Bob had a strong folk background and when his friend Allen Reynolds suggested he move to Nashville and start writing country songs, McDill hesitated. He told Allen that he would have to learn to like country music before he could attempt to write it seriously. An important step toward this end took place by happenstance while Bob was riding around Memphis with some friends one night in 1971. George Jones’ “A Good Year For The Roses” came on the car radio and the song’s lyrics hit McDill like a ton of bricks. He began studying country music the way a seminary student studies the gospel. Shortly afterward, Bob took Reynolds’ advice and relocated to Music City.
By 1973, Johnny Russell brought McDill his first Top Five Billboard single with “Red Necks, White Socks And Blue Ribbon Beer,” beginning an odyssey that saw nearly 150 more of his songs appear on Billboard’s country chart over the next 27 years. Of those, 31 reached number one.
Bob retired from songwriting in 2000, but he recently made news when his personal collection of 217 legal pads, containing handwritten manuscripts to many of his songs, was donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. McDill had saved all the legal pads on which he wrote, first as a habit. Then, his publisher told him they’d be a good defense in the possible event of a “copyright infringement” lawsuit (which never happened).