David Allan Coe

The story of David Allan Coe has to begin with his problems with the law. From an early age, David had problems conforming to society’s laws. At the age of fourteen, young David Allan Coe found himself at the Boy’s Industrial School in Lancaster Ohio. Over the next 16 years he would see many correctional institutions. In 1967, after he was released from his parole, he journeyed to Nashville to pursue a music career. When he arrived in Nashville he had long hair, earrings, tattoos, and he probably looked like he could have fit in better in the hippie communitity than in the straight laced Nashville community. Of course most people pursueing a music career have their “dishwashing” story but David took it one step further, actually living out of an old hearse, which he liked to park in front of the Ryman Auditorium (then home of the Grand old Opry). The story goes that he would talk to the stage door guards at the back of the Ryman during the shows, all the while sweating in the un-air-conditioned back stage area and then burst out the back door with his rhinestone jacket on. Unknowing country music fans would naturally think him a big star and mob him. It was during this time when someone took to calling him the “Mysterious Rhinestone Cowboy”. In 1968 his big break came. Shelby Singleton of Plantation Records took notice of his talents and released his first album entitled Penitentiary Blues. Within the next year he started touring with the rock group, Grand Funk Railroad.

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