Dallas ran for fourteen seasons between 1978 and 1991. It was hugely popular with audiences. In fact, one episode of the prime-time soap opera in which audiences learned who shot JR broke ratings records at the time. The series focused on feuding, rich families in Dallas, Texas. Ranchers and oil tycoons filled the small screen every week. Their big-money schemes and rich folk problems entertained viewers to no end.
So, it would seem strange that Dallas inspired Hank Jr. to write a song. His discography is full of songs for the everyman. Even at the peak of his fame, he never flaunted his wealth in the face of his fans. So, what was it about the Ewing family and their piles of ill-gotten cash that inspired Bocephus?
Hank Williams Jr. Knows His Life Ain’t Dallas
Dallas and its competing show Dynasty inspired Hank Jr to pen “This Ain’t Dallas,” for his 1985 album Five-O. In the song, he name-drops several characters from both shows. However, the lyrics focus mostly on the difference between real life and the affluent lives of those on the shows.
Dynasty was much the same as Dallas in that it focused on rich, scheming families. They both aired around the same time and were in constant competition. So, it makes sense that Bocephus drew inspiration from both soaps.
In the song, he talks about a working-class family. “This ain’t Dallas and this ain’t Dynasty. / This is a real-life two-job working family. / And I ain’t J.R., you ain’t Suellen. / We’re just a man and a woman holding things together.”
Unlike the folks on Dallas, Hank Jr. talks about working hard every day. At the same time, his wife isn’t out shopping all day with the “country club queen.” Instead, she works all morning until she picks up the kids from school in the afternoon.
However, Hank Jr. does admit that they love watching shows like Dallas. The piles of money drawn in by shady business deals along with the beautiful women let them both dream about a different life. But, they both know it’s all just a fantasy. There’s no bitterness in the tune. Bocephus is just stating facts.
Fans liked the song just about as much as they liked Dallas. It was the second single off of Five-O and peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks Chart.