The White Knight (Cledus Maggard song)

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"The White Knight"
Single by Cledus Maggard & The Citizen's Band
from the album The White Knight
Released December 1975 (U.S.)
Format 7"
Recorded 1975
Genre Country
Length 4:05
7:12 (extended version)
Label Mercury 73751
Writer(s) Jay Huguely
Producer(s) Leslie Advertising
Cledus Maggard & The Citizen's Band singles chronology
"The White Knight"
(1975)
"Kentucky Moonrunner"
(1976)

"The White Knight" is a novelty country music song made famous by Jay Huguely, who - recording as Cledus Maggard & The Citizen's Band - enjoyed a brief run of national popularity with the song when it became popular in 1976.

Song story[edit]

Huguely was working as an advertising salesman at an agency named Leslie Advertising in Greenville, South Carolina in the mid-1970s when he was approached to help with an advertising campaign centering on the then fast-growing citizens' band radio craze. According to writer Tom Roland, Huguely knew little about the CB radio but agreed to help out.

After taking notes and getting help from his co-workers on deciphering the jargon, he went to work on writing a song.[1]

Plot[edit]

Huguely's finished product was a story about an over-the-road truck driver who receives a CB call from an individual claiming to be a truck driver. Identifying himself as "The White Knight," the other driver broadcasts information to the main protagonist that there are no "smokeys" (police officers) in sight and that he can drive as fast as he wants to.

Unfortunately for the song's hero, The White Knight is a corrupt highway patrolman who has used the CB radio to broadcast misleading traffic information to truck drivers, hoping to lure them into a speed trap. The plan works, and the hero is pulled over for going "40 miles over the speed limit" (i.e., 95 mph, although the singer only attests to going 92 mph). The main hero is left to exclaim "Bubblegum-machine done hit the jackpot" as he is being pulled over, taken to jail, and his truck confiscated.

The "White Knight" appears in a cameo in the follow-up single, "Kentucky Moonrunner." While the singer in "The White Knight" attempts to speed only when he believes no cops are present, the titular Kentucky Moonrunner simply outruns them with superior speed, recorded at over 150 miles per hour. The White Knight catches the Kentucky Moonrunner when he crosses into Georgia from Tennessee, with no explanation of how he could do so when the Tennessee cops could not.

Chart performance[edit]

"The White Knight" reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in February 1976 and was a modest pop hit, peaking at number nineteen on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was Maggard's only nationwide release to reach the Top 40 on either chart.

The song was one of three number one songs in which the CB radio is central to the plot to top the Hot Country Singles chart during 1976. The other songs were:

A fourth song, Johnny Cash's "One Piece at a Time," topped the chart one year earlier, which also includes a short dialogue of CB conversation at the end of the song.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1976) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 19
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 8
Canadian RPM Top Singles 50

References and sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roland, Tom, "The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits" (Billboard Books, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1991 (ISBN 0-82-307553-2)), p. 161

See also[edit]

  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs: 1944-2005," 2006.
Preceded by
"Sometimes"
by Bill Anderson and Mary Lou Turner
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

February 14, 1976
Succeeded by
"Good Hearted Woman"
by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson