On this day in music history: January 10, 1976…

On this day in music history: January 10, 1976 – “Convoy” by C.W. McCall hits #1 on the Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by Bill Fries and Chip Davis, it is the biggest hit for the former advertising executive from Audubon, IA born William Dale Fries, Jr.. While working as the creative director at the Bozell & Jacobs advertising agency in Omaha, NE, ad exec Bill Fries comes up with the idea of recording a novelty record titled “Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep On-a-Truckin’ Cafe” for a local commercial creating the alter ego “C.W. McCall”. Along with business partner Don Sears, they record “Old Home” and release it independently on their own label. The record quickly becomes a huge regional hit in the mid west, selling over 30,000 copies in just a few weeks. That is enough to attract the attention of MGM Records who signs Fries to a recording contract, and picking up the single for national distribution. The single peaks at #19 on the Country singles chart and #54 on the Hot 100 in early 1975. For the second C.W. McCall album, Fries along with co-writer Chip Davis decide to write a song capitalizing on the current CB (citizens band) radio craze sweeping the US in the mid 70’s. “Convoy” is released in November of 1975, it becomes an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #82 on December 6, 1975, it leaps to the top of the chart five weeks later. The accompanying album titled “Black Bear Road” also performs well, peaking at #12 on the Billboard Top 200, #4 on the Country album chart and is certified Gold. McCall’s time in the spotlight is short lived, and Fries returns to the advertising business. Though “Convoy” has a surprisingly long life after its run on the pop and country charts. It inspires and is featured in the film of the same name directed by Sam Peckinpah (“The Wild Bunch”) starring Kris Kristofferson and Ali MacGraw in 1978. The original version of the song is also featured on an episode of “The Simpsons” as well as the popular video game “Grand Theft Auto V” in 2013. Co-writer and producer Chip Davis goes on to found and lead the highly successful new age band Mannheim Steamroller. “Convoy” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.