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Music video by Steve Earle performing Copperhead Road. (C) 1988 MCA Nashville, a Division of UMG Recordings, Inc.

Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Copperhead Road on Wikipedia
"Copperhead Road"
Single by Steve Earle
from the album Copperhead Road
FormatCD single
GenreCountry rock, Heartland rock
Writer(s)Steve Earle
Producer(s)Steve Earle
Tony Brown
Steve Earle singles chronology

"Copperhead Road" is a song written and recorded by American country music artist Steve Earle. It was released in 1988 as the lead single and title track from the album Copperhead Road. The song reached number 10 on the U.S. Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, and was Earle's highest-peaking song to date on the rock chart in the United States.


  • 1 Content
  • 2 Music video
  • 3 Chart performance
  • 4 References


The song's narrator is named John Lee Pettimore, whose father and grandfather were both active in moonshine making and bootlegging in rural Johnson County, Tennessee. Pettimore's grandfather visited town only rarely, in order to buy supplies for a still he had set up in a hollow along Copperhead Road, and he had taken precautions to stop federal agents from finding it or apprehending him. Pettimore's father hauled the moonshine to Knoxville each week, but was killed in an accident during one of these runs.

Pettimore enlists in the Army on his birthday, believing he will soon be drafted ("They draft the white trash first 'round here anyway"), and serves two tours of duty in Vietnam. Once he returns home, he decides to use the Copperhead Road land to grow marijuana, rather than produce moonshine ("I take the seed from Colombia and Mexico"). Having learned a few tricks from the Viet Cong while fighting overseas, he resolves not to be caught by the DEA.

Copperhead Road was an actual road near Mountain City, Tennessee, although it has since been renamed Copperhead Hollow Road, owing to theft of road signs bearing the song's name. The song also inspired a popular line dance, timed to the same beat, and has been used as the theme music for the Discovery Channel reality series Moonshiners.

Music video

The music video was directed by Tony Vanden Ende and premiered in early-1988.

Chart performance


  1. ^ " – Steve Earle – Copperhead Road". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  2. ^ UK peak

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