Bill Mack was a singer-songwriter and disc jockey known for his “Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show,” popular with country music fans and long-haul truckers nationwide.
- Died: July 31, 2020 (Who else died on July 31?)
- Details of death: Died in Irving, Texas of COVID-19 at the age of 91.
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The midnight cowboy
Mack began working as a DJ on the overnight shift at WBAP-AM in Fort Worth in 1969, playing country music favorites and interviewing stars on his show. As a clear channel station – one that didn’t share its frequency with any other stations – WBAP could be heard far and wide across about half of the country. Mack’s show became a favorite of truckers, who could continue to hear it for hundreds of miles as they drove through the night. It was a listener who dubbed him “Midnight Cowboy,” and that became the name of his show. Once called “The Country Roads Show,” it was later “U.S. 1 Trucking Show” and “Midnight Cowboy Trucking Show.” In later years, Mack moved to XM Satellite Radio, becoming a star of its Open Road channel.
In addition to his DJ career, Mack was also a singer and songwriter. His best-known song was “Blue,” which he wrote and recorded in 1958. Mack offered the song to Patsy Cline (1932 – 1963) shortly before her death, hoping the superstar could make it a hit, but she died before she had a chance to record it. The song later had a chance to shine when 13-year-old LeAnn Rimes recorded it in 1996. Her version went multi-platinum and earned Mack a Grammy Award for Best Country Song.
Mack on his show’s popularity
“I get tired but then every once in a while I get a good laugh. There was this guy from Fort Worth about four years ago who was out drinkin’ on Saturday night and he smashed into a parked car. The police hauled him downtown. He said he was entitled to one phone call and the cops said sure. He called me and requested ‘A Boy Named Sue.’ The cops called back and they were laughing.” —from a 1975 interview with Texas Monthly
Tributes to Bill Mack
Full obituary: The New York Times