Song: “Convoy” by C.W. McCall
Reached #1: January 10, 1976 (his first, 1 week)
Does anyone actually remember CB (Citizens Band) Radios? I don’t think I ever owned one… but I know people who did. And it was left to a songwriter named Bill Fries (under the more Southern-sounding stage name C.W. McCall) to memorialize them forever…
Yes, the classic novelty song – a semi-serious song about a semi-serious subject. There was Ray Stevens’ “The Streak” (and his more politically-incorrect “Ahab the Arab”), David Seville’s experiments with pitch control that became the Chipmunks, Napoleon XIV’s “They’re Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Haaa!”… more recently, “The Curly Shuffle” (which, if it doesn’t get used in the upcoming Three Stooges movie, would be criminal) from the Jump N The Saddle Band, “The Chanukah Song” from Adam Sandler, and – of course – Weird Al Yankovic’s entire body of work.
So it was this tradition that Bill Fries stepped into when he decided to have some fun with the CB radio craze of the mid-70’s. He had already created the character of C.W. McCall for TV ads in his hometown of Omaha – and now you know why Omaha got a mention in the song – so it made sense to use the McCall character to send up the whole CB radio/trucker culture. But Fries wasn’t a musician, so he needed some help. He enlisted his friend Chip to do the music for “Convoy”.
Chip was also the owner of a record label, American Gramophone, which released the single. But that’s not all you know Chip for.
Right. The music for “Convoy” was written by the guy who’d go on to found Mannheim Steamroller, Chip Davis.
As the late Paul Harvey used to say, now you know… the rest of the story.
Tomorrow’s the first day of the year without a #1 song to write about, but not to worry, I’ve got something planned.
No other songs reached #1 on January 10.