We All Took a Trip to Saginaw, Michigan in 1964. So What’s the Story behind This Lefty Frizzell Classic?
It was the final number one hit by one of the most legendary names in country music history.
Before 1964, you didn't know the town of Saginaw, Michigan unless you lived there or were a resident of the state. Then suddenly, we were all singing along to 'Saginaw, Michigan' as if we had lived there our whole lives!
It would turn out to be the final chart-topper for Country Music Hall of Famer Lefty Frizzell. Lefty passed away eleven years later at the much too young age of 47. But that final Lefty number one lives on, and has been recorded by dozens or artist's, perhaps most recently by superstar Randy Travis.
So who came up with this giant hit 'Saginaw, Michigan'? Did Lefty write it himself?
Two guys wrote the classic, one you know and one you don't.
Don Wayne is a legendary country music songwriter, but the key word is 'songwriter', a profession that lends itself to anonymity. You've heard lots of Don Wayne songs through the years, perhaps most notably the Cal Smith smash 'Country Bumpkin'.
Well, Don was writing this great story song but was struggling with coming up with an ending. What to do, what to do! Well, he got some help from another songwriting Hall of Fame member, a guy who's also in the Country Music Hall of Fame. His name?
Bill Anderson. Bill helped finish this great classic, so it's co-written by Don and Bill.
It spent twenty three weeks on the chart, including multiple weeks in March of 1964, before being replaced by another little song you may have heard of...'Understand Your Man' by a little known artist that went by the name of Johnny Cash!
So if you're buckled in, let's take a little road trip to 'Saginaw, Michigan'.