Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

McCALL, C.W.

(b William Fries, 15 November 1929, Audubon IA) Talking country vocalist who turned an advertising character into a country star in the mid-1970s. He played in a school orchestra as a child, but studied commercial art at Iowa State U. and worked in advertising. He created truck driver C.W. McCall for an advertising campaign in Omaha NE in 1973 for a brand of bread and did voice-overs for TV adverts; the persona caught on and the result was a country hit: 'The Old Home Filler-up And Keep On Truckin' Cafe' '74. Signed to MGM; 'Wolf Creek Pass' and 'Classified' did well, then 'Convoy' '75-6 used the language of CB radio and became a world-wide smash: a film was based on it directed by Sam Peckinpah. A few more hits included 'There Won't Be No Country Music' and 'Roses For Mama'.

The engineer behind the phenomenon was Chip Davis, who used the profits to develop his recording studio in Omaha and later created Mannheim Steamroller, his name for his technically impressive original music created almost entirely using computers and other machines, and which sells very well, especially around Christmas time.