Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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You Never Even Called Me by My Name

Co-written and first recorded by Steve Goodman (1971).
Hit versions by David Allan Coe (C&W #8/CAN #4 1975), Doug Supernaw (C&W #60 1994).

From the wiki: “‘You Never Even Called Me by My Name’ was written by Steve Goodman and John Prine. (Prine requested that he be uncredited on the song, as he thought it was a ‘goofy, novelty song’ and didn’t want to ‘offend the country music community.’)

“Goodman released the song on his eponymous 1971 debut album Steve Goodman to little acclaim. It was more famously covered by country music singer David Allan Coe on his 1975 album Once Upon a Rhyme. It was the third single release of Coe’s career and became his first Top Ten hit.”

“The song is a satirical response and kiss-off to the country music industry on Music Row in Nashville. Coe was an ideal choice to convey Steve Goodman’s message to the country music industry due to his non-conformist (‘outlaw’) style; Coe had little admiration for the Nashville industry.

“The country music industry of the era blatantly refused to acknowledge the writers’ and artist’s fringe style; Goodman, despite success penning the folk-pop crossover ‘City of New Orleans‘, was still considered an outsider and a neophyte. Coe’s and Goodman’s response to Nashville was not to sell out; the song name-drops Waylon Jennings, Charley Pride and Merle Haggard (as well as his song ‘The Fightin’ Side of Me’); Coe also uses loose impersonations of each artist in doing so.

“In a spoken epilogue preceding the song’s iconic closing verse, Coe relates a correspondence he had with songwriter Steve Goodman, who stated the song he had written was the ‘perfect country and western song.’ Coe wrote back stating that no song could fit that description without mentioning a laundry list of clichés: ‘Mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk.’ Goodman’s equally facetious response was an additional verse that incorporated all five of Coe’s requirements, and upon receiving it, Coe acknowledged that the finished product was indeed the ‘perfect country and western song.’

“In 1994, Doug Supernaw recorded a new version of the song on his second studio album, Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind. Supernaw’s rendition features a guest vocal from Coe himself, as well as guest appearances by Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride, all of whom are mentioned in the original song’s second verse. It was the second single release from Supernaw’s album.”

David Allan Coe, “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” (1975):

Doug Supernaw, “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” (1994):

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