McCamey, Texas is a city in Upton County Texas. As of the last census it had a population of just under 1900 people. McCamey is known today as the “Wind Energy Capitol of Texas,” because of the many wind farms in the area. Dan Seals was born on this day, February 8, 1948 in McCamey, Texas.
“Big Wheels In The Moonlight,” by Dan Seals is about McCamey, or as I have always been told It could be about Rankin, Texas. Rankin is another small town in Upton county only minutes away from McCamey. Either way, I have been to both of these towns many times in my life and the song fits. Even as of today, Rankin only has one red light. In between these two towns lies the shell of a building. A place long gone before my time. This old roadside beerjoint was once known as The Girvin Social Club. I have sat many times looking at that old abandoned rock structure and have imagined dancing the night away to the music of Dan Seals.
I came from a town that was so small
You look both ways, you could see it all
All I wanted was some way out
Every evening I’d slip into town
And stand around by the caution light
And watch the big trucks rolling by
For me it was a beautiful sight
Big wheels in the moonlight
Big Wheels in the Moonlight -Lyrics by D. Seals and B. McDill
Danny Wayland Seals began his career in music as “England Dan” a nick name he had received from his older brother Jim Seals. He got the nickname because of his fascination with the Beatles. He even tried to speak and reflect an English accent.
Older brother Jim Seals also had musical fame in the American rock duo of Seals and Crofts. The group is best known for their singles, “Summer Breeze” (1972), “Diamond Girl” (1973), and “Get Closer” (1976).
“England Dan” was one half of the soft rock duo England Dan & John Ford Coley. The two charted nine singles between 1976 and 1980. After the duo disbanded, Dan Seals dropped the “England Dan” moniker and went solo in country music.
As Dan Seals he released more than 16 albums. He had over 20 singles on the country charts in the 1980’s and 90’s. Eleven of those singles reached number one, including “Big Wheels in the Moonlight.”
One of my favorite country songs ever written is “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold).” This is also a Dan Seals #1 hit song. The song was released in March 1986 on the EMI label. The song appeared on the album, Won’t Be Blue Anymore. It was cowritten by Dan Seals and Bob McDill.
The song is about the story tellers estranged relationship with his wife who is also on the Rodeo Circuit. In the song the storyteller has custody of a daughter and he is obviously not the star he once was. He is getting older. He fails at answering the questions of what his daughter is asking him. He feels resentful towards a woman he once loved so much.
I cannot hear the song even today without feeling a bit of heartache and sadness inside myself. The story in the song is a story that I can easily put myself into. Throughout the song Dan Seals has this most beautiful high octave voice. “But ohh sometimes I think about you..” I do not know if it’s his voice that is able to bring me to tears, the story behind the voice, or a combination of the two.
Dan Seals last studio album was Make It Home in 2002. A greatest Hits Album, The Best of Dan Seals was released in 2005. Seals battled cancer for several years in the mid to late 2000’s. He received cancer treatments at M.D. Anderson in Houston and at Vanderbilt in Nashville. Sadly he passed away in Nashville at his daughters home on March 25, 2009 at the age of 61.
Seals may be gone, but his songs will carry us through forever..
And oh the crowd will always love you
But as for me I’ve come to know
Everything that glitters is not gold
Everything that glitters, Happy Birthday “ENGLAND DAN”