"Theme from The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" is a song written and recorded by American country music singer Waylon Jennings. It was released in August 1980 as the second single from the album Music Man. Recognizable to fans as the theme to the CBS comedy adventure television series, The Dukes of Hazzard, the song became a #1 hit on the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in 1980.

Song history[edit source | editbeta]Edit

As the narrator for the 1975 movie, Moonrunners, Jennings was tapped to serve in the same capacity for The Dukes of Hazzard which premiered on CBS in 1979 and was based onMoonrunners. Jennings wrote the theme song for the show and recorded two versions: the television theme version and a slightly different version made commercially available on both single and album which received radio airplay.[1]

The television show version features a banjo which the commercially available version does not. Additionally, the TV version's third verse contains the lyric, "Fightin' the system like two modern-day Robin Hoods", which is accompanied by a "Yee-haw!" said by characters, Bo Duke (John Schneider) and Luke Duke (Tom Wopat), though it is in fact Schneider's vocal used twice.

The commercially available version receiving radio airplay contains a musical bridge which follows the first verse and chorus. Also, following the commercial version's second chorus, Jennings makes a tongue-in-cheek reference about how his mother doesn't understand "why they keep showing my hands and not my face on TV" (a statement referring to the opening shot in the television theme version where Jennings is only shown below the neck playing guitar).

Most of Jennings' greatest hits albums and various compilation releases containing the "Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" feature the commercially available version.

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta]Edit

In November 1980, "Theme From The Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" became Jennings' twelfth #1 country hit overall (tenth as a solo recording act). The song spent seventeen weeks on the Billboard country singles charts and became his biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #21.[2] It also appeared on several other music charts. The song was certified double-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America with over 2 million in sales.[3]

Chart performance[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Chart (1980) Peak


New Zealand Singles Chart 26
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 2
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 21
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 22

Other versions[edit source | editbeta]Edit

The song was covered by the Swedish Lo-fi-group Loosegoats on their demo For Sale by Owner but has never been featured on any of their full-length albums.

Rapper Lil Wyte sampled the song on his song "Comin' Yo Direction" off his album Doubt Me Now.

Other artists[edit source | editbeta]Edit

Waylon Jennings' son Shooter Jennings is known for singing "Good ol' Boys" at the Dukefests, which honor the show, and his late father.

Along with Willie Nelson and Ben Jones (Cooter in the show), Waylon Jennings sang the song in an extended version.

Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song while driving The General Lee for their 1982 album The Chipmunks Go Hollywood.

In 2006, John Schneider (Bo Duke), Tom Wopat (Luke Duke), and Catherine Bach (Daisy Duke) made a music video, as seen on the 7th Season DVD of the series.

In the The Dukes of Hazzard film adaptation (2005), a recording of Waylon Jennings was used in one scene, also, as heard on the soundtrack, by Willie Nelson (Uncle Jesse in the film).

In the 2007 film, The Dukes of Hazzard: The Beginning, country singer John Anderson sings the theme.

Nike used the song in an advertising campaign featuring NFL star Randy Moss and NBA star Jason Williams, who were teammates in the same high school in rural Belle, West Virginia.