Songs of the Highway, No. 4: 'Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel,' by Red Sovine


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He’s best-known for his trucking hits “Giddyup Go,” “Teddy Bear” and “Phantom 309.” But another single by Red Sovine, a master of the sentimental trucker song, spoke poignantly to the difficult family dynamic of over-the-road haulers and their kin back home. That’s “Woman Behind the Man Behind the Wheel.” It’s a tribute to truckers’ wives, as the lyrics say, a "special breed of woman" that has to "share a love affair with that long stretch of highway on his mind." The theme, however, is more complex, considering the realities of over-the-road drivers being separated from their wives so much, said Todd Uhlman, a professor at the University of Dayton, in Ohio, who specializes in America’s socio-cultural history. In this episode of the "Songs of the Highway" special feature to Overdrive Radio as Overdrive celebrates 60 years as the Voice of the American Trucker, hear how the lyrics perpetuate the romantic notion of a long-suffering wife waiting for the return of her faithful husband, yet Uhlman notes certain trucker songs play up “the flip side.” That’s the trucker being “on the road and free from his wife and being able to do whatever he wants to do.” Hear more "Songs of the Highway" installments via Overdrive's "Music to Truck By" playlist on SoundCloud: Access all of Overdrive's weekly 60th-anniversary special coverage via

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