Thursday, November 24, 1988

50 years ago: Roy Acuff charted with “Wabash Cannonball”

Wabash Cannonball

Roy Acuff & the Smoky Mountain Boys

Writer(s): J.A. Roff, adapted by A.P. Carter (see lyrics here)

First Charted: November 24, 1938

Peak: 12 US (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, -- UK, 10.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.31 video, 1.97 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

This is “a genuine knight-of-the-road ballad with a touch of the Paul Bunyan flavor,” RA “perhaps the greatest of all train songs.” SS The song originated in the 1880s, In 1882, J.A. Roff wrote words and music for “The Great Rock Island Route!,” a song about a mythical train which traveled coast to coast. It became an anthem for hoboes. In Southern America in the late 19th century, the railroad offered a different form of work for those wishing to escape the farms and served up a touch of romanticism for those who wanted to live a less conventional life, riding the rails and going wherever the trains would take them.

William Kindt adapted Roff’s piece in 1905 under the title “Wabash Cannonball.” There were several Wabash Railroad passenger trains dating back to the 1880s while the term “cannonball” was used to reference a fast train. When the song entered the public domain in 1928, it was reworked and claimed by A.P. Carter whose group, the Carter Family, recorded the song the next year, but didn’t release it until 1932. In the meantime an unissued version was recorded by Clark & Edans in 1928 and Tennessee singer and guitarist recorded and released the song in 1929.

Roy Acuff, who was billed as “the King of Country Music,” SS recorded the song in 1936 with Dynamite Hatcher on vocals, but didn’t release it until 1938. NRR He didn’t record it with his vocal until 1947, although he performed it regularly on the Grand Ole Opry, SS where he first appeared in 1938 and was its top star by 1942. NRR His “voice was pure country and he was one of the first to carry the title ‘hillbilly’ proudly.” AC He embraced the plain and simple values of poor, rural Americans and gained an audience via his recordings, tours, and movie appearances. NRR In 1962, he was the first living artist elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. NRR


  • DMDB Encyclopedia entry for Roy Acuff
  • AC Ace Collins (1996). The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs. New York, NY; The Berkley
  • NRR National Recording Registry Publishing Group.
  • RA Theodore Raph (1964). The Songs We Sang: A Treasury of American Popular Music. A.S. Barnes and Co., Inc.: New York. Page 367.
  • SS Steve Sullivan (2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings (Volumes I & II). Scarecrow Press: Lanham, Maryland. Pages 67-8.

First posted 11/24/2014; last updated 8/26/2022.

Tuesday, November 15, 1988

Journey’s Greatest Hits released

First posted 7/24/2008; updated 9/17/2020. This page has been expanded, reworked, and moved here.

Saturday, November 5, 1988

Fleetwood Mac released Greatest Hits

First posted 4/6/2008; last updated 9/17/2020.

Greatest Hits

Fleetwood Mac

Released: November 5, 1988

Recorded: 1975-1988

Peak: 14 US, 3 UK, -- CN, 3 AU

Sales (in millions): 8.0 US, 0.9 UK, 16.5 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: classic rock

Tracks: (1) Rhiannon (2) Don’t Stop (3) Go Your Own Way (4) Hold Me (5) Everywhere (6) Gypsy (7) You Make Loving Fun (8) As Long As You Follow (9) Dreams (10) Say You Love Me (11) Tusk (12) Little Lies (13) Sara (14) Big Love (15) Over My Head (16) No Questions Asked

Total Running Time: 64:19


4.370 out of 5.00 (average of 9 ratings)


A Brief History:

Fleetwood Mac started in 1967 as a British blues band. Over eight years, members came and went with Mick Fleetwood and John McVie being the only constants. By 1975, they’d settled on the lineup that over a dozen years, would bring them to their greatest commercial heights. The American folk-duo of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks joined the band in 1974, giving the band a poppier, classic rock feel.

  • Lindsey Buckingham (vocals, guitar, et al)
  • Stevie Nicks (vocals, tambourine)
  • Christine McVie (vocals, keyboards)
  • John McVie (bass)
  • Mick Fleetwood (drums, percussion)
These years include five studio albums each with their own DMDB page. All have brief snapshots on this page.

The Studio Albums:

Under each album snapshot, songs featured on the Greatest Hits are noted. Song titles are followed by the names of writers in parentheses, the song’s length in brackets, and then the date the song charted and its peaks on various charts. Click for codes to singles charts.

Fleetwood Mac (1975):

After ten studio albums, Fleetwood Mac leapt into the arena of commercial stardom with a self-titled release. On the strength of three top-20 hits in the U.S., the album which introduced Lindsey Buckingham to Stevie Nicks, hit #1 and became a multi-platinum seller. The band had previously never reached higher than #34 on the Billboard album chart.

  • Over My Head (C. McVie) [4:11] (11/8/75, 20 US, 32 AC, 9 CN, airplay: 2 million)
  • Rhiannon (Nicks) [4:11] (3/6/76, 11 US, 33 AC, 46 UK, 4 CN, 13 AU, airplay: 3 million)
  • Say You Love Me (C. McVie) [4:11] (7/4/76, 11 US, 12 AC, 40 UK, 29 CN, 38 AU, airplay: 2 million)

Rumours (1977):

Expectations were high and so were the band members. They were also fighting so much as a band that the success they’d just found looked certain to derail. Instead, the broken relationships behind the scenes fueled their songs and the album became one of the most successful in history. Sporting four top-ten U.S. hits, it sold 40 million copies worldwide and spent 31 weeks atop the Billboard album chart in the U.S.

  • Go Your Own Way (Buckingham) [3:43] (12/76, 10 US, 45 AC, 38 UK, 11 CN, 20 AU, airplay: 1 million)
  • Dreams (Nicks) [4:14] (3/24/77, 1 US, 11 AC, 24 UK, 1 CN, 19 AU, sales: ½ million, airplay: 5 million)
  • Don’t Stop (C. McVie) [3:13] (4/30/77, 3 US, 22 AC, 32 UK, 1 CN, 30 AU, airplay: 3.0 m)
  • You Make Loving Fun (C. McVie) [3:31] (9/77, 9 US, 28 AC, 45 UK, 7 CN, 65 AU, airplay: 2 million))

Tusk (1979):

Fleetwood Mac got ambitious the next time out, releasing a double album. It didn’t match the success of the previous outing – which would have been damn-near impossible – but it still gave the band two more top-ten hits in the U.S.

  • Tusk (Buckingham) [3:37] (10/6/79, 8 US, 6 UK, 5 CN, 3 AU)
  • Sara (Nicks) [6:22] (12/15/79, 7 US, 13 AC, 37 UK, 12 CN, 11 AU, airplay: 2 million)

Mirage (1982):

Since their last album, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham had each found solo success. Nicks had gone all the way to #1 on the U.S. album chart with Bella Donna, which had two top-ten hits, and Buckingam hit the top 10 with his song “Trouble.” Audiences were eager to hear the band as a whole again. Ironically, though, it was Christine McVie who had the highest-charting single from the album with “Hold Me.”

  • Hold Me (C. McVie/Robbie Patton) [3:44] (6/19/82, 4 US, 3 AR, 7 AC, 94 UK, 9 CN, 12 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  • Gypsy (Nicks) [4:24] (7/24/82, 12 US, 4 AR, 9 AC, 46 UK, 16 CN, 17 AU, airplay: 2 million)

Tango in the Night (1987):

After some more solo forays, which now included a solo album and top-10 hit from Christine McVie, the band came together again for what would be the last studio album with the classic lineup that brought the group its biggest taste of fame. Seven songs from Tango in the Night hit various charts with four of those reaching the top-20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

  • Big Love (Buckingham) [3:37] (3/28/87, 5 US, 2 AR, 23 AC, 9 UK, 17 CN, 16 AU)
  • Seven Wonders (Stewart/ Nicks) [3:38] (4/25/87, 19 US, 2 AR, 13 AC, 56 UK, 47 CN, 23 AU)
  • Little Lies (McVie/ Quintela) [3:40] (8/2/87, 4 US, 14 AR, 1 AC, 5 UK, 3 CN, 16 AU, airplay: 2 million)
  • Everywhere (C. McVie) [3:48] (11/28/87, 14 US, 22 AR, 1 AC, 4 UK, 45 AU, airplay: 1 million)

Greatest Hits (1988):

Greatest Hits is a fine overview of Fleetwood Mac’s hit-making years, containing the bulk of the group’s Top 40 hits of the late ‘70s and ‘80s,” AMG which included such fare as top-10 hits Go Your Own Way, Tusk, Sara, Hold Me, Big Love, and Little Lies and their only #1 hit, Dreams. Minor hits like ‘Think About Me’ [and] ‘Love in Store’… are missing, making room for the new songs As Long as You Follow…and No Questions Asked, but overall, Greatest Hits is an excellent choice for casual listeners.” AMG

  • As Long As You Follow (11/26/88, 43 US, 15 AR, 1 AC, 66 UK, 35 AU)
  • No Questions Asked (12/4/88, 37 AR)

Notes: “Seven Wonders” was added to the 2006 reissue.

Resources and Related Links: