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Album: Teddy BearReleased: 1976Charted:
Country singer Red Sovine wrote this spoken-word tearjerker with Billy Joe Burnette, Tommy Hill and Dale Royal. The title "Teddy Bear" refers to a wheelchair-bound boy who uses a CB (Citizens band) radio to make friends with truckers after his own truck-driving father is killed. The maudlin tale made for a crossover hit, topping the country charts and peaking at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100.
This was one of many truck-themed songs from Sovine, who earned the title "The King of Trucker Music." And there was no better time to sing about trucking and CBs. Long before the advent of the Internet, people were fascinated with the two-way radio method of communication, and it became a nationwide craze in the '70s.
Two sequels to this song continued the story of Teddy Bear. The singer was encouraged to record a follow-up to take advantage of the original's success, but he wasn't interested. It was good enough, however, for Capitol Records' latest asset, Diana Williams. That same year, she released "Teddy Bear's Last Ride," which details the boy's death from the terminal illness that rendered him paralyzed. Sovine was allegedly outraged by this turn of events and released an answer to Williams' song called "Little Joe." This time, Teddy Bear is not only alive, but he can also walk again.
Voiced by Mike Judge, Hank Hill (salesman of "propane and propane accessories") performed this on the animated series King of the Hillin the episode "Livin' on Reds, Vitamin C and Propane" in 2003.
Some CB enthusiasts used this song to challenge the FCC regulation that a person must be over 18 to obtain a license for a CB radio or else operate under a license of an older member of the family. Would they deny "Teddy Bear" his one comfort in life just because he was underage? Kids were so enthusiastic about the device that some reportedly mounted the transceiver between the handlebars of their bikes to mimic the drivers of the big rigs. "All the other kids at school are jealous," one innovative teen, who swiped his CB handle from a character in a beer commercial, told The Indiana Gazette.