ⓘ Six Days on the Road is an American song written by Earl Green and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery, made famous by country music singer Da ..


ⓘ Six Days on the Road

"Six Days on the Road" is an American song written by Earl Green and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio songwriter Carl Montgomery, made famous by country music singer Dave Dudley. The song was initially recorded by Paul Davis and was released in 1961 on the Bulletin label. In 1963, the song became a major hit when released by Dave Dudley, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and cracking the Top 40 on the Hot 100, leading to it being hailed as the definitive celebration of the American truck driver.

In 1997, more than 30 years after Dudleys original version charted, country music band Sawyer Brown took the song back to #13 on the Hot Country Songs chart.


1. Dave Dudley version

According to country music historian Bill Malone, "Six Days on the Road" was not the first truck driving song; Malone credits "Truck Drivers Blues" by Cliff Bruner, released in 1940, with that distinction. "Nor is it necessarily the best," said Malone, citing songs such as "Truck Drivin Man" by Terry Fell and "White Line Fever" by Merle Haggard and the Strangers as songs that "would certainly rival it".

However, "Six Days", Malone continued, "set off a vogue for such songs" that continued for many years. "The trucking songs coincided with country musics growing identification as working mans music in the 1960s," he said. Many country music artists and bands - including Alabama, Dick Curless, Merle Haggard, Kathy Mattea, Ronnie Milsap, The Howboy Catts, Jerry Reed, Del Reeves, Dan Seals, Red Simpson, Red Sovine, Joe Stampley, C.W. McCall, Steve Earle, among many others - recorded successful truck driving songs during the next 25 years. Several of those artists - Dudley included - became almost exclusively associated with songs about truck drivers and life on the road.

Dudley "strikingly captures the sense of boredom, danger and swaggering masculinity that often accompanies long-distance truck driving. His macho interpretation, with its rock-and-roll overtones, is perfect for the song."

Allmusic writer Bill Dahl, called "Six Days" the "ultimate overworked rig drivers lament;" indeed, the songs lyrics bemoan highway patrolmen, scale weigh-ins and loneliness for the narrators girlfriend, and speak of using "little white pills" to keep him awake. Like Malone, Dahl also cited Dudleys voice as perfect for the song, as "his bottomless pipes were certainly the ultimate vehicle for its delivery, reeking of too much turbid coffee and too many non-filtered cigarettes."

Dudleys version was also played during the STS-3 mission as a wake-up call.


1.1. Dave Dudley version Chart performance

Released in mid-May 1963, "Six Days on the Road" became Dudleys first major hit, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart that summer. The record spent 21 weeks on this chart, and it also became a minor hit on Top 40 radio stations, peaking at No. 32 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also listed at number 13 on their easy listening survey.

Many truck-driving themed hits followed for Dudley, including "Last Day in the Mines," "Truck Drivin Son-of-a-Gun" and "Truck Drivers Prayer."


2. Sawyer Brown version

Sawyer Brown included the song on their 1997 album Six Days on the Road. Their version peaked at No. 13 on the country charts that year. They changed the line "Im taking little white pills" to "Im passing little white lines", thus omitting the drug reference.


3. Other versions

Many other versions of "Six Days on the Road" have been recorded, with three of them also being chart hits for other artists. Johnny Rivers took his remake to No. 58 on the country charts and No. 105 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. Steve Earle recorded the song for the 1987 movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and his version reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in early 1988.

Others who have recorded "Six Days" include Charley Pride, Del Reeves, George Jones, Red Simpson, Nev Nicholls, Ferlin Husky, Boxcar Willie, Wolfman Jack, Motorpsycho, Red Sovine, Jim Croce, George Thorogood, the Flying Burrito Brothers, who are shown performing the song live in the movie Gimme Shelter, as well as Gram Parsons and the Fallen Angels, blues guitarist Popa Chubby for his 2008 album Vicious Country, New Riders of the Purple Sage and Tom Pettys band Mudcrutch. According to Dahl, one of the best versions was a blues-rocking rendition recorded in 1969 by Taj Mahal. Even a French version was made by Claude François: Six jours sûr la route. The Youngbloods performed it during a 1971 concert in San Francisco. David Allan Coe also recorded it and it appears on his 1994 compilation "20 Greatest Hits". Adam Brand and the Outlaws covered the song on the 2016 album Adam Brand and the Outlaws.

String Cheese Incident has done it at least three times, most notably, at the Electric Forest Festival in Rothbury, MI featuring Jason Carter, Rob McCoury and Ronnie McCoury of The Travelin McCourys and the Del McCoury Band.


4. "Six Tons of Toys"

Dudley recorded a re-written Christmas version entitled "Six Tons of Toys" on his 1982 album Truckers Christmas. This was covered by Paul Brandt on his 1997 album A Paul Brandt Christmas: Shall I Play for You?.

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