You Never Even Called Me by My Name

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"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
Single by David Allan Coe
from the album Once Upon a Rhyme
B-side "Would You Lay with Me"[1]
Released June 1975
Format 7" single, airplay
Genre Country
Length 5:16
Label Columbia Nashville
Writer(s) Steve Goodman
John Prine (uncredited)
Producer(s) Ron Bledsoe
David Allan Coe singles chronology
"Would You Be My Lady"
(1975)
"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
(1975)
"Longhaired Redneck"
(1975)

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is a song written and recorded by Steve Goodman and John Prine, and later recorded by country music singer David Allan Coe, produced by Ron Bledsoe. It was the third single release of Coe's career, included on his album Once Upon a Rhyme. The song was Coe's first Top Ten hit, reaching a peak of number eight on the Billboard country singles charts.

Content[edit]

The song is a satirical response and kiss-off to the country music industry 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 love for the Nashville industry.

The song has been grossly misinterpreted by people such as Barbara Ching to be about the narrator and an actual woman; in fact, this is simply a metaphor.[2]

While the country music industry of the era blatantly refused to acknowledge the writers' and artist's fringe style, 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) and also makes reference to Faron Young's "Hello Walls" in the background vocals, noting that "you" (industry executives) "don't have to call me" any of those names anymore. In the third verse, Coe notes "the only time I know I'll hear David Allan Coe is when Jesus has his final Judgment Day," noting that he never expected the industry to recognize him by his individual merits.

In the song's iconic closing verse, Coe explains that "a friend of mine named Steve Goodman" wrote the song and considered it "the perfect country and western song". Coe told Goodman that "it was not the perfect country and western song because it hadn't said anything at all about mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk" (see also the much later phenomenon of bro-country, which frequently mentions pickup trucks, women and getting drunk in a similarly formulaic style). Goodman then proceeded to add the final verse, incorporating all five of Coe's facetious "requirements" ("I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison/And I went out to pick her up in the rain/But, before I could get to the station in my pick-up truck/She got runned over[sic] by a damned ol' train"), whereupon Coe agreed that now it was "the perfect country-and-western song".

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is accompanied mainly by resonator guitar, pedal steel guitar and electric guitar.

Chart performance[edit]

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" by David Allan Coe spent seventeen weeks on the Billboard country singles charts, peaking at number eight.[1]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 8
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 4

Doug Supernaw version[edit]

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
Single by Doug Supernaw
from the album Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind
B-side "State Fair"[3]
Released August 1994
Format CD single, airplay
Genre Country
Length 4:04
Label BNA
Producer(s) Richard Landis
Doug Supernaw singles chronology
"State Fair"
(1994)
"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"
(1994)
"What'll You Do About Me"
(1995)

In 1994, Doug Supernaw recorded a cover version on his second studio album, Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind.[4] Supernaw's rendition features a guest vocal from Coe himself, as well as guest appearances by Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride,[4] all of whom are mentioned in the original song's second verse. It was the second single release from Supernaw's album.

Critical reception[edit]

Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly considered Supernaw's cover the "most interesting" cut on the album, but thought that it was in too high of a key for the guest vocalists involved.[4]

Chart performance[edit]

This version spent seven weeks on the Billboard country charts, peaking at number 60. Only Supernaw was credited for it on the charts.[3]

Chart (1994) Peak
position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[5] 68
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 60

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-89820-177-2. 
  2. ^ Hill, Mike (1997). Whiteness: A Critical Reader. NYU Press. pp. 127–128. ISBN 0-8147-3545-2. 
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, p. 412
  4. ^ a b c Nash, Alanna (23 September 1994). "Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 February 2010. 
  5. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2625." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 17, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
  6. ^ "Doug Supernaw Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Doug Supernaw.

External links[edit]