5 Iconic Country Songs of David Allan Coe

by Patria

David Allan Coe is a renowned American country musician and songwriter whose career spans several decades. Born on September 6, 1939, in Akron, Ohio, he is celebrated for his gritty, raw, and often controversial brand of country music. Coe’s music is characterized by its authenticity and powerful storytelling, drawing inspiration from his tumultuous life experiences. He gained fame for iconic hits like “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” and “Take This Job and Shove It.” His contributions to country music have solidified him as a legendary figure in the genre, known for his distinctive vocals and unique songwriting.In this article, we’ll discuss about 5 of David Allan Coe’s most famous songs.

1. “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” (1975)

The story of David Allan Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” is the stuff of country music legend. Written by Steve Goodman and John Prine, the song is a quintessential example of a country ballad, complete with heartache and humor. Coe’s recording of this song is perhaps the most well-known, and it has become a classic in the country music canon.

The song tells the tale of a man who reflects on a failed relationship and laments the fact that his lost love never called him by his name. The lyrics are filled with vivid imagery and emotion, drawing listeners into the pain and longing of the protagonist. The song’s chorus is particularly memorable, with the repeated line, “You never even called me by my name,” serving as a poignant reminder of the narrator’s sense of insignificance in the relationship.

Coe’s rendition of “You Never Even Called Me by My Name” captures the essence of classic country storytelling. It features a simple, yet effective, acoustic arrangement that allows the lyrics to take center stage. The song’s blend of heartbreak and humor is a hallmark of Coe’s songwriting, and it has endeared him to country music fans for decades.

2. “The Ride” (1983)

David Allan Coe’s “The Ride” is a country song with a fascinating backstory. Written by Gary Gentry and J.B. Detterline Jr., the song was inspired by the life and music of the legendary Hank Williams. “The Ride” is a masterful tribute to Williams, told from the perspective of a young musician who meets a mysterious hitchhiker in Montgomery, Alabama.

The hitchhiker, who claims to be Hank Williams himself, imparts wisdom and advice to the aspiring musician as they journey together. The song weaves a compelling narrative that blurs the lines between reality and legend, making it a captivating piece of storytelling within the realm of country songs.

Coe’s delivery of “The Ride” is nothing short of exceptional. His deep, gravelly voice adds an air of authenticity to the song, and his performance captures the essence of Hank Williams’ signature style. The song’s vivid storytelling, combined with Coe’s vocal prowess, has solidified “The Ride” as a classic in the country music genre, celebrating the enduring legacy of one of its greatest icons.

3. “Longhaired Redneck” (1976)

“Longhaired Redneck” is a prime example of David Allan Coe’s penchant for blending country music with a rebellious spirit. The song, written by Coe himself, tells the story of a longhaired redneck musician who refuses to conform to societal norms and expectations. With its unapologetic lyrics, the song became an anthem for those who didn’t fit the mold of traditional country music.

Coe’s performance of “Longhaired Redneck” is a powerful declaration of individuality and a rejection of stereotypes. The song celebrates the freedom to be oneself, regardless of the judgment and prejudices of others. In doing so, it embodies the countercultural spirit that runs through many classic country songs, where authenticity and honesty are paramount.

The song’s blend of country and rock elements adds to its rebellious allure. Coe’s distinctive voice, paired with a driving rhythm, gives “Longhaired Redneck” a unique sound that sets it apart from more conventional country songs. It remains a favorite among fans who appreciate Coe’s fearless approach to country music.

4. “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile” (1984)

David Allan Coe’s “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile” is a poignant and tender country ballad that showcases his ability to convey deep emotions through his music. Written by Johnny Cunningham and Larry Boone, the song tells the story of a woman named Mona Lisa who, over time, loses her smile and the spark in her eyes.

The lyrics are a reflection on the passage of time and the way life’s challenges can wear down a person’s spirit. Coe’s performance is heartfelt and filled with empathy, making the song a touching exploration of the human experience.

“Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile” stands out as a classic example of country songs that delve into the complexities of life and relationships. Coe’s evocative storytelling and emotive vocal delivery make it a song that resonates deeply with listeners, touching on themes of loss and the fleeting nature of happiness.

5. “Take This Job and Shove It” (1977)

“Take This Job and Shove It” is one of David Allan Coe’s most recognizable and enduring hits. Written by Johnny Paycheck, the song became an anthem for the working class and those who have ever felt the urge to rebel against the daily grind. The song’s catchy chorus and rebellious lyrics made it an instant classic in the world of country music.

The protagonist in the song, fed up with the monotony and frustration of his job, finally decides to stand up and say, “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t workin’ here no more.” It’s a sentiment that many can relate to, and the song’s unapologetic declaration of independence resonates with anyone who has ever yearned for more in their life.

Coe’s rendition of “Take This Job and Shove It” perfectly captures the song’s defiant spirit. His robust vocals and the song’s lively instrumentation create an energetic and rebellious atmosphere that is both fun and liberating. The song’s enduring popularity speaks to its universal appeal and the timeless relevance of its message.


In conclusion, David Allan Coe’s contribution to the world of country songs is immeasurable. His ability to blend storytelling, authenticity, and a touch of rebellion has left an indelible mark on the genre. The five songs discussed in this article, “You Never Even Called Me by My Name,” “The Ride,” “Longhaired Redneck,” “Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile,” and “Take This Job and Shove It,” are just a few examples of Coe’s iconic work. These songs continue to captivate and resonate with audiences, reminding us of the enduring power of classic country music and the storytelling prowess of a true legend.

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