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Dave Dudley
Birth name David Darwin Pedruska
Born May 3, 1928(1928-05-03)
Origin Spencer, Wisconsin, U.S.
Died December 22, 2003 (aged 75)
Genres Country music
Occupations Singer
Years active 1961–2003
Labels Golden Wing Records, Mercury Records
Associated acts Dick Curless, Del Reeves, Tom T. Hall

Dave Dudley (May 3, 1928 – December 22, 2003) was an American country music singer.

Born as David Darwin Pedruska, he was best-known for his truck-driving country anthems of the 1960s and 1970s. He was readily recognizable for his semi-slurred baritone. His "signature song" was 1963's "Six Days on the Road"

Contents

Early life and rise to fame

Dudley is best-known for his trucker songs, including "Six Days on the Road", "Vietnam Blues", "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun", and "Me and ol' C.B.".

His duet with Tom T. Hall, called "Day Drinking," and his own top ten hit, "Fireball Rolled A Seven," supposedly based on the career and death of Edward Glenn "Fireball" Roberts. These songs demonstrated that he was not limited to trucking songs. He is one of the best-known singers of the truck-driving era in country music, and was one of the icons in this category.

Dave was born in 1928 in Spencer, Wisconsin. He had a short career as a semi-professional baseball player. After he suffered an arm injury, he was no longer able to play baseball. He then decided to pursue a career in country music. He was one of the earliest artists to record for the National Recording Corporation, with "Where's There's A Will" (1959 on the NRC label).

Dudley was injured once again in 1960, this time in a car accident, setting back his career in music. He first appeared on the Country charts in 1961 with "Maybe I Do," released by Vee Records. He later moved to Golden Ring Records. Two years later, in 1963, the label released the single "Six Days on the Road".

Height of his career

"Six Days on the Road" immediately became a hit for Dudley. The song was written by Earl Green and Peanut Montgomery.

In the original version of the song as 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 replace these words with a reference to looking at the white lines on the road. Dudley can be heard and seen singing the correct original lyrics in a 1971 performance currently available at YouTube (www.YouTube.com).

In 1963, Dudley moved on to Mercury records. By the end of 1963, he released his first single from the label, "Last Day in the Mines". Dudley scored more big hits in the 1960s, including "Truck Drivin' Son-Of-a-Gun", "Trucker's Prayer" and "Anything Leaving Town Today". "Six Days on the Road" has remained a trucker's classic as well as a country classic, and has been covered by several artists, including George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Steve Earle and Sawyer Brown.

Dudley continued to have success into the 1970s. He continued to record for Mercury Records. He had some Country Top Tens in the '70s, including the songs "Comin' Down" and "Fly Away Again." His iconic status in the truck-driving world continued to grow. By the late 70s, his success on the charts was beginning to fade.

Overall, in the 60s and 70s, Dave scored thirty-three Top 40 Country hits.

Decline and death

In the 1980s, Dudley continued to record, but not as much as he once had. He remained popular in concert. During this time, he was elected to the Nashville Teamsters Truck Drivers Union. He received a solid gold membership card from the union. During this time, he also found out that he had a big fan base in Europe, and he decided to try to appeal more to this market.

In total, Dudley recorded more than 70 albums. However, he did not manage to reclaim his past success, and neither his single "Where's that Truck?", recorded with DJ Charlie Douglas, nor the track "Dave Dudley, American Trucker", recorded in 2002 in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, helped revive his career. Few of his hits have made it onto CDs and albums, creating a market for his vintage vinyl recordings.

Death

Dave Dudley died on December 22, 2003, aged 75, after suffering a heart attack at his home in Wisconsin.

Discography

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Albums

Year Album US Country Label
1963 Dave Dudley Sings Six Days on the Road 16 Golden Ring
1964 Songs About the Working Man 19 Mercury
Travelin' with Dave Dudley 8
Talk of the Town 16
1965 Rural Route No. 1
Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun 3
Greatest Hits
1966 There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere 12
Lonelyville 6
Free and Easy 10
1967 My Kind of Love
Dave Dudley Country 29
1968 Greatest Hits Vol. 2 39
Thanks for All the Miles 39
1969 One More Mile 15
George (And the North Woods)
1970 The Best of Dave Dudley 32
The Pool Shark 16
1971 Dave Dudley Sings Listen Betty (I'm Singing Your Song) 32
Will the Real Dave Dudley Please Sing 27
1972 The Original Traveling Man 18
1973 Keep On Truckin' 22
1975 Special Delivery United Artists
Uncommonly Good Country 13
1976 1776
Presents
1977 Chrome and Polish Rice
1978 On the Road Again
1980 Interstate Gold Sun
Diesel Duets (w/ Charlie Douglas)
1981 King of the Road
1982 Trucker's Christmas Cetera
1984 Nashville Rodeo Saloon Bellaphon
1985 Truck Drivin' Man

Singles

Year Single Chart Positions Album
US Country US
1955 "Cry Baby Cry" singles only
1956 "Ink Dries Quicker Than Tears"
"Rock and Roll Nursery Rhyme"
1959 "I Just Want to Be Your Friend"
1960 "It's Gotta Be That Way"
1961 "Maybe I Do" 28
1962 "Under Cover of the Night" 18
1963 "Six Days on the Road"A 2 32 Songs About the Working Man
"Cowboy Boots" 3 95
1964 "Last Day in the Mines" 7 125
"Mad" 6 Talk of the Town
1965 "Two Six Packs Away" 15 Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun
"Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun" 3 125
"What We're Fighting For" 4 There's a Star-Spangled Banner
Waving Somewhere
1966 "Viet Nam Blues" 12 127
"Lonelyville" 13 Lonelyville
"Long Time Gone" 15 Free and Easy
1967 "My Kind of Love" 12 My Kind of Love
"Trucker's Prayer" 23 Dave Dudley Country
"Anything Leaving Town Today" 12 Greatest Hits Vol. 2
1968 "There Ain't No Easy Run" 10 Thanks for All the Miles
"I Keep Coming Back for More" 14
"Please Let Me Prove (My Love for You)" 10 One More Mile
1969 "One More Mile" 12
"George (And the North Woods)" 10 George (And the North Woods)
1970 "The Pool Shark" 1 The Pool Shark
"This Night (Ain't Fit for Anything But Drinking)" 20
"Day Drinkin'" (w/ Tom T. Hall) 23 single only
1971 "Listen Betty (I'm Singing Your Song)" 15 Dave Dudley Sings Listen Betty
(I'm Singing Your Song)
"Comin' Down" 8
"Fly Away Again" 8 Will the Real Dave Dudley Please Sing
1972 "If It Feels Good Do It" 14 The Original Travelling Man
"You've Gotta Cry Girl" 12
"We Know It's Over" (w/ Karen O'Donnal) 40 single only
1973 "Keep On Truckin'" 19 Keep On Truckin'
"It Takes Time" 37 single only
"Rollin' Rig" 47 Special Delivery
1974 "Have It Your Way" 67
"Counterfeit Cowboy" 61
1975 "How Come It Took So Long (To Say Goodbye)" 74
"Fireball Rolled a Seven" 21
"Wave at 'Em Billy Boy" Uncommonly Good Country
"Me and Ole C.B." 12
1976 "Sentimental Journey" 47
"1776" 1776
"38 and Lonely" 83 Presents
"Rooster Hill"
1977 "Just Memories" single only
"Devils in Heaven Bound Machines" Chrome and Polish
"Rollin' On (We Gone)"
1978 "One A.M. Alone" 95 On the Road Again
"Wayward Wind" singles only
1979 "Moonlight in Vermont"
1980 "Last Run" Interstate Gold
"Big Fanny" Diesel Duets
"Rolaids, Doan's Pills and Preparation H" 77 King of the Road
"Driver"
1981 "Eagle"
"I Do" singles only
"I Was Country Before Barbara Mandrell"
1983 "I Wish I Had a Nickel" Nashville Rodeo Saloon

Sources

  • Country Music:The Rough Guide; Wolff, Kurt; Penguin Publishing
  • LP Discography.com

External links


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