by Pride Transport | Nov 14, 2023
There is something almost mythical about the trucking industry—drivers travel across all kinds of terrain, making deliveries that are of the utmost importance to the communities receiving them. Then, there is the allure of the so-called “wandering lifestyle,” one that almost hails back to the Old West and times in history when people truly did travel from place to place more often.
As one of today’s most common professions, truck driving is becoming normalized and familiar to most people, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still give people underlying feelings of freedom, control over their own destiny, and adventure. In fact, that’s part of the reason why trucking is ever-present in pop culture in America.
The Role of Trucking in Movies
Truck-related themes have long been present in film history. From “Smokey and the Bandit,” which featured two truck drivers hauling an illegal trailer of beer while avoiding the sheriff, to “Convoy,” a country music-inspired movie that follows a mile-long convoy of rebelling drivers as they travel from the West to East Coast, truck drivers are often perceived as the modern-day cowboys of this country. They’re rebellious and proud, and sometimes the hero of the communities they belong to or serve.
Then there are films such as “Over the Top” and “Flatbed Annie and Sweetiepie: Lady Truckers” that develop stories around people set on living the trucking lifestyle—the first with Sylvester Stallone laying Lincoln Hawk, a man hoping to start his own trucking company, and the second with Annie Potts playing Flatbed Annie, a woman who takes up trucking with her friend Sweetiepie (Kim Darby) after Sweetiepie’s husband is injured.
In movies, truck drivers are sometimes portrayed as heroes, and other times they are villains running drugs or alcohol. In any case, they’re almost like action heroes: independent, strong, and ready to do what they need to do to meet their objectives.
Country Music and Trucking Anthems
Songs about truck drivers have been common for a long time, but they saw a surge in popularity starting in the 1970s. The songs may be part of what has created the sense of independence, masculinity, and counter-culture that can sometimes even represent this industry today. However, it’s also argued that the industry of the time was only being reflected in the music, pointing to the way many truck drivers felt in that era. That was a time of “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” which could be reflected in the trucking industry.
Some of the most popular songs centered around trucking include:
- "On the Road Again" by Willie Nelson
- "East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed
- “Truckin’” by Grateful Dead
- “Convoy” by C.W. McCall
- “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash
Rockin’ and Rollin’ on the Open Road
Country music isn’t the only type of music that takes notes from the trucking industry. In reality, rock songs often pull from open-road experiences.
Rock music has a heavier sound and more powerful electric instruments, making the songs from this genre stronger, and often more aggressive or “exciting” than those in the country genre. As a result, the themes in these songs are also varied from those in country music—you’ll hear less about the cowboy-like independence of being on the road in the following songs.
Examples of some rock songs that you might consider to be rock genre trucking anthems include:
- "Radar Love" By Golden Earring
- "Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)" by Alabama
- “Trucker Anthem” by Kid Rock
- “Road to Nowhere” by Ozzy Osbourne
Keeping in mind the differences between rock music featuring truck drivers and country trucking themes, you’ll see that many of these songs are not as much about rebellion but are more about love, regret, or relationships. This is a slight difference from country lyrics, which sometimes focus more on independence and brotherhood on the road.
TV Series Depicting the Trucking Industry
Partially as a way to introduce people to the world of truck driving and partially as a way to encourage others to learn about what drivers really do, there has been an increase in reality TV series representing careers in trucking. Of course, they are some of the most extreme careers—these shows want to be entertaining.
Some of the shows that have been produced about the trucking industry include:
- Ice Road Truckers: “Ice Road Truckers” is based in Canada and Alaska. The drivers there take their loads across unique territories including frozen lakes and rivers. It’s an interesting look into jobs that aren’t done by the majority of truck drivers due to location and other factors, as well as how important truck drivers are to these territories. The show ran from 2007 through 2017, so there are plenty of seasons to watch if driving in frozen tundras appeals to you.
- Shipping Wars: “Shipping Wars” is another trucking-focused series that looks at the days of drivers who transport the most unique items, such as cannons or animals. It’s somewhat competition-based: Drivers who want the shipments must bid. The lowest bids get the loads, but drivers also have to determine how low is too low to make money on the haul. Shipping Wars first aired in 2012 and is still running today.
- Backroad Truckers: “Backroad Truckers” follows “hot-shot truckers,” the truck drivers who will transport anything they’re asked to move almost anywhere in the region (including off-road locations). This is representative of only a minor segment of the industry but is interesting for those who would like to work in high-stakes environments. Backroad Truckers is a relatively new series that started in 2021 and continues today.
Not all of these shows are on today, but they are usually available on streaming services. They can be an interesting way to research some of the most unique jobs in the industry—and we think if you can do those, you can do almost anything the industry can throw at you.
Ready to Start Your Career With Pride?
At Pride Transport, we love to see our industry represented in popular culture and media today. Of course, not all representations are accurate to what the average truck driver does, but they still encourage people to think about this important industry and if they may want to build a career in it. If you’re interested in getting started, visit our job page to see job openings near you.