C.W. McCall Dies: No 1 Hit ‘Convoy’ Singer And Songwriter Was 93

C.W. McCall, best known for his massive 1975 hit Convoy, died Friday in Ouray, Colo. at age 93 from cancer. His death was first reported by the Washington Post.

McCall, real name Bill Fries, was working in advetising when he devised the character of C.W. McCall for a 1973 advertising spot for Old Home Bread. The ad won a Clio award, and it spawned a new career for Fries, who took on the persona of an outlaw trucker.

McCall dominated the county music charts from 1974 to 1978. In addition to his No. 1 hit with “Convoy,” which rode the CB craze of the era, he charted with “Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep On-a-Truckin’ Cafe,” “Wolf Creek Pass,” “Classified,” “There Won’t Be No Country Music (There Won’t Be No Rock ‘n’ Roll)” and “Roses for Mama.”

“Convoy” went on to spawn a 1978 film starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali McGraw, and Ernest Borgnine.

McCall and advertising partner Chip Davis were the cowriters on the hits, with Davis writing the music, while McCall wrote the words and delivered the vocals.

McCall went on to become mayor in his Ouray, Colo. hometown from 1986-1992, while Davis, who founded Mannheim Steamroller in 1974 , scored success with that act, becoming a holiday staple.

“Convoy” the song recently had a revival, becoming the anthem of the Canadian “Freedom Convoy” protesting vaccination mandates.

McCall is survived by his wife of 70 years, Rena Bonnema Fries; three children, Bill Fries III, Mark Fries and Nancy Fries; a sister; four grandchildren; four great-grandchildren and a great-great-grandson.


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