Sam Elliott Celebrates the Cowboy Lifestyle in a 2002 Chevy Commercial

by Suzanne Halliburton

Call Sam Elliott the voice of the nation’s top trucks.

His voice is instantly recognizable. Your ears process it like a favorite song because his tone is its own stretch of velvet, with a light dusting of gravel.

Plus, when you hear Sam Elliott, you immediately think cowboy. Surely, this was what the most authentic of cowboys sounded like a century ago.

Elliott’s voice has served as the commercial soundtrack for Dodge and Ford trucks. And he also did ads for Chevy trucks, like this one from 2002.

The Perfect Sam Elliott Voice and Bob Seger Song Sold Chevys

You hear multiple voices in the ad. There’s Sam Elliott. And then that was Bob Seger singing in the background. His song “Like a Rock” has sold a ton of trucks. Chevy made Seger’s 1986 song the focus of its truck ads from 1991-2004. Seger is from Michigan, so it made sense to use the song for a company that started in the state.

“When Chevy asked for it, for a long time I turned it down, because I just didn’t want it to be in an ad,” Seger said. “I’m really glad I did it now, because it sold a lot of trucks to save a lot of jobs, and, you know, this is my home state. So it’s a good thing. And people keep hearing it, so that’s great!”

The Chevy commercial definitely pushes a cowboy vibe. You see father and son. The dad teaches his boy how to rope a calf. And by the end of the commercial, the son is roping in a rodeo as his proud dad looks on from the stalls. The ad wants to convey strength, whether it’s a man’s strong bond with family or his truck’s ability to safely haul a horse trailer.

Then you hear Sam Elliott.

“What are you handing down to your kids,” Elliott asks. “Chevy, the most dependable, longest-lasting trucks on the road.”

Sam Elliott also has sold trucks for Ford and Dodge. He did his first truck commercial in 1998.

His voice is so cowboy perfect that it inspired Bradley Cooper’s performance in the 2018 revival of A Star Is Born. Cooper met with Elliott and told him he wanted his character, Jackson Maine, to sound like Elliott. He then played a tape of Cooper sounding like Elliott.

“It was pretty unsettling to say the least,” Sam Elliott said. “And I think he prefaced with, before he put it on, “This is going to sound a little weird.” And he was right, it did. But I thought, “God, if this is where this guy’s really going to go with his sound, lucky me.”

Now, let’s come back to the present day. Sam Elliott is in a new series for Peacock, NBC’s streaming service. The series is MacGruber, which had its genesis on Saturday Night Live. It’s an action-comedy. Elliott plays Perry, the dad of MacGruber (Will Forte). Kristen Wiig, Ryan Phillippe, Laurence Fishburne and Mickey Rourke also are in the series.