C.W. McCall has died. His “Convoy” story ends in New Jersey (kind of)
C.W. McCall, best known for "Convoy," has died after a battle with cancer.
He had confirmed in February that he was in hospice. C.W. McCall was 93.
McCall, whose real name was Bill Fries, was an advertising executive in the early 1970's, when he first came up with the character of C.W. McCall for a 1973 commercial for "Old Home Bread."
That ad won a "Clio Award," which led Fries...performing as the character from the commercial, who was a truck driver...to record a number of albums filled with humor-filled songs, many referencing "Outlaw Country" themes, and the life of a long-haul truck driver.
McCall had a long musical partnership with Chip Davis, who began his career writing jingles for the same ad agency. The pair collaborated on most of the C.W. McCall hits. Davis, who would go on to found "Manheim Steamroller," wrote the music, while McCall wrote the words and sang the vocals.
Which brings us to "Convoy," McCall's biggest hit...and that New Jersey "connection."
The next time you are on the New Jersey Turnpike or Garden State Parkway, I'm hoping that "Convoy" pops into your head.
"Convoy," sung by McCall (above)...
...went to #1 on the Billboard pop chart on January 10, 1976.
You might recall that at the time, the CB (citizen's band) radio was all the rage.
"Convoy" tells the story of a fictional trucker rebellion that starts on the west coast, and heads east without stopping.
Convoy participants are fed up with the national 55 mile per hour speed limit, mandated working hour log sheets, weigh stations, and...tolls.
Told through supposed CB conversation (using CB lingo), story narration, and the song's chorus...the convoy starts just outside Los Angeles ("Shakeytown"), and picks up participants, and a police presence ("bears/smokeys") as it heads east.
"We're gonna roll this truckin' convoy 'cross the U.S.A."
"Rubber Duck's" story comes to a head, as the convoy of "a thousand screamin' trucks" crashes a police roadblock.
A toll bridge in New Jersey.
'Cuz "We just ain't a-gonna pay no toll."
So, the next time that you are on the New Jersey Turnpike or the Garden State Parkway...especially if you're paying your toll with cash...think of C.W. McCall and his connection with the Great Garden State (kind of).
Rest in peace, Bill Fries (I mean, C.W. McCall).
10-4, good Jersey buddy.