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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

Comments

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David Allan Coe, Greatest Hits,
Never Even Called Me By My Name. Please play this every 10 songs or so. I need that humor, and I sing along with you, we sound great. The whole neighbor loves us.
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True American rebel music. Country girl forever
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Great stuff!
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If that ain't country. Sounds like the way I was raised would not trade that for nothing makes you a hell of man in your older days. Especially when no one can. Out work. You when your always doing it anyway
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The perfect country and western song :)
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curly1956dac i s o n e o f a k i n e
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I ❤️ David Allen Coe
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bwhart522
DAC Da Man!
Cryin for Moma
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I might be the only one that cries to this song...my sister (1972-1987) loved this song, me as well, we we're young and it was taboo to "curse"...so , damned ol' train...we sang that loud and proud..witho u t parental punishment, they we're die hard outlaw fans. Til this day, everytime I hear David, I picture my sister, this is a soundtrack to one of my best memories of her.
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If youve ever walked out on a DAC show u r no fan...I Have been to a few and every show about half the people walk out in middle of show..bunch of yoo good yuppies wanting to be an outlaw..pssh h h if that aint country i'll kiss ur a**!!!
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Saw DAC perform in 1972, Pleasanton, Texas. On a 32' flatbed trailer, members of a local c&w band started a fight throwing beer bottles, etc. at the band during the first song.
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One of my favorite outlaws
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mdpritchard7 3
Where's rated X album
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The absolute King of the Country bad a** sub culture! The music will live on forever, thank you DAC
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been tryin to pick a banjo version of this song , been listenen to it as long as I remember ..
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Big fan of his music....but his live performance sucked. He covered Toby Keith and changed the lyrics to classics just to be politically correct. One of the few concerts I walked out on.
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Ralph G. Linck @ Facebook.com
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Dave Allan Coe...Damn ,your too funny.
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donnamthaker
I am jealous of your beautiful hair ! You are also a great artist !
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David Allan coe is cool
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Im drinkin .........but ive never....& I know with help I will........ . n . . . . . . . . i m here........ A m e r i c a . . . . . . . . . . . I Love This Land!!!
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David Allan Coe is my drinking buddy...( I love listening to him when drink) Lol!
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M dads been playing me this song since I was a baby, proud to say I knew it word for word by the time I was 10. When I got my first iPod, I only out Hank Williams jr, Johnny cash, Merle haggard, Johnny paycheck, and Crosby, Stills and Nash (:
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"If that ain't country I'd kiss your a**" amen. I'm only 17 and I love your music. David Allan Coe is the real country not that pretty boy p**sy s**t like Luke Bryan
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No offense breaux1967 but um... U shouldn't post stuff like that on tracks or artists because 1: It doesn't work 2: it's stupid 3: it's rude. And again don't be offended because I've had people tell me this because I've done it. This is an amazing artist with a sense of humor
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The ride that's a great one David is up there with the rest of the best like meet him some day
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The dark side of the search for Stardom....
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Love all DAC songs
GIT-R-DONE
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He rocks
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My hero����
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Here's a shout out to all our vets and active military THANK YOU cause freedom ain't free
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That song is honest and I have respect for any singer who throws out all the political correctness which has crippled our society when it comes to being truly honest with one another!!
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Love it...
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Need a little time off for good behavior. Goes for all. Good hearted people.
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DAC is one of my country heroes. along with Hank III, Haggard, Cash
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brady
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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
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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
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Liquor was the only love I'd known...sing it david Allan coe
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0
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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
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Bad a** son of a b**ch (cowboy up)
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I love David Allan Coe
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Hell ya it is
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That new stuff is crap this is the good stuff
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There's not to much real singers today, and that's true for all genres
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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
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Euryuotiyupp
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Rate x song
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On of my favorite singer/songw r i t e r s
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