On This Day: Alabama Releases ‘Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)’ in 1984

by Emily Morgan

The legendary country-rock band Alabama paid tribute to America’s truckers when they released their song, “Roll On,” thirty-seven-years ago today. 

Dave Loggins wrote “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” and the legendary country group took the song to radio in 1984. 

Released in January of that year by RCA record label, it was Alabama’s first single and title track to the album Roll On

As a result, the song gave the band their 12th consecutive chart-topping hit on the “Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles” chart.

As a way to salute America’s truck drivers, Alabama contributed “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)” to honor the tradition in country music. 

Alabama Uses Storytelling Power To Pay Respect To Truckers

The song lyrics tell the familiar story of a man who drives a semitrailer truck to support his family. A quintessential familiar story of hard work and perseverance that many truckers live each day.

In the first verse, the man referred to as “Daddy” leaves for a trucking trip that will take him several days.

When the children look to their mother for comfort, she tells them that all they need to do is remember the song their father taught them.

“Roll on highway, roll on along, roll on Daddy ’til you get back home
Roll on family, roll on crew, roll on mama like I asked you to do.”

During the second verse of the song, the trucker’s wife called “Mama,” receives a phone call from an unnamed individual. The person on the line informs her that the police found a semitrailer truck in a snowbank. 

Even though rescuers had to call off the search due to the fierce blizzard, “Mama” remains calm. When they tell her that “Daddy” had not been found, she remains confident, still believing that they will find him.

In sadness and anticipation, the family sings the lyrics to comfort themselves as they wait. 

After the long wait, the phone rings, and on the other end is “Daddy,” letting his family know he is safe. He asked if they had been singing that song while patrollers were searching for him during the call.

It’s a touching song that leaves anyone in tears after they listen. Listen to Alabama’s touching tribute below.