David Allan Coe Song Gets Shout Out on “Jeopardy”

“What is country music?!”

This is what thousands of country music fans screamed at their televisions on Tuesday, June 8th when they were taken by surprise to see one of the questions on the TV game show dealt with one of the most iconic songs in country history. After all, how many others songs are labeled as “perfect?”

Of course the Jeopardy answer was alluding to the song “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” released in June of 1975 by David Allan Coe, which became a Top 10 hit in country, and eventually one of Coe’s signature songs, and a signature song for country music.

Luckily, one of the contestants knew the right answer. Verlinda Johnson Henning from Memphis had won the show on Monday, June 7th, and was the returning champion on Tuesday. Though she ended up losing, she buzzed in and got the question right, along with another in the category whose answers all dealt with identifying musical genres.

For years Steve Goodman was attributed as the sole writer of “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” since he’s the one that David Allan Coe name drops in the song. But fellow songwriting legend and close friend John Prine also participated in the writing of the song. Written in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel on Park Avenue in New York, the two hungry songwriters had been gifted the suite by performer Paul Anka. After raiding the room’s liquor stash, the two got a little crazy, and “You Never Even Called Me By My Name” was born.

Though it’s best known for its funny list of country music cliches, the song was initially written as a kiss off to the country music industry for not giving recognition to Steve Goodman and John Prine, who were virtually unknowns when the song was written.

To learn more about “You Never Even Called Me By My Name,” there’s a whole Country History X Episode on the subject you can check out.

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