The Carroll County Accident

Album: The Carroll County Accident (1968)
Charted: 92
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Songfacts®:

  • One of Porter Wagoner's signature songs, this hit country tune unfolds around a car accident that kills Walter Browning and leaves the driver, Mary Ellen Jones, critically injured. The accident nearly exposes the affair between the two. Jones claims Browning, a respected member of the community and seemingly happily married man, was simply giving her a lift into town. The narrator, however, comes across Browning's wedding ring in the wreckage, hidden away in a matchbox. In a surprising twist, we discover the narrator is Browning's son, and he disposes of the ring to preserve his dad's reputation.
  • Bob Ferguson, who wrote the 1960 Ferlin Husky crossover hit "Wings Of A Dove," told author Dorothy Horstman about the inspiration behind "The Carroll County Accident," a #2 hit on the country chart: "I was driving through Tennessee on my way to Mississippi when I passed an interstate sign that said 'Carroll County,' and I said to myself, 'If I don't slow down, I'll be the Carroll County accident,' and then I thought, 'If that isn't a song title, I've never heard one.'"
  • This won the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in 1969.
  • Dolly Parton recorded this for her 1969 album In the Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad). That same year, it was covered by Mel Tillis and Ernest Tubb.

Comments: 6

  • Brad In Wi from WiWhy was the ring in a match box?
    In her car, behind the dash?
    They obviously "knew" each other.....
  • Sonja from GaTo Peter from Kalgoorlie: The narrator says "I lost him in the Carroll County accident",so he apparently was a relation of Walter Browning.
    To Rod from Al: Walter may have been lying about his marital status to his mistress.
  • Peter from KalgoorlieWhere in the lyrics does it say the narrator is Browning's son?
  • Kerry from TxI first heard the song in elementary school and understood what was going on immediately. It's not that hard!
  • Rod From Al from Alabama I don’t get it. If the two were having an affair and they were the only two in the car, why hide the wedding band? And was she wearing a wedding ring? Makes no sense!
  • Sharon from TnWalter Browning was the passenger, not Mary Ellen Jones. It was her car, he flagged her down to pick him up.
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