David Allan Coe is a male of stark personal contrasts, a highly an innovative artist, and one that the most unique, eccentric characters in the background of nation music. A big man with lengthy hair, tattooed arms and tough-guy demeanor. Coe spent number of years spent in prison and obtained member in the Outlaws motorcycle club.

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David Allan Coe showed up to be much more of a genuine “outlaw” than any of the various other singers in country music’s 1970’s outlaw movement. For a while, he performed attract a black color mask and also called himself “The mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy.”

Yet, he is additionally a songwriter of too much sensitivity who has actually crafted part of country music’s many moving love songs. Other sides of his writing space comedic, purposefully insulting, and crudely sexual. He has ongoing to write, record, and tour for decades in his very own strange and special style. It is safe to to speak that nation music will never ever see another artist like D.A.C.

Early troubled life

David Allan Coe to be born in Akron, Ohio, ~ above September 6, 1939. He to be a rebellious, misbehaving young who, beginning at period 9, spent much of his youth in reform schools and correctional facilities.


David Allan Coe play his guitar.

As a young man in his 20s, that repeatedly gained into serious trouble v the law for such crimes as burglary and auto theft, and he spent around five year serving time in Ohio State Penitentiary and also Marion Correctional Institution. Coe later declared that he to be on fatality row for killing a male in prison. It have to be noted, however, the Coe has always had a habit of informing fascinating stories that embellish his story while no necessarily gift true.

He likewise later declared that while in prison, the met singer Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (of “I placed a assignment on You” fame), that urged that to create songs and pursue a job in music. (Yet one more claim was the Coe taught Charles Manson how to play guitar.)

After gift released from jail in 1967, Coe headed to Nashville, Tennessee, to take his shooting at that music career.

Writing and singing career

The homeless David Allan Coe stayed in a red Cadillac hearse after showing up in Nashville. ~ above weekends, that parked the hearse in prior of the Ryman Auditorium, residence of the cool Ole Opry, hope to get noticed. The hearse to be emblazoned through his name and also “SUPPORT THE grand OLE’ OP’RY.”

He shortly did obtain noticed. His writing and singing talents landing him a contract v an independent label called SSS International, which released his very first album, a blues-based collection titled Penitentiary Blues, in 1969.

His songwriting generated much more interest than his singing. An intelligent, gently poignant ballad he created titled “Would friend Lay v Me (In a ar of Stone)” came to be a number-one country hit for Tanya Tucker in 1974. This success prompted Columbia documents to sign Coe together a writer and also singer. Coe’s first Columbia album, 1974’s The secret Rhinestone Cowboy, was critically acclaimed however failed come produce any type of chart hits. Today, the album is regarded as a ground breaker in “alternative country.”

Tanya Tucker’s hit variation of Coe’s “Would friend Lay v Me (In a ar of Stone).”

Coe’s first chart success as a singer came with his 1975 album once Upon a Rhyme. A feeling Steve Goodman- and also John Prine-penned song from that album title “You never Even dubbed Me By my Name” rose into the top ten. In the song, which to be a satire of “the perfect country and also western song,” Coe characteristically (with his tendency to exaggerate) claims a vital role in the song’s writing. When Upon a Rhyme additionally included the Coe tearjerker “Jody favor a Melody.”

Coe’s first hit recording, “You never ever Even called Me By mine Name.”


David Allan Coe and Willie Nelson

David Allan Coe came to be identified through the outlaw activity of the 1970s. However, while Waylon, Willie, and also the other “outlaws” were well-known for rebelling versus the Nashville music establishment, Coe frequently seemed to be rebelling against social convention in general with his outlandish (for that time in country music) behavior.

With his mysterious rhinestone cowboy persona, he sometimes performed attract a gaudy black color rhinestone-studded suit, large black cowboy hat, and also black mask over his eyes, accessorized through a pair of silver- skull earrings. He occasionally rode his Harley onstage as he shouted cuss words in ~ the audience, which cussed back at him.

He was the an initial country singer come regularly perform on phase with one all-female backup vocal group, dubbed Ladysmith. In the 80s, he began incorporating magic right into his stage shows. At one point, Coe owned 7 Cadillacs. He likewise once claimed to have actually the same number of wives, saying that he to be a Mormon who thought in polygamy.

Coe performing “Long-Haired Redneck” in his flashy rhinestone fit on stage in 1975.

Other extremely charted songs for Coe together a singer included “The Ride” (1983), about meeting the ghost of Hank Williams; “Mona Lisa shed Her Smile” (1984); and “She supplied to Love Me a Lot” (1985).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EuxyZ8bowDYCoe performing “The Ride” live with his rebel-flag electrical guitar.

Despite Coe’s countless recordings and also eccentric antics, his best-known accomplishment is most likely one tune he created that ended up being a hit for someone else. Coe’s “Take This Job and Shove It” was a monster hit because that Johnny Paycheck in 1977 and 1978. The song struck a an effective chord with plenty of working people, who can relate to the lyrics around a male who just can’t was standing his dead-end job anymore and tells his boss whereby to placed it.


Coe has always courted controversy, maybe nowhere as much as ~ above two separately released “underground” albums in the late 70s and early 80s. Many of the songs on this albums, despite humorous, appeared purposefully designed come shock and also stoke anger within the music industry, burnishing Coe’s reputation as an independent-minded rebel and also outlaw.


Photograph that David Allan Coe in hat and stage outfit before a concert.

In the 1978 album, naught Sacred, Coe included several songs with vulgar, sexually explicit, or violation lyrics. The track “Linda Lovelace” is about having sex through the well known porn star of the name. An additional song insults conservative activist Anita Bryant for she opposition to happy rights. The track “Jimmy Buffet” bring away on the “Margaritaville” singer because that accusing Coe of plagiarism, v Coe singing the he and Buffett must “get drunk and also screw” (borrowing a heat from a Buffet song).

The 1982 album, underground Album, remained in a similar comedic, vulgar vein. One crudely titled song on the album caused charges of racism, to which Coe responded by proclaiming the anyone who “says ns a racism is complete of s—.” Those who best understand Coe and his music keep in mind that world who consider Coe a bigot of any kind of kind merely do not recognize his over-the-top usage of humor and satire in his songs.

Coe performing “If that Ain’t Country” live.

Later career

Coe’s career gone into the twenty-first century by increase his ties to rock music. That toured as son Rock’s opened act in 2000. Child Rock’s 2003 self-titled album had the Coe-penned tune “Single Father,” which ended up being a minor fight on the country charts.

In 2006, Coe and members the the steel band Pantera exit the album Rebel Meets Rebel, which featured a extremely unusual mix of country and metal sounds. The song on the album were tape-recorded several years earlier, but the last product was no released until 2 years after Pantera guitarist and also Coe’s friend Dimebag Darrell to be shot to fatality on stage. The collection included the tune “Get Outta my Life,” i m sorry featured nation metalhead Hank Williams III.

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Coe, in a long wig, with Pantera members ~ above “Nothin’ to Lose.”

The 73-year-old Coe made it through a serious vehicle accident in in march 2013 v head trauma, damaged ribs, and bruised kidneys. Regardless of his injuries, he performed at Willie Nelson’s fourth of July picnic a few months later.