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The Iconic Theme Song
“The Dukes of Hazzard” theme song is just as legendary as the beloved TV series itself. Imagine hitting play and immediately being transported into the world of Luke and Bo Duke (portrayed by Tom Wopat and John Schneider) tearing up the roads in their custom Dodge Charger. And who could forget their cousin Daisy (played by Catherine Bach) in her iconic “Daisy Duke” shorts? The theme song set the perfect tone for the show’s unforgettable adventures.
Enter Waylon Jennings
You might be surprised to learn that the narrator of the 1975 film “Moonrunners,” featuring James Mitchum and Kiel Martin as two bootlegging cousins, was none other than the renowned country music legend Waylon Jennings. When Warner Bros approached writer and director Gy Waldron about transforming his film into a TV comedy, Jennings came along for the ride. Four years later, “The Dukes of Hazzard” became a huge hit on CBS, running for an impressive seven seasons.
Waldron adapted several elements from his original film, including character names like Uncle Jesse and the bootleg liquor storyline (Bo and Luke Duke were cousins on probation for distilling moonshine). However, the most important element he retained was Jennings himself. Jennings lent his distinctive voice to narrate the show, wrote and performed the famous theme song “Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys).”
Waylon Jennings’ Single Release
Jennings’ theme song, “Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys),” gained so much recognition and popularity that he released it as a single on his 1980 album, Music Man. Fans couldn’t resist the catchy tune they associated with the hit show. The single soared to the top of the Hot Country Singles Chart and even reached a commendable #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Before its commercial release, Jennings made a few playful alterations to his version of the theme song. The third verse humorously acknowledges that his role on the show mainly takes place offscreen:
“You know my momma loves me,
But she don’t understand,
They keep a showin’ my hands,
And not my face on TV.”
Due to popular demand from fans, Jennings eventually made a physical appearance in the final season of the show. The episode, aptly titled “Welcome, Waylon Jennings,” introduced the country singer as a friend of the Duke family.
The Dukes of Hazzard’s Version
While Jennings added a personal touch to his single, the show’s own theme song incorporated elements specific to “The Dukes of Hazzard.” The third verse references the two main characters, describing them as “Fightin’ the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods,” followed by a Yeehaw from Bo and Luke. The show’s theme song also features banjo playing that didn’t make it into Jennings’ track.
Which version do you prefer? Regardless, “The Dukes of Hazzard” theme song will forever be one of Waylon Jennings’ signature tunes and a timeless classic.