Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Hank Williams Jr., “Dixie On My Mind”

“Dixie On My Mind”

Hank Williams Jr.

Written by Hank Williams Jr. 


#1 (1 week)

August 1, 1981

It’s time for another edition of NYC Myth Busters!

Hank Williams. Jr’s “Dixie On My Mind” has a fantastic arrangement that pulsates with energy, and Williams is always in the zone when he’s singing about how much he loves his home in the south.

NYC always makes an easy target for contrasting country life with city life, and I totally get that NYC is not for everyone.

But let’s get some facts in check:

Williams sings that “they don’t do much fishin’ up here.” Dude. We’re surrounded by water. I have co-workers who build their entire vacation schedule around fishing season up here.

Williams continues: ” I have met a few squirrels and one porcupine.”  Squirrels, you betcha.  Porcupines? You must’ve gotten lost in Hudson Valley, because porcupines aren’t a thing here.  We’ve got plenty of possum, though.

Finally, the most pervasive NYC myth of all:  “These people never smile or say a word. They’re all too busy tryin’ to make an extra dime.”  No, dude.  We’re keeping a stone expression on our face and biting our tongue because you damn tourists don’t know how to walk.  Pick up the pace.

I’ll be back defending the city’s honor when Dolly Parton sings about her Tennessee homesick blues.

“Dixie On My Mind” gets a B+.


 Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This song is a hassle!

    I can relate to the pride we all have of our homes and the homesickness that comes when we are away from them, but doing it this way is nothing to be proud of at all.

    What is comfort to some ears is discomfort to others.

    The country-city trope has been mined for years, but this particular us-versus-them mindset has always played out abrasively to me. There have to be more interesting and compelling ways to celebrate differences than just idly dumping on one subset of a population while praising the other in equally lazy terms. It is such a self-limiting binary approach to witnessing life.

    This song is a caricature of both country and city life and is difficult to take seriously because it deeply fails to communicate anything true or significant about either situation or condition. It’s all muddled and messy mythologizing, both about the self and the other,.

    What makes it worse, is that getting it so wrong has seldom sounded so good.

    This song is bright. It joyously rolls and tumbles along with a genuine excitement and expectation of something better.

    This is a sing-along jam.

  2. I’ve never liked the whole us-versus-them mentality when it comes to rural or urban dwellers. It’s just silly and divisive.

    Hank Jr. had quite a few of these songs. “A Country Boy Can Surive” becoming a big hit and a career song definitely had him rehashing the same old tropes again and again. The worst single Bocephus ever released was the unlistenable “If The South Would Have Won” IMO. And you can really see his artistic and commercial fortunes decline around the time he went full-on in that mode with the godawful America (the Way I See It) compilation.

    I will add that I don’t think he was literal with the squirrels and porcupine bits. Here in Appalachia, a porcupine is a (somewhat vulgar) way of saying a woman has had many sexual partners. And there are squirrely people everywhere.That’s how I always took that part of the song anyway.

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