Don Gibson and trailer park songs, on this day in country history
Trailer parks have a bad rap, no doubt about it. But there's no use denying their pervasiveness in American culture. These semi-permanent structures are cheap and easy enough to transport.
It was on this day in 1957 that country singer Don Gibson sat in his home in a Knoxville, Tennessee trailer park, strumming on his guitar. As the story goes, a repo man had just picked up his vacuum cleaner and television. That afternoon, perhaps inspired by the sadness of being down and out -- or motivated by the same -- he wrote two of the biggest hits of his career: "Oh Lonesome Me" and "I Can't Stop Loving You." By the next year, Gibson would be a major Nashville hitmaker, and appear for the first of many times on the Grand Ole Opry.
"When I wrote those two songs, I couldn't have been any closer to the bottom," he later said. Both tunes have since become oft-covered American standards, selling millions in recordings by everyone from Gibson to Count Basie, Ray Charles to Neil Young.
So here's to you, Don Gibson, and to an afternoon well-spent in a trailer park.
Toby Keith - "Trailerhood" (2010)
Sammy Kershaw - "Queen of My Double Wide Trailer" (1993)
Gene Watson - "No Trash in My Trailer" (2001)
Billy Ray Cyrus - "Burn Down the Trailer Park" (2000)
Southern Culture on the Skids - "DoubleWide"
Cowboy Junkies - "Murder, Tonight, in the Trailer Park" (1992)
Roger Miller - "King of the Road" (1964)
...and the two hits inspired by trailer park livin':
June Carter and Don Gibson - "Oh, Lonesome Me"
Don Gibson and the Jordanaires - "I Can't Stop Loving You"
Ray Charles - "I Can't Stop Loving You"
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.