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Bill Fries “C.W. McCall”

State Historical Society of Iowa
401 North Park Place, Audubon, IA, USA
41.7215567, -94.9313198
Grant Recipient
State Historical Society of Iowa
Historic Marker

Bill Fries “C.W. McCall”


Bill Fries "C.W. McCall"

Bill Fries (November 15, 1928-April 1, 2022) was born in Audubon, Iowa. His parents played musical instruments and Fries aspired to become a classical musician. He attended the University of Iowa, where he played clarinet. In the early 1970s, Fries headed the advertising account for Old Home Bread (Metz Baking Company). He created a commercial with a trucker, Mavis the Waitress, and the Old Home Filler-Up an’ Keep On-a-Truckin’ Café. Viewers loved it, calling TV stations asking when it would air! Fries won a Clio Award in 1976 for the commercial. This launched a catalog of songs (written by Fries and Chip Davis) about long-haul truckers performed by Fries using the stage name C.W. McCall during the height of America’s CB radio craze. McCall’s biggest hit was “Convoy”, which sold an estimated 7 million copies and inspired Sam Peckinpah’s 1978 film of the same name. McCall headlined national concerts and sold 20 million records by 1980. He retired to Ouray, Colorado, where he served as mayor from 1986 to 1992.

Erected by Audubon County Tourism and the State Historical Society of Iowa with funding support from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. 2022.