So how in the world does one pick 10 songs from an artist with a resume like Charlie Daniels? Well that’s what we do, and every time we do it, someone says how could you forget ???? And we love that reaction. So let us know what songs we should have listed and did not, and which ones you agree with. The whole idea is to keep the legend alive. The Charlie Daniels Band was one of the big five Southern Rock Bands of the 1970s that included The Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Outlaws.
# 10 – Billy The Kid
Opening our Top 10 Charlie Daniels Band Songs list is a song about the legend of Billy The Kid. It’s interesting that both Billy Joel and Charlie Daniels released a song entitled “Billy the Kid” only a few years apart. It just shows how popular culture responds to historical figures on a consistent basis depending on the time period. In the 1970s and 1960s, there were also multiple movies, television shows, and books released on the story of Billy the Kid. The history of the United States West in the 19th century was for a while, a very hot topic in popular culture. Just ask Clint.
# 9 – Orange Blossom Special
You just can’t have a Top 10 Charlie Daniels Band Songs list without including the legendary instrumental “Orange Blossom Special.” The song was originally written by Ervin T. Rouse in 1938. The song has been covered by all the great fiddle players of the 20th century. Charlie Daniels‘ version first appeared on the Fire On The Mountain LP. This great track was originally released on the 1974 studio album Fire On The Mountain. However, the song was one of two live tracks on the LP. The live version of “Orange Blossom Special,” was recorded at the War Memorial Auditorium, in Nashville, Tennessee.
# 8 – Still In Saigon
As the Vietnam War came to an end in 1974, the Hollywood response to the war would begin with movies like The Deer Hunter and Coming Home. At the turn of the decade movies like Apocalypse Now would dive deeper into the psychic of the American soldier. The Hollywood response peaked with the film Platoon in 1985. Charlie Daniels’ song “Still in Saigon,” echoed the same reactions that many films like above mentioned focused on. For those soldiers who made it home from Vietnam, they would forever be haunted by the memories of an experience that none of us who weren’t there could ever really understand.
# 7 – Simple Man
The Charlie Daniels Song “Simple Man,” was released on the 1989 Simple Man album. The song was a major hit for Charlie Daniels as it reached the No. 12 spot on the Billboard country music charts. The album was even more successful reaching the No. 2 spot. The song’s message of an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth is an old one dating back to the Code of Hammurabi over four thousand years ago in the land of Mesopotamia. It’s funny though, you never hear pop songs written about Hammurabi.
# 6 – The Legend Of Wooley Swamp
Charlie Daniels’ great song “The Legend Of Wooley Swamp,” starts out pretty heavy. The song quickly shifts gears into a Marshall Tucker Band style chorus that ends with a Charlie Daniels iconic coda. One of our favorite Charlie Daniels Band Songs. Loved playing this one over and over again in high school back in the 1970s. Big Time intense deep party music!
# 5 – Uneasy Rider
I first heard this song back in the 1970s on one of those K-Tel Superhits of the 70’s albums. Those were the 12′ vinyl albums that contained twelve songs on each side of the album in really low quality. The quality was so poor because the grooves on the vinyl were so close to squeezing in all that music. They sold many of those records. They were similar to the Now CD series in that they presented mostly big pop hits in a cheap format. The inclusion of Uneasy Rider on many of those records defines the crossover status of the song. For many music fans, it was the first Charlie Daniels Band song that they had ever heard.
# 4 – The South’s Gonna Do It Again
The next four Charlie Daniels Band Songs were such huge hits that they are just about impossible to list in any type of order. The first of these four was released on the great Charlie Daniels Band Album, Fire On The Mountain. In fact, four songs on this Top 10 Charlie Daniels Band Songs list were issued on the Fire On The Mountain LP. If you’re going to buy just one Charlie Daniel Band album, this is the one to pick up.
# 3 – Long Haired Country Boy
Like Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Charlie Daniels Band has written some iconic songs about the South and the ways of country life. This was a fun one. The song “Long Haired Country Boy,” was also released on the Fire On The Mountain LP. Like the song “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” was released as a single. The song peaked at No. 56 on the United States Billboard Pop Charts. “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” peaked further up the charts at No. 26 in 1975.
# 2 – The Devil Went Down To Georgia
Of all the Charlie Daniels Band Songs ever released, it could be easily argued that “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” was the most famous of them all. It’s funny that the youth of the 2000s first discovered this song while playing the Guitar Hero video game. The song was originally released on the Charlie Daniels album Million Mile Reflections in 1979. The song would become the biggest hit of the Charlie Daniels Band’s career. “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” hit the Number 3 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles Chart in 1979. The song also easily hit the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Country Music Charts of the same year.
# 1 – Trudy
This was just one of those songs that all Charlie Daniels fans loved to sing along with the instant the song began. The song’s great opening line and repeated chorus became a solid fan favorite. The song was released on the Fire On The Mountain LP. The song “Trudy,” was never released as a single. Perhaps because the album had already spawned two major singles with “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” and “Long Haired Country Boy,” time ran out before they could release a third before the next album Nightrider in 1975. Looking back over time, the song Trudy never had the impact on a commercial level that many other Charlie Daniels Band songs had. However, if you were there back in the 1970’s “Trudy,” was the song that everyone loved the most.
Feature Photo: By BstarXO Chester L. Roberts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Updated Nov 9, 2020
Top 10 Charlie Daniels Band Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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