David Allan Coe Rodeo Song: The Story Behind the Controversial Country Hit

David Allan Coe Rodeo SongSource: bing.com


David Allan Coe is one of the most controversial figures in country music history. He’s been called a rebel, a racist, and everything in between. But regardless of your opinions on the man or his music, there’s no denying the impact that his songs have had on the genre. One of his most famous and controversial songs is the “Rodeo Song,” which has been banned by some radio stations and criticized by many for its explicit lyrics. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the story behind the song, its impact on country music, and the controversy surrounding it.

The Story Behind the Song

The “Rodeo Song” was written by Canadian songwriter Garry Lee and first recorded by him in 1972. The song tells the story of a man who goes to a rodeo and gets into a brawl with another cowboy. The lyrics are explicit and contain a lot of profanity, making it a controversial song from the start. In 1983, David Allan Coe recorded a cover of the song for his album “Underground Album,” which was sold exclusively through mail order and at his concerts. The album was not widely distributed, but the song became a hit on radio stations that played it despite its explicit content.

The Impact on Country Music

The “Rodeo Song” is often cited as one of the earliest examples of “outlaw country” music, a subgenre that emerged in the 1970s and was characterized by its rejection of the polished, mainstream Nashville sound. Outlaw country artists like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and Johnny Cash embraced a rougher, more authentic sound that was rooted in traditional country music but also drew from rock and roll and other genres. The “Rodeo Song” fit right in with this rebellious spirit, and its explicit lyrics only added to its appeal for fans who were tired of the sanitized, commercial country music that dominated the airwaves.

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The Controversy Surrounding the Song

Despite its popularity, the “Rodeo Song” has been banned by some radio stations and criticized by many for its explicit lyrics. The song contains numerous instances of profanity, including the use of the f-word and the n-word (which Coe uses to refer to himself). The lyrics are also violent and misogynistic, with lines like “I don’t give a damn if they never come back / ‘Cause they’re broken and they’re bloody and they’re all in a sack.” Critics have accused the song of promoting violence, racism, and sexism, and some have called for it to be removed from the airwaves entirely.

The Legacy of the Song

Despite the controversy surrounding it, the “Rodeo Song” remains a popular and influential song in country music. It has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including Chris Ledoux, Ned LeDoux, and Aaron Watson. The song has also been sampled in other genres, most notably in the Wu-Tang Clan’s song “Gravel Pit.” Its impact on outlaw country music and the broader country music genre cannot be overstated, and its legacy continues to be felt today.


The “Rodeo Song” is not for everyone. Its explicit lyrics and controversial subject matter make it a polarizing song that has been banned by some and loved by others. But regardless of your opinions on the song, there’s no denying its impact on country music and its place in the outlaw country canon. David Allan Coe may be a controversial figure, but his music continues to be a vital part of the country music landscape.

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