In spite of an experience with a Shetland pony her dad gave her at 5 years old, country icon Tanya Tucker would most likely list horses as her favorite mode of transportation. “He bucked me off so many times and tried to kill me so many times,” she told the Humane Society in 2009. The singer’s track record with automobiles and their horsepower has also been a bit challenging through the years. In 1973, the 14-year-old and her parents were injured in a wreck near Brady, Texas. And two years later, she was scarred in yet another vehicular mishap.
By 1980, now in her early 20s and well on her way not only to legend status but also to earning the “outlaw” tag for which she’s now famed, Tucker appeared in a promotional video for the 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird. The clip co-stars Bill Daily as “Warren,” the comic actor recognizable for his roles in I Dream of Jeannie and The Bob Newhart Show, who “crashes” through a recording studio wall surprising the singer. “These cars are indestructible, didn’t you see Smokey and the Bandit?” he says, referencing the Burt Reynolds film that featured an earlier make and model of the iconic muscle car.
Tucker, who shines as brightly as the sleek black car, is decked out in a black sequin top and tight-fitting bright red satin pants. Getting behind the wheel, she begins singing a Trans Am-related song, set to the tune of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road.” “Try a Firebird by all means, king of the road,” she croons, strolling seductively around the vehicle as she describes its many attractive attributes. It’s a blast to witness, a snapshot of an artist in full star mode delivering a high-octane blast of charisma.
Tanya Tucker’s long-awaited album While I’m Livin’ was released Friday and is already earning critical praise for the singer and the LP’s co-producers, Brandi Carlile and Shooter Jennings. On Friday night night, she performed two songs off the album, along with her signature “Delta Dawn,” during a rousing appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.