Convoy (song)
"Convoy" is a 1975 novelty song
Novelty song
A novelty song is a comical or nonsensical song, performed principally for its comical effect. Humorous songs, or those containing humorous elements, are not necessarily novelty songs. The term arose in Tin Pan Alley to describe one of the major divisions of popular music. The other two divisions...

 performed by C. W. McCall
C. W. McCall
C. W. McCall is the pseudonym of William Dale Fries, Jr. , an American singer, activist and politician known for his truck-themed outlaw country songs.-Biography:...

 (pseudonym of Bill Fries) that became a number-one song on both the country and pop charts in the US. Written by McCall and Chip Davis
Chip Davis
Louis F. "Chip" Davis, Jr. is the founder and leader of the music group Mannheim Steamroller.He also wrote the music for C.W. McCall, including the 1975 hit "Convoy".-Biography:...

, the song spent six weeks at number one on the country charts and one week at number one on the pop charts. The song went to number one in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 as well, hitting the top of the RPM
RPM (magazine)
RPM was a Canadian music industry publication that featured song and album charts for Canada. The publication was founded by Walt Grealis in February 1964, supported through its existence by record label owner Stan Klees. RPM ceased publication in November 2000.RPM stood for "Records, Promotion,...

Top Singles Chart on January 24, 1976. "Convoy" further peaked at number two in the UK. The song's success helped start a fad for citizens band (CB) radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

. The song was the inspiration for the 1978 Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah was an American filmmaker and screenwriter who achieved prominence following the release of the Western epic The Wild Bunch...

 film Convoy.

The song

The song consists of three types of interspersed dialog: a simulated CB conversation with CB slang
CB slang
CB slang is the distinctive anti-language, argot or cant which developed amongst users of citizens' band radio , especially truck drivers in the USA during the 1970s and early-1980s....

, the narration of the story, and the chorus
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

. It is about a fictitious trucker rebellion that drives from the west to the east coast of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 without stopping. What they are protesting against (other than the 55 mph speed limit
Speed limit
Road speed limits are used in most countries to regulate the speed of road vehicles. Speed limits may define maximum , minimum or no speed limit and are normally indicated using a traffic sign...

), is shown by lines such as "we tore up all of our swindle sheets" (CB slang for log sheets used to record driving hours; the term referenced the practice of falsifying entries to show that drivers were getting proper sleep when, in reality, the drivers were driving more than the prescribed number of hours before mandatory rest) and "left 'em settin' on the scales" (CB slang for Department of Transportation weigh station
Weigh station
A weigh station is a checkpoint along a highway to inspect vehicular weights. Usually, trucks and commercial vehicles are subject to the inspection....

s on Interstates and highways to verify the weight of the truck and the drivers' hours of working through log books). The song also refers to toll roads: "We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."

The conversation is between "Rubber Duck," "Pig Pen" and "Sodbuster," primarily through Rubber Duck's side of the conversation. The narration and CB chatter are by Fries.

At the beginning of the song a "Kenworth
Kenworth is an American manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty Class 8 trucks based in Kirkland, Washington, United States, a suburb of Seattle. It is a subsidiary of PACCAR, and is also a former manufacturer of transit buses and school buses.-History:...

 pulling logs," being driven by Rubber Duck, is the "front door" (the leader) of three eighteen-wheelers
Semi-trailer truck
A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or articulated truck or articulated lorry, is an articulated vehicle consisting of a towing engine , and a semi-trailer A semi-trailer truck, also known as a semi, tractor-trailer, or (in the United Kingdom and Ireland) articulated truck...

Tractor unit
A tractor unit, prime mover , road tractor, or traction unit is a heavy-duty commercial vehicle within the large goods vehicle category, usually with a large displacement diesel engine, and several axles. The tractor unit serves as a method of moving trailers...

 and semi-trailer
A semi-trailer is a trailer without a front axle. A large proportion of its weight is supported by a road tractor, a detachable front axle assembly known as a dolly, or the tail of another trailer...

) when he realizes they have a convoy
A convoy is a group of vehicles, typically motor vehicles or ships, traveling together for mutual support and protection. Often, a convoy is organized with armed defensive support, though it may also be used in a non-military sense, for example when driving through remote areas.-Age of Sail:Naval...

. Following the Rubber Duck is an unnamed trucker in a "cab-over Pete with a reefer on" (a refrigerated
Refrigerator car
A refrigerator car is a refrigerated boxcar , a piece of railroad rolling stock designed to carry perishable freight at specific temperatures. Refrigerator cars differ from simple insulated boxcars and ventilated boxcars , neither of which are fitted with cooling apparatus...

 trailer, hauled by a Peterbilt
Peterbilt Motors Company is an American manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty Class 5 through Class 8 trucks headquartered in Denton, Texas. Founded in 1939 Peterbilt operates manufacturing facilities in Denton, Texas , and Sainte-Thérèse, Quebec...

 truck configured with the cab over the engine
Cab over
Cab-over, also known as COE , cab forward, or forward control, is a body style of truck or van that has a vertical front or "flat face", with the cab of the truck sitting above the front axle...

), while Pig Pen brings up the rear (the "back door") in a "'Jimmy' (GMC truck) haulin' hogs
A pig is any of the animals in the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates. Pigs include the domestic pig, its ancestor the wild boar, and several other wild relatives...


The convoy begins toward "Flagtown" (Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff, Arizona
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2010, the city's population was 65,870. The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area was at 134,421 in 2010. It is the county seat of Coconino County...

) at night on June 6 on "I-one-oh" (I-10
Interstate 10
Interstate 10 is the fourth-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, after I-90, I-80, and I-40. It is the southernmost east–west, coast-to-coast Interstate Highway, although I-4 and I-8 are further south. It stretches from the Pacific Ocean at State Route 1 in Santa Monica,...

) just outside "Shakytown" (San Francisco, California. due to its earth tremors. although, I-10 does not go to San Francisco, but goes to Los Angeles, which is referred to as Shaky City in CB slang). By the time they get to "Tulsatown" (Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is the second-largest city in the state of Oklahoma and 46th-largest city in the United States. With a population of 391,906 as of the 2010 census, it is the principal municipality of the Tulsa Metropolitan Area, a region with 937,478 residents in the MSA and 988,454 in the CSA. Tulsa's...

), there are 85 trucks and the "bears / Smokeys" (police, a reference to the campaign hats worn by many state police departments as well as the United States Forest Service
United States Forest Service
The United States Forest Service is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass...

 mascot Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear
Smokey Bear is a mascot of the United States Forest Service created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. An advertising campaign featuring Smokey was created in 1944 with the slogan, "Smokey Says – Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires". Smokey Bear's later slogan,...

) have set up a road block and have a "bear in the air" (police helicopter). By the time they get to "Chi-town" (Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...

), the convoy includes "Sodbuster" (another trucker in an unspecified make of truck), a "suicide jockey" (truck hauling explosives) and "eleven long-haired friends of Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

 (11 born-again hippies) in a chartreuse
Chartreuse (color)
Chartreuse is a color halfway between yellow and green that was named because of its resemblance to the green color of one of the French liqueurs called green chartreuse, introduced in 1764...

 microbus" (a Volkswagen Type 2), and the police have called out "reinforcements from the 'Illi-noise' (Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

) National Guard
United States National Guard
The National Guard of the United States is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia members or units under federally recognized active or inactive armed force service for the United States. Militia members are citizen soldiers, meaning they work part time for the National...

." The convoy crashes another road block when crossing a toll bridge into New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, and by this time they have "a thousand screamin' trucks" in all.

The song's running gag has Rubber Duck complaining about the smell of the hogs that Pig Pen is hauling. He repeatedly asks the offending driver to "back off" (slow down). By the end, Pig Pen has fallen so far back, when Rubber Duck is in New Jersey, Pig Pen has only gotten as far as Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha is the largest city in the state of Nebraska, United States, and is the county seat of Douglas County. It is located in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of the mouth of the Platte River...

 (a reference to the headquarters of American Gramaphone
American Gramaphone
American Gramaphone is an American record company, and was formed in 1974 by Chip Davis. It is best-known for releasing Davis' solo and Mannheim Steamroller albums...

, which released the song, and also a reference to the slaughterhouses for which Omaha is famous). Also, Omaha was C.W. McCall's "home 20" (a reference to the ten-code
Ten-codes, also known as ten signals, are code words used to represent common phrases in voice communication, particularly by law enforcement and in Citizens' Band radio transmissions....

 for location).

Chart performance

Chart (1975) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Singles 19
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks 13
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
Australian Singles Chart 1
U.K. Singles Chart 2
Irish Singles Chart 2
Austrian Top 40 19
German Singles Chart 43
French Singles Chart 76


McCall's "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck
'Round the World with the Rubber Duck
"Round the World with the Rubber Duck" is the 1976 novelty song performed by C.W. McCall that was the sequel to the similar truck-driving country hit, Convoy. "Round the World with the Rubber Duck" continues the story about the fictitious truck convoy from the song Convoy...

" is the sequel to "Convoy." In this continuation, the convoy leaves the United States and travels around the world, through Britain, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, West
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

 and East Germany
German Democratic Republic
The German Democratic Republic , informally called East Germany by West Germany and other countries, was a socialist state established in 1949 in the Soviet zone of occupied Germany, including East Berlin of the Allied-occupied capital city...

, the USSR
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, and Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...



C. W. McCall recorded a new version of the song with saltier lyrics for the soundtrack of the 1978 film Convoy. McCall also made two additional re-recordings of the original song, one for his 1990 album The Real McCall: An American Storyteller
The Real McCall: An American Storyteller
The Real McCall: An American Storyteller is an album by country musician C. W. McCall, released on American Gramaphone in 1990 and rereleased in 1999 . It features revamped digital versions of some of McCall's better known songs, including "Convoy", "Wolf Creek Pass" and "Black Bear Road",...

, and the other for the 2003 Mannheim Steamroller
Mannheim Steamroller
Mannheim Steamroller is an American music group founded by Chip Davis and Jackson Berkey, known primarily for its modern recordings of Christmas music. The group has sold 28 million albums in the U.S. alone.-Beginnings:...

 album American Spirit
American Spirit (album)
American Spirit is an album released on American Gramaphone in 2003 as a collaboration between Mannheim Steamroller and country musician C. W. McCall. The album focuses on American patriotic songs, hence the title...

. He also recorded a Christmas version titled "Christmas Convoy."

In 1976 a parody, Convoy GB, featuring BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1
BBC Radio 1 is a British national radio station operated by the British Broadcasting Corporation which also broadcasts internationally, specialising in current popular music and chart hits throughout the day. Radio 1 provides alternative genres after 7:00pm including electronic dance, hip hop, rock...

 DJs Dave Lee Travis
Dave Lee Travis
Dave Lee Travis , also known professionally as DLT and the Hairy Cornflake, is a British radio presenter, best known for his career on BBC Radio 1.-Early life:...

 and Paul Burnett
Paul Burnett
Paul Burnett is an English radio disc jockey, who began his radio career while in the Royal Air Force in the Persian Gulf in 1964. In 1966 he joined offshore radio station, Radio 270, broadcasting off Scarborough, North Yorkshire...

 as Laurie Lingo & The Dipsticks, made #4 on the UK singles chart. In this version, the two truckers are "Superscouse" and "Plastic Chicken". ;

Another parody, Chat Room, was produced by Bob Rivers
Bob Rivers
Bob Rivers is a well-known American rock and roll radio on air personality in the Pacific Northwest as well as a prolific producer of parody songs, most famous for his Christmas song parodies....


In 1981, rap artist Blowfly
Blowfly (artist)
Blowfly is the stage name and alternate persona of Clarence Reid , who was a songwriter for many hit R&B acts in the 1960s and 1970s. As Blowfly, he has recorded numerous albums, mostly of sex-based parodies of other songs, as well as original raps themed around sex...

 recorded a "dirty" rap version of the song on his album Rappin Dancing and Laughin.

In 2010, country-rap
Country rap is a subgenre of popular music blending country music with hip hop music-style rapping, also known as hick-hop. The genre has been identified as a genre for about twenty years....

 artist Colt Ford
Colt Ford
Jason Farris Brown known professionally as Colt Ford, is an American country music artist and former professional golfer. He has released three albums via his own Average Joe's label, and has charted four singles on the Hot Country Songs charts...

 recorded the song for his 2010 album Chicken & Biscuits
Chicken & Biscuits
-Album:-End of year charts:-Singles:...


Paul Brandt version

The song was covered
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 in 2004 by Paul Brandt
Paul Brandt
Paul Rennée Belobersycky is a Canadian country music artist, known professionally as Paul Brandt. Growing up in Calgary, he was a pediatric RN at the time of his big break...

. The video features Brandt and fellow country singers Jason McCoy
Jason McCoy
Jason McCoy is a Canadian singer/songwriter who performs country music.He was born in Barrie, Ontario and was raised for a time in Camrose, Alberta before his family settled in Anten Mills, Ontario.He has won many awards including the 2001 Male Vocalist of the Year at the Canadian Country Music...

 and Aaron Lines
Aaron Lines
Anthony Aaron Lines is a Canadian country musician. Active since 2001, he has recorded for RCA, BNA and On Ramp Records, and has charted three singles on the Hot Country Songs charts in the United States.-Love Changes Everything:...

 as well as then Calgary Flames
Calgary Flames
The Calgary Flames are a professional ice hockey team based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. They are members of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Hockey League . The club is the third major-professional ice hockey team to represent the city of Calgary, following the...

 defensemen Mike Commodore
Mike Commodore
Michael Commodore is a Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Detroit Red Wings of the National Hockey League .-Playing career:...

 and Rhett Warrener
Rhett Warrener
Rhett Adam Warrener is a former Canadian professional ice hockey defenceman who played over 700 games in the National Hockey League for the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres and Calgary Flames...

 as truckers and George Canyon
George Canyon
George Canyon is a Canadian country music singer. He was runner up Nashville Star 2 in 2004. He grew up in Fox Brook, Pictou County, Nova Scotia and later lived in Hopewell, Nova Scotia before he moved west. He currently lives in High River, Alberta...

, of Nashville Star
Nashville Star
Nashville Star is an American reality television program. It was transmitted during mid-2008 on NBC, following five seasons on USA Network. It premiered on March 8, 2003, and its five seasons on USA made it the longest-running competition series on cable television. In Canada, the show aired on CMT...

fame, as the highway patrol officer. The video was seen on CMT
Country Music Television
Country Music Television, or CMT, is an American country music-oriented cable television network. Programming includes music videos, taped concerts, movies, biographies of country music stars, game shows, and reality programs...

 in both Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. It was filmed at CFB/ASU Wainwright on Airfield 21. The song appears on the 2004 album This Time Around
This Time Around (Paul Brandt album)
This Time Around is the fourth studio album by Canadian country music singer Paul Brandt, released on Orange Music Canada, a subsidiary of Universal Music Group, in 2004...


Brandt also recorded a version of "Christmas Convoy" which appears on the 2006 holiday album A Gift
A Gift
A Gift is the second Christmas album by Canadian country music singer Paul Brandt. It won the 2007 Gospel Music Association of Canada Covenant Award for Seasonal Album of the Year, while the title song "A Gift" won the Seasonal Song of the Year award....

. In this version, the convoy helps Santa deliver his toys after a bad storm.

External links

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