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David Allan Coe

David Allan Coe is one of the most celebrated and controversial artists to emerge from the outlaw country movement; a gifted songwriter and a charismatic performer, Coe is also a man who has followed his own path even when it meant traveling the hard way, and his life has been full of bad luck and misadventure. Few artists in any genre have as many tall tales and wild allegations attached to their name (some of which have been spread by Coe himself), and there are plenty of fans who love him or hate him for reasons that have nothing to do with his music. Despite it all, Coe's songwriting reveals a greater intelligence and emotional range than his reputation would suggest, and his best music is a bracing mixture of country, blues, and rock & roll.

Coe was born in Akron, Ohio on September 6, 1939. The product of a broken and unhappy home, he had a troubled childhood, and at the age of 9, he was sent to a reform school in Albion, Michigan. Through most of the next 20 years, Coe was in and out of various correctional institutions, having been convicted of crimes ranging from possession of burglary tools to auto theft. (Coe has also claimed that he killed a fellow prisoner in an Ohio penitentiary and at one point was facing execution, but no one has been able to substantiate this story.) While behind bars, Coe took up songwriting, claiming he was encouraged by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, supposedly a fellow inmate at the time. In 1967, Coe was out of prison and he was eager to break into music, so he headed to Nashville, living in his car and occasionally camping out in front of Ryman Auditorium (the home of the Grand Ol' Opry) in hopes of getting noticed. Coe's early music was strongly influenced by blues and R&B (he's often cited Hank Ballard as one of his favorite vocalists), and when he landed his first record deal, with Shelby Singleton's SSS Records, he cut a tough blues-based effort based on his experiences behind bars, 1969's Penitentiary Blues. The album earned enthusiastic reviews despite thin sales, and Coe hit the road in support, headlining clubs and opening dates for rock acts like Grand Funk Railroad. Coe's second album, 1970's Requiem for a Harlequin, was an introspective, poetic effort which attracted little notice. Coe's music began to evolve into a hard, honky tonk country sound, and his single "Keep Those Big Wheels Running" gained some C&W airplay, but he and Singleton soon parted ways.

While Coe's recording career wasn't making much impact, he landed a contract with a Nashville publishing house, and in 1973 Tanya Tucker scored a breakout hit with Coe's song "Would You Lay with Me (In a Field of Stone)." As Coe began making a name for himself as a songwriter, he revamped his on-stage persona, wearing rhinestone-studded suits (Coe said they were given to him by Mel Tillis) and a mask, calling himself "the Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy" years before Glen Campbell scored a hit with a similar title. In 1974, Coe signed a deal with Columbia Records, calling his first album The Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy. With his second LP for Columbia, 1974's Once Upon a Rhyme, Coe scored a hit single of his own with a cover of John Prine & Steve Goodman's "You Never Even Called Me by My Name." After losing the mask and the suits, Coe's career as a performer took off.

He was soon making regular appearances on the country charts with tunes like "Longhaired Redneck" and "Waylon, Willie, and Me," and in 1977, Johnny Paycheck scored a massive hit with his version of Coe's song "Take This Job and Shove It." Paycheck's recording crossed over to the pop charts and was even adapted into a feature film, featuring Coe in a supporting role. By this time, Coe's outlaw credentials had been solidified by his frequent statements to reporters about his years in the penal system, as well as bizarre rumors about Coe involving booze, drugs, and polygamy, not all of which he seemed in a hurry to deny. Coe relocated to Florida, and Caribbean influences began to seep into his music. He was also a devotee of biker culture, and in 1978, he released Nothing Sacred, a self-released album primarily sold through ads in Easyriders magazine. Nothing Sacred was devoted to wildly tasteless songs about sex, and Coe released a follow-up in 1982, Underground Album, which threw racial humor in with the blue material; Coe rarely performed material from his X-rated albums on-stage (and in time stopped performing the songs altogether), but they would create a lingering PR problem for him, leading to frequent charges that he was a racist and misogynist, both of which he's strongly denied.

In the early '80s, Coe's recording career enjoyed a resurgence; in 1983, his song "The Ride" rose to number four on the C&W charts, followed by "Mona Lisa Lost Her Smile," "It's Great to Be Single Again," "She Used to Love Me a Lot," and "Don't Cry, Darlin'." Coe also did more acting, appearing in a pair of made-for-TV movies with Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson, The Last Days of Frank & Jesse James and Stagecoach (both aired in 1986). In addition, Coe had developed an interest in magic and began incorporating illusions into his stage shows. As the '80s wore on, Coe's outlaw image became more pronounced, as he sported larger and more elaborate tattoos, began braiding his beard, and eventually adopted a dreadlock hairstyle. By 1990, Coe's contract with Columbia came to an end, and an unpleasant divorce and troubles with the IRS made a mess of his finances and private life; one of the more colorful tales about Coe alleges that after the IRS repossessed his house, he took to living in a cave for several months, though the veracity of this story is widely questioned.

From the '90s onward, Coe survived as a road warrior; he released albums periodically through several small labels (including his own Coe-Pop), and even charted with his 1997 concert set Live: If That Ain't Country. But after losing his publishing rights in a legal battle with creditors, live work provided his primary source of income, and at various times his band included members of Confederate Railroad, future Allman Bros. and Gov't Mule guitar hero Warren Haynes, and Coe's son Tyler. In 1999, Coe met Dimebag Darrell, guitarist with heavy metal outlaws Pantera, and their fast friendship led to a collaboration. Dimebag, bassist Rex Brown, and drummer Vinnie Paul teamed up with Coe to cut an album, Rebel Meets Rebel; recorded over the space of three years, the record wasn't released until 2006, after Dimebag's death. Coe also won new fans thanks to the endorsement of another fan, Kid Rock, who namechecked him in the song "American Badass," and then invited Coe to open his 2000 concert tour. Coe and Rock began writing songs together, and one of them, "Single Father," appeared on Rock's self-titled 2003 album. In March 2013, Coe was involved in a serious auto accident when his SUV was struck by a tractor trailer truck; despite suffering broken ribs, head trauma, and bruised kidneys, Coe was back on the road in a matter of months, performing at Willie Nelson's annual Fourth of July picnic. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Why put it in the paper the first place make everybody think your dead and had them fool in the first place never will understand u anymore
Love DAC, I've seen him about 10 times, every show is different, some better than others lol......but each one is a cool experience, Long live Outlaw country
Liquor was the only love I'd known...sing it david Allan coe
My baby momma split a few years ago she wonted to come back six month later I let my man DAC let her know how I felt about it all no crap to the point I love it country at its best
Bad a** son of a b**ch (cowboy up)
I love David Allan Coe
Hell ya it is
That new stuff is crap this is the good stuff
There's not to much real singers today, and that's true for all genres
No other music has more feeling and heart then country music, and no other singer then DAC. He sings the story of my life, his best song is I still sing the old songs
Rate x song
On of my favorite singer/songw r i t e r s
I love all of your songs:-) :-) :-) :-) :-) :-)
This freaked me out this isn't fake apparently if you copy and paste this in 10 comments in 10 minutes you'll have the best day of your life tomorrow you will either be kissed it asked out if you break this chain you'll see a little girl in your room tonite in the next four minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry
Well I was drunk, the day my mom got out of prison, and I went to pick her up in the rain, but before I got to my pick up truck, she got run over my a damn old train... So I'll hang around as long as you will let me, and I never minded standing in the rain, but you never even called me by my name!
singin bout my sister,,,,ok , , , l o v e it
Been cracking my 3 kiddos up w/the lyrics from "the perfect country western song" looking back, it truly was brother!
He'll yea
desiree.whee l e r
just saw him at Iron Horse in Daytona this year, still rocking!!!!
Great music
Love DAC, hes one of the last of the real country singers! Compass Point & I've got something to say are both fantastic albums that should be added here...
Well said charlieboysd a d
Absolutely they founded the way Country, real country music should be. It's seems to be drifting off,but hopefully it'll make it'll way back...
Some of the most real and true COUNTRY music you'll ever hear, back when it was music and not this pop sh¡t, glad to have grown up on the greats
Bad a**
I'm thirteen and I've been listening to DAC for a while prolly since I was 8.
We love Him in Houston Tx.
@rickj1967 N*gger f*cker?
what is the name of the song i kissed the lips that had a big black dick in it
Alkie --- if that ain't country
1980 - Atlanta Internationa l Speedway - Willie Nelson's 4th of July Party. I was partying in the infield, and DAC parachuted down to the stage beside Waylon. So THRILLING!!! !
Backed up David Allen in a fight in Norman Oklahoma after a concert in the late 70's. If that ain't country I will kiss your a**. bikers, cowboys, and hippies we were all there.
If he ain't country n freedom what is lolmao yahs 123 UAHUYAH
Coe always makes me feel at home
charlieboysd a d
@drunkpunk29 3 8 , Can't blame white folk being racists the way the black folk think we owe them something, I think they can't be satisfied no matter what we do for f**k EM All!
To all those haters calling him racist that's Mr.Coe to you.
hey nick its a time when people were real.... bet !

REAL country, why does everybody like all these baseball hat wearing pop country stars? I don't get it?..
George Jones
What salt said
Love dac hes a beast
robertsavage 8 3 0 8
David Allen Coe racist ???¡ listen to some rap music. Ain't nothing but n**ga this & n**ga that & a couple more n**gas thrown in. WTF???!!!!! Get real people
It doesnt mention his death because he is still alive retard
Outstanding! Glad to know there's still real MEN out there. all I see are a bunch of trendy,metro sexual ,brainwashed sissy boys and the girls who like them.
I'll be damned if we will ever be silenced or taken over....not with out a fight!
Thank you D.A.C.
Cheers from Texas
Love the lyrics. Great song!!!
C*m stains on the pillow. Awesome song!!!
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