Posted in: News, Trivia Q & A | 1 Comment | June 25, 2022
Q. Who sang ‘Dead Skunk In The Middle Of The Road’?
A. Louden Wainwright III
One of the most proficient and accomplished singer-songwriters of his time, but his best-known song - and only chart entry - is this novelty hit. Exposure from the song led to his first acting role: a stint as the guitar-playing Captain Spaulding on the M.A.S.H. TV series. Wainwright did a lot more acting later in his career, appearing on the shows Ally McBeal and Undeclared, and in the movies Big Fish and The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
This song was inspired by a flattened little stinker on a suburban New York road. When it was released, there were a number of alternative interpretations of the meaning of this song’s lyrics ranging from man’s destruction of nature to an allegory about president Nixon. When asked about these differing readings by the London Times July 26, 2008, Wainwright replied with open palms: “Well, OK. But for me, it was just about a dead skunk lying there in the highway.”
Loudon’s son Rufus was born the year this song was released, and when Rufus was little, he would sometimes join his dad on stage to sing along with this song. Rufus became a very popular songwriter in his own right, but had a tense relationship with his dad, who didn’t get to spend much time with his son because of his touring schedule.
Although the single was released in November 1972, it was not until well into 1973 that it caught on with radio stations, and its number 16 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 chart was not reached until the week ending 31 March 1973. It was the only record to chart for Wainwright.
The song has been played every Friday near 9 am, on Top 40 radio station KRRY (“Y101”) in Quincy, Illinois, since 1985. Y101 disc jockeys Dennis Oliver and Jeffrey Dorsey claim the two have played “Dead Skunk” more than any other radio station in the United States.
The song has replaced the traditional “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” as the 7th inning stretch song at Georgia Institute of Technology Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium.
lol, know the song…
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