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Songs You Forgot You Loved: Dan Seals Reignites Truck Driving Songs with 'Big Wheels in the Moonlight'

Capitol Records

Soft rocker turned country star Dan Seals revisited the then-passé truck driving song in 1989 with his ninth consecutive number one hit, "Big Wheels in the Moonlight." Although he hardly has the reputation now of a Red Sovine, Seals did his diesel-driven predecessors proud with one of the more underrated hits of its time.

Born Danny Wayland Seals on Feb. 8, 1948 in McCamey, Texas, he was the little brother of Seals & Croft member Jim Seals. The younger Seals grew up to become England Dan, the soft rock singing partner of John Ford Coley. Both groups made sensitive, sunshiney AM gold--not unlike the music you hear in the Guardians of the Galaxy films. They're kin to "Seven Spanish Angels" writer Troy Seals and Little Texas' Brady Seals, making them part of one of the most active extended musical families of the past 50 years.

As a solo artist in the '80s, Dan Seals' story-driven songwriting and smooth singing voice found a home on the country music airwaves. Beginning with the sweet sentimentality of 1983's "God Must Be a Cowboy," he added his own touch to traditional country song topics. Other hits to precede "Big Wheels in the Moonlight" on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart include the Marie Osmond duet "Meet Me in Montana," Paul Davis co-write "Bop" and a well-conceived story about a rodeo cowboy facing single parenthood titled "Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold)."

For "Big Wheels in the Moonlight," Seals worked with Texas songwriting legend Bob McDill ("Good Year for the Roses," "Gone Country") to craft a memorable story about a factory town kid's dreams of someday driving a big rig. It appears on Rage On, the same album that brought fans number one single "Addicted" and another McDill co-write in "They Rage On."'

Read More: 80s Country Artists You Forgot You Loved

The music video version from 1991 sheds a little light on why "Big Wheels in the Moonlight" stood out years after the CB radio fad and other factors in the rise of truck driving songs faded away. An unidentified driver explains why he cherishes the freedom of the road, the adventure of sleeping in a different town each night and the satisfaction of earning an honest living. Those simple truths make songs about truck drivers appealing in modern times without C.W. McCall or Burt Reynolds piquing the public's interest beforehand.

"Big Wheels in the Moonlight" Lyrics

I came from a town that was so small you look both ways and you could see it all
All I wanted was some way out every evening I'd slip into town
And stand around by the caution light and watch the big trucks rolling by
For me it was a beautiful sight big wheels in the moonlight

I had a case of wanderlust I'd lie awake with the windows up
Out on highway fifty-nine I could hear some big old diesel whine
She was going through all the gears headed out to who knows where
I fell asleep most every night dreaming about big wheels in the moonlight

And I want to put my life on the center line
And I want to see the world before I die
And I know that there's a peace I'll never find
'Cause those big old wheels keep rolling through my mind

How I got here it's hard to say so many things got in my way
Can't complain about all I've got kids and a wife and a regular job
But at night when I'm setting here all alone in a living room chair
Sometimes I close my eyes and see big wheels in the moonlight

And I want to put my life on the centerline
And I want to see the world before I die
And I know that there's a peace I'll never find
'Cause those big old wheels keep rolling through my mind

And I want to put my life on the center line
And I want to see the world before I die
And I know that there's a peace I'll never find
'Cause those big old wheels keep rolling through my mind

'Cause those big old wheels keep rolling through my mind

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Songs You Forgot You Loved: Dan Seals Reignites Truck Driving Songs with 'Big Wheels in the Moonlight'