You Never Even Called Me by My Name
|"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"|
|Single by David Allan Coe|
|B-side||"Would You Lay with Me"|
|Format||7" single, airplay|
John Prine (uncredited)
|David Allan Coe singles chronology|
"You Never Even Called Me by My Name" is a song written by Steve Goodman and John Prine, and recorded by country music singer David Allan Coe. 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. The song, over five minutes long, is known for its humorous self-description as "the perfect country and western song."
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 country music industry of the era blatantly refused to acknowledge the writers' and artist's fringe style; Goodman, despite success penning the folk-pop crossover "City of New Orleans," was still considered an outsider and neophyte. 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 a spoken epilogue preceding 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, upon receiving the song, explained to Goodman that he was wrong; there was no way a song could be "the perfect country and western song" without mentioning a laundry list of clichés: “mama, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or getting drunk.” Goodman then proceeded to add the final verse, incorporating all five of Coe's facetious "requirements," whereupon Coe agreed that now it was "the perfect country-and-western song" and felt obliged to add it to the end of the record:
I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison
And I went to pick'er up in the rain
But before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned ol' train
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles||8|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||4|
Doug Supernaw version
|"You Never Even Called Me by My Name"|
|Single by Doug Supernaw|
|from the album Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind|
|Format||CD single, airplay|
|Doug Supernaw singles chronology|
In 1994, Doug Supernaw recorded a cover version on his second studio album, Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind. Supernaw's rendition features a guest vocal from Coe himself, as well as guest appearances by Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride, all of whom are mentioned in the original song's second verse. It was the second single release from Supernaw's album.
This version spent seven weeks on the Billboard country charts, peaking at number 60. Only Supernaw was credited for it on the charts.
|Canada Country Tracks (RPM)||68|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||60|
- Whitburn, Joel (2008). Hot Country Songs 1944 to 2008. Record Research, Inc. p. 98. ISBN 0-89820-177-2.
- Whitburn, p. 412
- Nash, Alanna (23 September 1994). "Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 14 February 2010.
- "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 2625." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. October 17, 1994. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- "Doug Supernaw – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Doug Supernaw.