‘Pickup Man’ by Joe Diffie: Story Behind the ’90s Country Hit

by Joe Rutland
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When anyone looks back on country music from the 1990s, Joe Diffie and his song “Pickup Man” are probably going to come to mind.

Diffie takes this song, written by Howard Perdew and Kerry Kurt Phillips, and sings it in an upbeat fashion. It also has a little bit of 1990s rock-music infusion within it as well.

“Pickup Man” is about a guy whose truck gets a lot of attention. That truck has people in traffic turning their heads during the week; women turn their heads at the drive-in movies on weekends.

There’s a touch of humor within the song itself. Some might say it harkens back to songs written and sung by Roger Miller like “King of the Road” and “Dang Me.”

The song is the second No. 1 hit off of Diffie’s “Third Rock from the Sun” album, released in 1994. The album’s title track also hit the No. 1 spot in Billboard’s country charts.

Joe Diffie Song Lyrics Show Humorous Side To Musician

Looking at the song’s lyrics, one could read them and notice the humor that Diffie added within his songs.

Check out the first two verses and chorus for “Pickup Man.”

It starts with a narrative about being a young child getting his first toy truck, then turning into his teenage years and buying a real one.

“Well I got my first truck when I was three,
Drove a hundred thousand miles on my knees
Hauled marbles and rocks, and thought twice before
I hauled a Barbie Doll bed for the girl next door
She tried to pay me with a kiss I began to understand,
There’s just something women like about a Pickup Man

When I turned sixteen, I saved a few hundred bucks
My first car was a Pickup Truck
Started cruisin’ the town and the first girl I seen
Was Bobbie Jo Gentry the homecoming queen
She flagged me down and climbed up in the cab, and said
‘I never knew you were a Pickup Man!’

You can set my truck on fire, roll it down a hill
But I still wouldn’t trade it for a Coupe DeVille
It’s got an eight-foot bed that never has to be made
You know if it weren’t for trucks we wouldn’t have tailgates
I met all my wives in traffic jams,
You know there’s something women like about a Pickup Man”

The song has a lot of fantasy and fun within its official video. Back in 1994, country artists were finding their way to creatively express their lyrics on camera.

Diffie did it up right with a style and ability to sing and bring laughs to his fans.

Here’s Diffie singing “Pickup Man.”

Diffie passed away on March 29 at 61 years old from COVID-19 complications. His death has undoubtedly given Diffie fans, both young and old alike, a reason to flip through his catalog of work. 

H/T: Wide Open Country

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