Red Simpson, 1934 — 2016

Red Simpson, 1934 -- 2016

Singer, musician, and songwriter Red Simpson died earlier this month. His songs helped define country music’s Bakersfield Sound, and his truck driving songs formed the soundtrack of midcentury American highways.

“Close Up the Honky Tonks,” written and performed by Red Simpson. The song was a big hit for Buck Owens in 1964.


“‘Truck Driver’ Singer Red Simpson Dead at 81,” Joseph Hudak, Rolling Stone

“Red Simpson, Pioneer of Bakersfield Sound, Dead at 81,” Edward Morris, CMT

“Red Simpson, 81, Who Made Trucks a Vehicle for the Bakersfield Sound, Dies,” William Grimes, New York Times


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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