Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses

Album: Untasted Honey (1987)

Songfacts®:

  • You don't hear songs very often about decades of dedicated service leading to a comfortable retirement, but that's what's going on here, as Mattea sings about a truck driver named Charlie who is making his last run after 30 years on the road. The hook is that he's still madly in love with his wife, so now he spend the rest of his life with her - that's who the dozen roses are for.

    The song takes us through his last run - with 10 miles to go he'll listen to just a few more tunes on the all-night radio station, then hang up his keys. He'll still drive, but now in a Winnebago RV with his wife. The song was one of four #1 Country hits for Mattea.
  • This was written by the country songwriters Gene and Paul Nelson. Other songs they wrote include "Love Is the Only Way Out" by William Lee Golden, "I Have You" by Glen Campbell, and another #1 hit for Mattea, "Burnin' Old Memories."
  • "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" is one of the most popular trucking songs, and one of the most unusual in the genre, as it's very sentimental. Many songs about truckers are celebrations of the open road or stories of adventures on 18 wheels.
  • This song gets a mention in the movie Rain Man, where Dustin Hoffman's character, who has autism and is prone to making dissociated pop culture references, says, "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses" during a conversation with his brother, played by Tom Cruise.
  • According to the book America's Best Loved Country Songs by Dorothy Horstman, the songwriting brothers based this on their aunt and uncle, Hop and Louise Langley, whom they often visited in North Carolina. Hop was a trucker and Louise couldn't wait until her husband's retirement so they could hit the road in a Winnebago - which they did.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Tanita TikaramSongwriter Interviews

When she released her first album in 1988, Tanita became a UK singing sensation at age 19. She talks about her darkly sensual voice and quirky songwriting style.

Song Titles That Inspired MoviesSong Writing

Famous songs that lent their titles - and in some cases storylines - to movies.

Gary Brooker of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer and pianist for Procol Harum, Gary talks about finding the musical ideas to match the words.

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.