To perhaps generate some sort of idea of how he would go about composing this TV theme song, Haggard went to NBC’s Burbank studios to watch the screening of the pilot episode of “Movin’ On.” At the screening was the show’s star, veteran character actor Claude Akins, one of the most recognizable faces in movies and television for decades. Akins was also a big fan of country music and Merle in particular.
As the two men sat in the screening room watching the pilot, Haggard remembered the old song by Hank Snow from 25 years before called “I’m Movin’ On.” Although the earlier hit had nothing to do with over-the-road truckers (the subject of the new television show), the Snow tune did add a bit of a setback in Merle’s mind. He realized that he had to veer as far away from the older song as he could and still stay on topic.
After viewing the first episode, Haggard knew that the best way to approach it would be to simply try to re-create what he saw on the screen and pay tribute to the show’s main characters “Sonny Pruitt” (Akins) and “Will Chandler” (Frank Converse) as best he could. In doing so, Merle saluted every over-the-road truck driver at the same time with a heartfelt “thanks” to the guys and gals who deliver the goods all across the nation. The record turned out very well. In one of his best performances, Roy Nichols’ hot guitar licks on his Fender Telecaster were brilliant.