Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Six Days on the Road

First recorded by Paul Davis (1961).
Hit versions by Dave Dudley (US #32/C&W #2 1963), Steve Earle (C&W #29 1988), Sawyer Brown (C&W #13 1997).

From the wiki: “‘Six Days on the Road’ is an American song written by Earl Green and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery, made famous by Country music singer Dave Dudley. The song was first offered to Louisiana Cajun singer Jimmy C. Newman but he turned it down. Paul Davis (not of 1970s ‘I Go Crazy’ fame) was the first artist to record the song, and Billboard magazine first mentioned this original version in September 1961 although Davis’ recording would have no chart impact.

“Dudley’s recording was released in mid-May 1963, and would become Dudley’s first major hit. In the version recorded by Dudley the lyrics include the words ‘…I’m taking little white pills and my eyes are open wide…’, a reference to the stimulants some truckers used to keep driving (and make their delivery times) when they needed sleep. Some remakes of the song have since replaced these words with a reference to ‘looking at the white lines on the road’.

“Born in Spencer, Wisconsin, Dudley had a short career as a semi-professional baseball player. After suffering an arm injury, Dudley could no longer able to play baseball and, so, decided to pursue a career in Country music. He was one of the earliest artists to record for the National Recording Corporation – the Atlanta, GA, based recording company that boasted a studio band including Ray Stevens, Jerry Reed, and Joe South.

“In 1963 the Grand Ole Opry star Jimmy C. Newman let Dudley hear a demo for ‘Six Days on the Road’. An up-tempo song, it was a departure from the ballads Dudley had specialized in, and he was initially reluctant to record it. At the session in 1963 for ‘Six Days on the Road’, produced by Shelby Singleton (who would also produce hits by Roger Miller, Charlie Rich, and Brook Benton) at Kay Bank Studios, in Minneapolis, MN, the song was recorded unrehearsed and nailed on the second take. The release, on the independent Minneapolis label Golden Wing Records, led Mercury Records to sign him in Nashville.

“Steve Earle recorded the song for the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and his version reached #29 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in early 1988. In 1997, more than 30 years after Dudley’s original version charted, country music band Sawyer Brown took the song into the Top 15 of the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.”

Dave Dudley, “Six Days on the Road” (1963):

https://youtu.be/YCMDz2U3IxY

Steve Earle, “Six Days on the Road” (1988):

Sawyer Brown, “Six Days on the Road” (1997):

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