Written by Tim DuBois and Wood Newton
#1 (1 week)
October 3, 1981
Tim DuBois would enjoy his most significant professional success as the founder of the Nashville division of Arista Records, where he launched the careers of Alan Jackson, Brooks & Dunn, Pam Tillis, and Diamond Rio. But before that, he was a remarkably accomplished songwriter who will make multiple appearances at No. 1 during the eighties.
Razzy Bailey’s “Midnight Hauler” might be among the least remembered of those DuBois-penned hits, but it’s not because of any shortcomings. The song is a frenzied rush that captures the drive of a trucker, and features specificity in its lyrics that rivals other classics with this theme, like “Six Days On the Road” and “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.”
Bailey sings of “a belly full of coffee and whites,” and it sounds like everyone in the studio was on a similar diet. This record is relentless, and Bailey sounds more engaged and vocally distinctive than he has on any record we’ve covered so far. The musicians tear it up, with an absolutely sizzling guitar solo rivaling the fast paced piano for the biggest musical highlight of the track.
This one was a delicious surprise that is worthy of rediscovery.
“Midnight Hauler” gets an A.
Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties
Previous: Conway Twitty, “Tight Fittin’ Jeans” |
This was the only song I actually knew of Razzy Bailey before this series, and it’s one of my absolute favorite songs of the 80s. This song just “rips”, for a lack of a better term. It’s a shame that this song didn’t have the staying power like some other truck-driving classics.
This song came along too late to fully tap into the energy and momentum of truckin’ country’s resurgence in the mid ’70s which followed its heyday in the mid ’60s. Even so it still managed to top the charts and be what I think is Bailey’s signature song.
As has been pointed out, “Midnight Hauler” is frenetic and fun. It belongs in the pantheon of classic trucking songs.
I don’t think truckers will be at the top of the charts again until 1984 when Alabama rolls in with that honour.
Bailey has been such a quiet steady presence to date. In no way ostentatious or offensive.
He was radio friendly in the best sense of the term.