Story Behind the Song: ‘Coca Cola Cowboy’ by Mel Tillis
There's a very interesting story behind one of the biggest hits by country artist Mel Tillis. The song we are talking about, is “Coca Cola Cowboy”.
It all centers around Mel wanting to be in a movie. The movie was Every Which Way But Loose starring Clint Eastwood.
Eastwood hired Snuff Garrett to produce the soundtrack for the film. Tillis met with Garrett in San Diego after agreeing to be in the film.
Snuff played Mel a couple of songs, neither of which interested Mel. He told Snuff that he would write a couple of his own for the movie.
Snuff insisted that Mel record his songs or forget about being in the movie. Mel said, “You mean I have to do those or forget about being in the movie?”
Snuff answered, “That’s right.” Mel paused and said, “Well, they sound better already!”
Mel cut both songs and made his appearance in the movie. The first being, “Send Me Down To Tucson”, which went to number two on the country music charts.
The second song was “Coca Cola Cowboy”, which Mel totally disliked. He and producer Jimmy Bowen agreed it was the dumbest song they had ever heard in their lives.
After it went to number one, they changed their minds. It went to the top of the charts in August 1979.
The song was written by Sandy Pinkard, Steve Dorff, Bud Dain and Sam Atchley.
Source: Number One Country Hits by Tom Roland