Convoy (song)

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Single by C. W. McCall
from the album Black Bear Road
B-side"Long Lonesome Road"
ReleasedNovember 1975
  • Don Sears
  • Chip Davis
C. W. McCall singles chronology
"Black Bear Road"
"There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock 'n' Roll)"

"Convoy" is a 1975 novelty song performed by C. W. McCall (a character co-created and voiced by Bill Fries, along with Chip Davis) that became a number-one song on both the country and pop charts in the US and is listed 98th among Rolling Stone magazine's 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.[1] Written by McCall and Chip Davis, the song spent six weeks at number one on the country charts[2] and one week at number one on the pop charts. The song went to number one in Canada as well, hitting the top of the RPM Top Singles Chart on January 24, 1976.[3] "Convoy" also peaked at number two in the UK. The song capitalized on the fad for citizens band (CB) radio. The song was the inspiration for the 1978 Sam Peckinpah film Convoy, for which McCall rerecorded the song to fit the film's storyline.[4]

The song received newfound popularity with its use during the 2022 Freedom Convoy.[5][6][7] In a call with WRIF's Drew & Mike Show shortly before he died, Fries expressed enthusiasm over the Freedom Convoy's use of his song "only because his biggest hit [was] getting a second life."[8][9]


The song consists of three types of interspersed dialogue: a simulated CB conversation with CB slang, the narration of the story, and the chorus. It is about a fictional trucker rebellion that drives from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States without stopping.[10] What they are protesting (other than the 55 mph speed limit, then recently introduced in response to the 1973 oil crisis) 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 referred to 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 sittin' on the scales" (CB slang for US Department of Transportation weigh stations 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."[11]

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 McCall.[12]

At the beginning of the song, Rubber Duck is the "front door" (the leader) of three semi-trailer trucks (tractor and semi-trailer) when he realizes they have a convoy. Following the Rubber Duck, Pig Pen brings up the rear (the "back door") in a "'Jimmy' haulin' hogs" (a truck powered by a two-stroke Detroit Diesel engine-A.K.A. Screamin' Jimmy, after Detroit Diesel's then-owner General Motors[13]-with a livestock semi-trailer loaded with live pigs). The two other trucks are a Kenworth pulling logs, and a cab-over Peterbilt with a "reefer" (refrigerated trailer) attached; the lyrics are unclear which one of the two the Rubber Duck was driving (the sequel song "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck" more strongly implies he indeed is driving the Peterbilt,[14] which would be consistent with McCall's previous songs and commercials portraying him as a bread truck driver[15]).

The convoy begins at night on June 6 on "I-one-oh" (I-10) just outside "Shakeytown" (Los Angeles, California), as the Rubber Duck informs the two trucks that "it's clean clear to Flagtown" (Flagstaff, Arizona) and that he is going to "put the hammer down" ("hammer" being the accelerator pedal) as the convoy plans to "cross the USA." By the time they get to "Tulsatown" (Tulsa, Oklahoma), there are 85 trucks and the "bears / Smokeys" (state police, specifically the highway patrol, who commonly wear the same campaign hats as the United States Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear) have set up a road block on the cloverleaf interchange and have a "bear in the air" (police helicopter). The convoy moves onto Interstate 44, and by the time they reach "Chi-town" (Chicago, Illinois), the convoy—now 1,001 vehicles strong—includes a driver with the handle "Sodbuster", a "suicide jockey" (truck hauling explosives, in this case dynamite), and "11 long-haired friends of Jesus" in a "chartreuse (Volkswagen) Microbus". Rubber Duck directs the Microbus behind the dynamite truck for divine protection. Meanwhile, the police have called out "reinforcements from the 'Illi-noise' (Illinois) National Guard" and have filled the "chicken coops" (weigh stations) in an effort to stall and/or break up the convoy. Rubber Duck tells the convoy to disregard the toll as they head for the state border and continue east toward the New Jersey shore, crashing through the toll gate at 98 miles per hour (158 km/h), well above the national 55 mph limit in place at the time, in the process.

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 got detached from the convoy between Tulsa and Chicago and ended up in Omaha, Nebraska (a reference to the headquarters of American Gramaphone, which released the song, as well as Bozell & Jacobs, who created the C. W. McCall character; Omaha is infamous for its slaughterhouses, which a truck with cargo like the hogs hauled by Pig Pen would likely head to).

Chart history[edit]


McCall's "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck" is the sequel to "Convoy".[36] In this continuation, the convoy leaves the U.S. and travels around the world, through Britain, France, West and East Germany, the USSR, Japan, and Australia.[37]

Remakes and covers[edit]

Paul Brandt version[edit]

The song was covered in 2004 by Paul Brandt.[42] The video features Brandt and fellow country singers Jason McCoy and Aaron Lines as well as then Calgary Flames defencemen Mike Commodore and Rhett Warrener as truckers and George Canyon, of Nashville Star fame, as the highway patrol officer. The video was seen on CMT in both Canada and the United States. It was filmed at CFB/ASU Wainwright on Airfield 21. The song appears on the 2004 album This Time Around.

Brandt also recorded a Christmas version called "Christmas Convoy", which appears on the 2006 holiday album A Gift. In this version, the convoy helps Santa deliver his toys after a bad storm.


  1. ^ "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 1, 2014. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 220.
  3. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada". Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved September 17, 2011.
  4. ^ "Country Singer C.W. McCall of 'Convoy' Fame Dies at 93". Yahoo Sports. April 4, 2022. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  5. ^ Barnett, Betsy (March 2, 2022). "We Got Us a Convoy: The Colorado Freedom Convoy Heads East on I70 on Thursday". Kiowa County Independent. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  6. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (April 4, 2022). "Forever No. 1: C.W. McCall's 'Convoy'". Billboard. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  7. ^ "Country music star C.W. McCall dies at 93". MSN. April 12, 2022. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  8. ^ Dukes, Billy (February 17, 2022). "'Convoy' Singer C.W. McCall Is in Hospice". Taste of Country. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  9. ^ "Drew And Mike – February 9, 2022 – The Drew and Mike Show". February 10, 2022. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  10. ^ Ochs, Meredith (June 6, 2017). "How A Trucker's Protest Anthem Became A '70s Hit". NPR. Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  11. ^ Moore, Addie (April 28, 2020). "How C.W. McCall's 'Convoy' Became a Cultural Phenomenon". Wide Open Country. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  12. ^ Unterberger, Andrew (April 4, 2022). "Forever No. 1: C.W. McCall's 'Convoy'". Billboard. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  13. ^ Jensen, James. "Detroit Diesel - North American Diesel icon".
  14. ^ "'Round The World With The Rubber Duck". The Works of C.W. McCall : Rubber Duck. TechRen Enterprises. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2009. ...And them cab-over Petes don't float.
  15. ^ Ligo, Joe (May 19, 2021). "The 1970s Trucking Craze Can Be Traced Back to a Regional TV Commercial for Bread". The Drive. Retrieved December 12, 2023.
  16. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1976". Kent Music Report. December 27, 1976. Retrieved January 11, 2022 – via Imgur.
  17. ^ C.W. MCCALL - CONVOY - Retrieved 2023-04-28
  18. ^ "RPM Country Playlist - January 17, 1976" (PDF).
  19. ^ "RPM Top Singles - January 24, 1976" (PDF).
  20. ^ "RPM Pop Music Playlist - January 17, 1976" (PDF).
  21. ^ C.W. MCCALL - CONVOY - Retrieved 2023-04-28
  22. ^ C.W. MCCALL - CONVOY - Retrieved 2023-04-28
  23. ^ - C.W. McCall - ConvoyRetrieved 2023-04-28
  24. ^ C.W. MCCALL - CONVOY - Retrieved 2023-04-28
  25. ^ CW MCCALL | full Official Chart History Retrieved 2023-04-28
  26. ^ "C.W. McCall Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  27. ^ "C.W. McCall Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  28. ^ "C.W. McCall Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  29. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 1/31/76". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  30. ^ "National Top 100 Singles for 1976". Kent Music Report. December 27, 1976. Retrieved January 15, 2022 – via Imgur.
  31. ^ "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on June 2, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2017.
  32. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 26, No. 14 & 15, January 08 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Archived from the original on March 19, 2016. Retrieved March 24, 2017.
  33. ^ "The Official New Zealand Music Chart". THE OFFICIAL NZ MUSIC CHART.
  34. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1976/Top 100 Songs of 1976". Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  35. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1976". Archived from the original on October 20, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  36. ^ Christy, Richard (February 18, 1977). "Record Reviews". The Kingston Whig-Standard (Kingston, Ontario, Canada). p. 42.
  37. ^ C.W. McCall – 'Round The World With The Rubber Duck, retrieved April 28, 2023
  38. ^ "The Bob Rivers Show with Bob Spike and Joe". Archived from the original on October 23, 2011. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  39. ^ "Sheeler and Sheeler: Car Phone". Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  40. ^ "Álbumes originales de Mocedades: Amor de hombre". Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  41. ^ "Album: Amor de hombre de Mocedades en". Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved August 24, 2014.
  42. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "This Time Around – Paul Brandt". Allmusic. Retrieved August 17, 2011.

External links[edit]