers of trucking and how these things can impact truckers’ families. It connected with many listeners, so much so it too topped the country chart in the United States in 1984.

1. “Eastbound and Down” – Jerry Reed

Truckers were sometimes envisioned as something between modern cowboys and outlaws in the popular culture of the 1970s. Smokey and the Bandit is a legendary movie responsible for much of this perception. Some of its success can be attributed to its soundtrack, which featured more than one well-known song. In particular, “Eastbound and Down” became Jerry Reed’s signature song for the rest of the man’s career. Indeed, it’s one of the most famous trucking songs ever for good reason, even if it missed out on being a country chart-topper by a single spot.

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