On Friday, April 1, 1975, Convoy hitmaker CW McCall (aka William Dale Fries Jr.) died at the age of 93. His son, Bill Fries III, apparently verified his death, which was initially reported by The Washington Post. The country singer-songwriter is most known for his truck-themed songs, such as Convoy, his greatest success. The 1975 country hit topped the charts for both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Hot Country Songs (Billboard).
According to The Washington Post, Dale Fries Jr. is survived by his wife Rena Bonnema, his three daughters, grandkids, and four great-grandchildren. The singer also has a great-great-grandchild.
CW McCall’s Cause of death
McCall allegedly died at his home in Ouray, Colorado, where he previously served as Mayor from 1986 to 1992. Dale Fries Jr. claimed in February that he had cancer and implied that the singer was having treatment at the time. While the kind of cancer was not stated, it was most likely in an advanced stage for William Dale Fries Jr. to die within two months of his pronouncement. The length of his cancer diagnosis remained unclear at the time of publication of this article.
Following the passing of William Dale Fries Jr. (aka CW McCall), condolences have poured in. Many fans of country music flocked to Twitter to offer their respects to the late musician. Many people mentioned his tunes being broadcast on citizen band radio (CB radio) for truckers and other admirers.
Thank you to C.W. McCall for making the very first record that I ever bought with my own money. Rest in peace sir ✌️ https://t.co/0YyAtiWkKF
— Sebastian Bach (@sebastianbach) April 3, 2022
CW McCall’s illustrious legacy
William Dale Fries Jr. (born Billie Dale Fries) worked in an advertising firm in Nebraska in the early 1970s. In 1974, he created an award-winning advertisement idea for Metz Baking Company’s product Old Home Bread. C. W. McCall, a truck driver, was designed by William Dale Fries Jr. for the campaign. While the role was first performed by Texan actor Jim Finlayson, Dale Fries Jr. became associated with the moniker. The ad’s popularity produced a slew of songs, many of which were written and performed by the late artist. Meanwhile, Mannheim Steamroller creator Chip Davis contributed to the music of these successes and performed the instruments. MGM Records signed the pair in the early days of its music publishing. It was later followed by Polydor Records and American Gramaphone. Throughout their career, they published eight studio albums, the most recent of which, American Spirit, was released in 2003.
Convoy, CW McCall’s most famous song, has been certified gold by the RIAA. The song spawned a feature film starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali McGraw, and Ernest Borgnine in 1978. The music was also used in the wildly successful Grand Theft Auto V video game by Rockstar Games. McCall was a previous politician and activist as well. Many of his songs raised awareness of situations such as the Iran hostage crisis (as shown in Argo), which the artist alluded to in his song Kidnap America.