I worked as a short order cook for the grill/fountain area and on some days did drug deliveries to the pharmacy's regular customers, especially those who were shut-ins. (Dapper Dan, the Drug Delivery Man.)
The drugstore vehicle I drove while making the deliveries was a brand new, stripped down, white 1962 Chevy II wagon. It had a 90 hp four cylinder engine. Except for the color and the fancy trim, it looked a little like this...
I said it was stripped down, and it was, but it did have an AM radio which I always tuned to WSM 650 as I made my deliveries.
That summer and fall I'll bet I heard Claude King's "Wolverton Mountain" about a thousand times on that Chevy II radio as I made my drug deliveries. (You can listen to the tune below.) The DJs played it over and over. It seemed like every time I got in the drug wagon and turned the radio on, the song was playing.
King actually co wrote the song with Merle Kilgore who had written a crude draft of the song earlier. It was based on an actual person, Kilgore's uncle Clifton. King liked what Kilgore had and deftly shaped the rough original into the hit ballad.
The song has a catchy tune, tells a story about a love struck young man and the girl protected by her father who lives on Wolverton Mountain, and it has those echoing "ahoooos" at the beginning.
King was born in Keithville in southern Caddo Parish near the city of Shreveport, Louisiana. At a young age, he was interested in music but more so in athletics. He purchased a guitar at the age of twelve, and although he learned to play, most of his time was devoted to sports. He was offered a baseball scholarship to the University of Idaho at Moscow, Idaho.
King later returned to Shreveport and joined Louisiana Hayride, a television and radio show produced in Shreveport and broadcast in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. King was frequently on the same shows with Elvis Presley, Tex Ritter, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Slim Whitman, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves,George Jones, and Lefty Frizzell.
"Wolverton Mountain" was a hit right away and stayed at No. 1 on the country charts for nine weeks; it also cracked the top ten 100 hot list for that year and eventually sold a million records.
Mr. King died this week at age 90. Here's the song which he'll be remembered for over many years to come.