C. W. McCall

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C. W. McCall
Birth nameWilliam Dale Fries, Jr.
Born(1928-11-15) November 15, 1928 (age 85)
Audubon, Iowa
GenresCountry
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
Years active1974-present
LabelsMGM, Polydor, Mercury
 
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C. W. McCall
Birth nameWilliam Dale Fries, Jr.
Born(1928-11-15) November 15, 1928 (age 85)
Audubon, Iowa
GenresCountry
OccupationsSinger-songwriter
Years active1974-present
LabelsMGM, Polydor, Mercury

C. W. McCall is the pseudonym of William Dale Fries, Jr. (born November 15, 1928, Audubon, Iowa, United States), an American singer, activist and politician known for his truck-themed outlaw country songs. While most of the songs tended to be humorous or amusing, even reaching it could be said somewhat into the "Novelty" category, some also had serious commentary rooted in environmental conservation & protection issues of their day. Historic western U.S. places or events were another frequent subject, while some others were written to reflect patriotic themes or as commentary on the political climate of the era & times during which they were released in.

Biography[edit]

In 1973, while working as a creative director for Bozell & Jacobs, an Omaha, Nebraska advertising agency, Fries created a Clio Award-winning (1974) television advertising campaign advertising Old Home Bread for the Metz Baking Company. The advertisements featured a truck driver named C. W. McCall, who was played by Dallas, Texas, actor Jim Finlayson. The waitress named Mavis Davis was played by Dallas actress Jean McBride Capps. The commercial's success led to songs such as "Old Home Filler-Up an' Keep on a-Truckin' Café", "Wolf Creek Pass" and "Black Bear Road". Fries wrote the lyrics and sang while Chip Davis, later of Mannheim Steamroller, wrote the music.

McCall is best known for the 1976 #1 hit song "Convoy", which came at the peak of the CB fad in the United States. It sold over two million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A. in December 1975.[1] Though McCall is not a one-hit wonder, "Convoy" has since become his signature song. McCall first charted the song "Wolf Creek Pass", which reached #40 on the U.S. pop top 40 in 1975. At least three other songs reached Billboard's pop Hot 100, including "Old Home Filler-Up an' Keep on a-Truckin' Cafe", "'Round the World with the Rubber Duck" (a pirate-flavored sequel to "Convoy"), as well as the environmentally-oriented "There Won't Be No Country Music (There Won't Be No Rock 'n' Roll)". A dozen McCall songs appeared in Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, including the sentimental "Roses for Mama" (1977).

In 1978, the movie Convoy was released, based on the C.W. McCall song. The film starred Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Burt Young and Ernest Borgnine and was directed by Sam Peckinpah. It featured a new version of the song, written specially for the film.

In addition to the "original six" McCall albums released between 1975 and 1979, two rare singles exist. "Kidnap America" was a politically/socially-conscious track released in 1980 during the Iran hostage crisis, while "Pine Tar Wars" referred to an event that actually happened in a New York Yankees-Kansas City Royals baseball game during 1983 (a dispute concerning the application of a large quantity of pine tar to a baseball bat used by George Brett, one of the Royals players).

In 1986, McCall (William Fries) was elected mayor of the town of Ouray, Colorado, ultimately serving for six years.[2]

In 1990, American Gramaphone Records issued a CD containing a number of old McCall tracks re-recorded for the digital CD age, plus a new song, "Comin' Back For More", which was inspired by Alferd Packer, an alleged 19th century cannibal.

In 2014, Rolling Stone magazine ranked "Convoy" #98 in their list of the 100 greatest country songs.[3]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

YearAlbum detailsPeak chart positionsCertification
(sales threshold)
US CountryUSCANNZ
1975Wolf Creek Pass4143
Black Bear Road
  • Released: September 1975
  • Label: MGM Records
1121619
1976Wilderness9143
Rubber Duck
  • Released: 1976
  • Label: Polydor Records
29
1977Roses for Mama
  • Released: 1977
  • Label: Polydor Records
22
1979C. W. McCall & Co.
  • Released: 1979
  • Label: Polydor Records
1990The Real McCall: An American Storyteller
2003American Spirit (with Mannheim Steamroller)
  • Released: May 20, 2003
  • Label: American Gramaphone
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Compilation albums[edit]

YearAlbum detailsPeak positions
US Country
1978C. W. McCall's Greatest Hits
  • Released: 1978
  • Label: Polydor Records
45
1989Four Wheel Cowboy
1991The Legendary C. W. McCall
  • Released: 1991
  • Label: PolyGram Records
1997The Best of C. W. McCall
  • Released: 1997
  • Label: PSM Records
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Singles[edit]

YearSinglePeak chart positionsAlbum
US CountryUSCAN CountryCANCAN ACAUNZAUT
1974"Old Home Filler-Up an' Keep On-a-Truckin' Cafe"1954124444Wolf Creek Pass
"Wolf Creek Pass"124046
1975"Classified"1310145
"Black Bear Road"2442Black Bear Road
"Convoy"1141131119
1976"There Won't Be No Country Music
(There Won't Be No Rock 'n' Roll)"
19738773777Wilderness
"Crispy Critters"32
"Four Wheel Cowboy"88
"'Round the World with the Rubber Duck"4010140Rubber Duck
1977"Audubon"56
"Roses for Mama"2574Roses for Mama
1978"Outlaws and Lone Star Beer"81C. W. McCall & Co.
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 361. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  2. ^ "'McCall' Leaves Office", Rocky Mountain News, January 14, 1992. Accessed March 25, 2008
  3. ^ "98. C.W. McCall, 'Convoy' (1975) Photo - 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. 2014-06-01. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]