Roll On Down the Highway

Album: Not Fragile (1974)
Charted: 14


  • Fitting for a band that is partly named for a trucking magazine (Overdrive), this song is about a trucker making a haul. Written by drummer Robbie Bachman and bass player Fred Turner (who sang lead), the song tapped into the '70s fascination with trucking culture. A year later, C.W. McCall scored a US #1 with the similarly themed "Convoy." Unlike McCall's song, "Roll On Down the Highway" is pure rock, employing a heavy sound for the song about the big rig.
  • Randy Bachman and Fred Turner would often give themselves assignments as motivation to write songs, often writing something in the style of a current hit. This song evolved out of something they wrote for a Ford commercial. In our interview with Randy Bachman, he explained: "It's like getting an assignment: write a new commercial for Ford and you'll get paid $100,000. Well, I'd sit down and I'd write a commercial for Ford, 'let it roll down the highway.' Ford never picks it up and I have a song called 'Roll On Down the Highway.'"

Comments: 2

  • Bill from UsThese kinds of songs and groups are probably the main reason so many of us bought more powerful larger speakers and amplifiers to play music! man this band was rollin, on a roll for a while, that "pure rock" 70's sound, BTO was like a northern version of MTB, Marshall Tucker Band or other southern rock bands back then, sharing the airwaves with hits we couldn't get enough of, it's funny how a group or artists has so many great songs for a while, then just disappears.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 12th 1975, "Roll On Down the Highway" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #67; and six weeks later on February 23rd,1975 it peaked at #14 {for 2 weeks} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    In the quartet's native Canada it reached #4 on the RPM Singles chart...
    Between 1973 and 1979 the group had twelve songs make the Top 100 chart; one made the Top 10 and it reached #1, "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet", for one week on November 3rd, 1974...
    Their next biggest hit missed the Top 10 by two positions, "Takin' Care of Business", peaked at #12 in 1974 and stayed on the Top 100 for 20 weeks.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gary LewisSongwriter Interviews

Gary Lewis and the Playboys had seven Top 10 hits despite competition from The Beatles. Gary talks about the hits, his famous father, and getting drafted.

Boz ScaggsSongwriter Interviews

The "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle" singer makes a habit of playing with the best in the business.

Songs in Famous Movie Scenes: '80s EditionMusic Quiz

You know the scenes - Tom Cruise in his own pants-off dance off, Molly Ringwald celebrating her birthday - but do you remember what song is playing?

Movie Stars In Music VideosSong Writing

Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis and John Malkovich are just a few of the film stars who have moonlighted in music videos.

Jack Blades of Night Ranger and Damn YankeesSongwriter Interviews

Revisit the awesome glory of Night Ranger and Damn Yankees: cheesily-acted videos, catchy guitar licks, long hair, and lyrics that are just plain relatable.

Tom Johnston from The Doobie BrothersSongwriter Interviews

The Doobies guitarist and lead singer, Tom wrote the classics "Listen To The Music," "Long Train Runnin'" and "China Grove."