On April 16, 1983, “Dixieland Delight” became the ninth of 21 straight number one hit singles by the band Alabama. Writer Ronnie Rogers penned a song that still speaks directly to every hard-working Southerner dreaming of a romantic weekend. The song aged so well that just a few years back, fans of the band’s home state Crimson Tide college football team tried incorporating it into something else that dominates Tennessee Saturday nights in the fall.
Working For the Weekend
At a time when Alabama could do no wrong when it came to turning solid songs into No. 1 hits, the band introduced this weekend warrior anthem. The narrator worked all week for a chance to experience nature and open roads. Come Saturday night, sightseeing out among the whitetail buck deer, chubby old groundhog and red tailed hawks gives way to a romantic fling under the mountain moonlight with a home grown country girl.
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It touches on several simple yet effective country song tropes. The lyrics speak to regular working people who feel they deserve a night out once and a while. It’s also escapist, with someone likely stuck working on his feet all week getting to take in nature from his comfy pickup truck seat. Plus, with the references to Tennessee by-ways, it comes across as a celebration of the South’s scenic back roads by a group founded in Fort Payne, Ala.
A Short-Lived College Football Tradition
Few things involving Alabama Crimson Tide football during the Nick Saban years fall flat, considering the team plays for the national championship pretty much every season.
One short-lived attempt at a new tradition involved an off-color “Dixieland Delight” sing-along breaking out during rivalry games. Just as drunk college students have added a few graphic lines to Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition” over the years, Tide fans started inserting insults toward their SEC rivals. Good hearted crowd chants like “Roll Tide” or a “Rammer Jammer” sing-along weren’t enough for a game as heated as the annual showdowns against Auburn, Tennessee and LSU.
After the 2014 win over Auburn, the song was banned from home games, per a ruling by the school’s athletic director at the time, Bill Battle. Let’s just say that the Alabama football version uses a four-letter word that could apply to the implied intimacy between the narrator and his “Dixieland Delight.”
Over thirty-five years later, the song endures as more than just an example of a great fiddle bridge in a modern country hit. It’s also a relatable story that happens to be fun to sing along to in a bar or stadium.