“Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)”
Written by David Loggins
Radio & Records
#1 (5 weeks)
February 10 – March 19, 1984
#1 (1 week)
March 24, 1984
A lead single from a new Alabama album was an event during this part of the eighties, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Radio & Records chart. A catchy new single with a singalong chorus from the biggest selling act the genre had ever seen? They were probably spinning that record every 30 minutes on some stations.
I can understand the appeal to a certain extent. It’s a hell of a singalong chorus. But it feels like a Disney rewrite of those haunting mining tragedy songs, where the dad goes off to work, word comes back about a disaster, and the family waits at home for good news that never comes. Here, a dad hits the road, they find his rig in a snowy ditch, and “Oh, no! He’s not in the rig or any of the neighboring motels!!!” But no worries, he’s fine. He taught them a song to sing to keep him safe, and they sang it, so all is well.
Randy Owen oversings this one so badly, as if he shows enough enthusiasm, he can create the narrative tension that doesn’t exist in the lyrics. It’s incredibly cheesy, but it’s not interesting enough to be a guilty pleasure.
Thankfully, there’s a much better eighteen wheeler hit waiting for us down the road.
“Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” gets a C.
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