Dave Dudley

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Dave Dudley
Dave Dudley.png
Background information
Birth nameDavid Darwin Pedruska
Born(1928-05-03)May 3, 1928
OriginSpencer, Wisconsin, United States
DiedDecember 22, 2003(2003-12-22) (aged 75)
Danbury, Wisconsin
GenresCountry music
Years active1961–2003
LabelsGolden Wing Records, Mercury Records
Associated actsDick Curless, Del Reeves, Tom T. Hall, Red Simpson
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Dave Dudley
Dave Dudley.png
Background information
Birth nameDavid Darwin Pedruska
Born(1928-05-03)May 3, 1928
OriginSpencer, Wisconsin, United States
DiedDecember 22, 2003(2003-12-22) (aged 75)
Danbury, Wisconsin
GenresCountry music
Years active1961–2003
LabelsGolden Wing Records, Mercury Records
Associated actsDick Curless, Del Reeves, Tom T. Hall, Red Simpson

Dave Dudley (May 3, 1928 – December 22, 2003), born David Darwin Pedruska, was an American country music singer best known for his truck-driving country anthems of the 1960s and 1970s and his semi-slurred baritone. His signature song was "Six Days on the Road," and he is also remembered for "Vietnam Blues," "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun," and "Me and ol' C.B.". Other recordings included Dudley's duet with Tom T. Hall, "Day Drinking," and his own Top 10 hit, "Fireball Rolled A Seven," supposedly based on the career and death of Edward Glenn "Fireball" Roberts.


Early life and rise to fame[edit]

Born in Spencer, Wisconsin, Dudley had a short career as a semi-professional baseball player.[citation needed] After he suffered an arm injury, he was no longer able to play baseball. He then decided to pursue a career in country music. He was one of the earliest artists to record for the National Recording Corporation, with "Where's There's A Will" (1959).

Dudley was injured once again in 1960, this time in a car accident, setting back his career in music.[citation needed] He first appeared on the Country charts in 1961 with "Maybe I Do," released by Vee Records.[citation needed] He later moved to Golden Wing Records.

Height of his career[edit]

In 1963, "Six Days on the Road" became a hit for Dudley. The song was written by Earl Green and Peanut Montgomery. It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.[1]

In the original version of the song as recorded by Dudley the lyrics include the words "...I'm taking little white pills and my eyes are open wide..." a reference to the stimulants some truckers used to keep driving (and make their delivery times) when they needed sleep. Some remakes of the song replace these words with a reference to looking at the white lines on the road. Dudley can be heard and seen singing the correct original lyrics in a 1971 performance currently available at YouTube.

In 1963, Dudley moved on to Mercury Records. By the end of 1963, he released his first single from the label, "Last Day in the Mines".[citation needed] Dudley scored more big hits in the 1960s, including "Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun", "Trucker's Prayer" and "Anything Leaving Town Today". "Six Days on the Road" has been covered by several artists, including George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Steve Earle, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Sawyer Brown.

Dudley continued to have success into the 1970s, while continuing to record for Mercury Records. He had some Country Top 10s in the 1970s, including "Comin' Down" and "Fly Away Again." By the late 1970s, his success on the charts was beginning to fade, although Dudley amassed thirty-three Top 40 Country hits.

In 1978 Dudley's name became known to the audience in Germany after the most successful German country band Truck Stop had a single Top 10 hit in Germany, titled "Ich möcht’ so gern Dave Dudley hör’n" ("I would like with such pleasure to hear Dave Dudley").

Decline and death[edit]

In the 1980s, Dudley continued to record sporadically, and remained popular in concert. During this time, he was elected to the 'Nashville Teamsters Truck Drivers Union', receiving a solid gold membership card from the union. During this time, he also found out that he had a big fan base in Europe, and he decided to try to appeal more to this market.[citation needed]. Later in life, Dudley retired to a cabin located on the west side of Staples Lake, near Danbury, Wisconsin. During this period, he was a conspicuous presence at certain local dining establishments. He was known to frequently engage other patrons, stating, "Do you know who I am? I'm Dave Dudley."

In total, Dudley recorded more than 70 albums. However, he did not manage to reclaim his past success, and neither his single "Where's That Truck?", recorded with disc jockey Charlie Douglas, nor the track "Dave Dudley, American Trucker", recorded in 2002 in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, helped revive his career. Few of his hits have made it onto CDs and albums, creating a market for his vintage vinyl recordings.

Dudley died on December 22, 2003, aged 75, after suffering a heart attack at his home on Staples Lake, near Danbury, Wisconsin.



YearAlbumUS CountryLabel
1963Dave Dudley Sings Six Days on the Road16Golden Wing
1964Songs About the Working Man19Mercury
Travelin' with Dave Dudley8
Talk of the Town16
1965Rural Route No. 1
Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun3
Greatest Hits
1966There's a Star-Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere12
Free and Easy10
1967My Kind of Love
Dave Dudley Country29
1968Greatest Hits Vol. 239
Thanks for All the Miles39
1969One More Mile15
George (And the North Woods)
1970The Best of Dave Dudley32
The Pool Shark16
1971Dave Dudley Sings Listen Betty (I'm Singing Your Song)32
Will the Real Dave Dudley Please Sing27
1972The Original Traveling Man18
1973Keep On Truckin'22
1975Special DeliveryUnited Artists
Uncommonly Good Country13
1977Chrome and PolishRice
1978On the Road Again
1980Interstate GoldSun
Diesel Duets (w/ Charlie Douglas)
1981King of the Road
1982Trucker's ChristmasCetera
198320 Great Truck Driver FavoritesPlantation
1984Nashville Rodeo SaloonBellaphon
1985Truck Drivin' Man


YearSingleChart PositionsAlbum
US CountryUSCAN Country
1955"Cry Baby Cry"singles only
1956"Ink Dries Quicker Than Tears"
"Rock and Roll Nursery Rhyme"
1959"I Just Want to Be Your Friend"
1960"It's Gotta Be That Way"
1961"Maybe I Do"28
1962"Under Cover of the Night"18
1963"Six Days on the Road"A232Songs About the Working Man
"Cowboy Boots"395
1964"Last Day in the Mines"7125
"Mad"6Talk of the Town
1965"Two Six Packs Away"15Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun
"Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun"3125
"What We're Fighting For"4There's a Star-Spangled Banner
Waving Somewhere
1966"Viet Nam Blues"12127
"Long Time Gone"15Free and Easy
1967"My Kind of Love"12My Kind of Love
"Trucker's Prayer"23Dave Dudley Country
"Anything Leaving Town Today"1220Greatest Hits Vol. 2
1968"There Ain't No Easy Run"105Thanks for All the Miles
"I Keep Coming Back for More"146
"Please Let Me Prove (My Love for You)"106One More Mile
1969"One More Mile"12
"George (And the North Woods)"104George (And the North Woods)
1970"The Pool Shark"14The Pool Shark
"This Night (Ain't Fit for Anything But Drinking)"2022
"Day Drinkin'" (w/ Tom T. Hall)2320single only
1971"Listen Betty (I'm Singing Your Song)"155Dave Dudley Sings Listen Betty
(I'm Singing Your Song)
"Comin' Down"817
"Fly Away Again"85Will the Real Dave Dudley Please Sing
1972"If It Feels Good Do It"1426The Original Travelling Man
"You've Gotta Cry Girl"1214
"We Know It's Over" (w/ Karen O'Donnal)40single only
1973"Keep On Truckin'"1910Keep On Truckin'
"It Takes Time"3727single only
"Rollin' Rig"47Special Delivery
1974"Have It Your Way"67
"Counterfeit Cowboy"61
1975"How Come It Took So Long (To Say Goodbye)"74
"Fireball Rolled a Seven"2124
"Wave at 'Em Billy Boy"Uncommonly Good Country
"Me and Ole C.B."128
1976"Sentimental Journey"47
"38 and Lonely"83Presents
"Rooster Hill"
1977"Just Memories"single only
"Devils in Heaven Bound Machines"Chrome and Polish
"Rollin' On (We Gone)"
1978"One A.M. Alone"95On the Road Again
"Wayward Wind"singles only
1979"Moonlight in Vermont"
1980"Last Run"Interstate Gold
"Big Fanny"Diesel Duets
"Rolaids, Doan's Pills and Preparation H"77King of the Road
"I Do"singles only
"I Was Country Before Barbara Mandrell"
1983"I Wish I Had a Nickel"Nashville Rodeo Saloon


  1. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 158. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 

Other sources[edit]

External links[edit]