Single Of The Day-Cledus Maggard “The White Knight”
Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable, in the CD player, or in the MP3 player. Your Single of The Day is a number one hit from the days of the CB radio craze, by an advertising executive. I know, you’re thinking “Convoy”, by C. W. McCall. No. It is ironic, though, that this single mirrored that classic in so many ways. The late Jay Huguely was an advertising executive in Greenville, South Carolina, when he recorded a song titled “White Knight”, under the name Cledus Maggard. Of course, McCall’s real name was William Fries, who also happened to be in advertising, as well. Both songs are about CBs and semis, both are novelties, both became unlikely Pop hits, and both topped the Country music charts. In fact, within three weeks of each other.
It was January, when “Convoy” ended it’s six-week run atop the Country charts, and three weeks later, Valentine’s Day, 1976, to be exact, “The White Knight” would spend it’s only week at number one. Unlike “Convoy”, “The White Knight” wouldn’t top the Pop charts, only peaking at nineteen. The song, about a trucker duped into speeding into a speed trap, by a police officer using the handle, White Knight, came in two versions, both included on the single. The original, full version is just over seven minutes in length, while the edited version is just under four minutes. One other difference you’ll notice, is in the beginning lyrics; the short version starts out, “Round 75 or 85…”, while the longer version uses 95 instead of 85. Also, at the beginning, “cotton-picker” is replaced by “good buddy” on the shorter version. To date, I’ve not been able to find out why this is. Perhaps one of our great readers knows the answer?
As for Cledus Maggard/Jay Huguely, it was his only hit. He did release two albums for Mercury and had three more singles, but all failed to crack the Country 40.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.