We all know the story about how a man named Earl met his untimely death back in 1999 at the hands of a woman named Wanda, her friend Mary Anne, and some black eyed peas.
And from the little bit the Dixie Chicks told us about Earl…
He kind of deserved it, right?
Well what if I told you that we know a little more about Earl than what we they told us in “Goodbye Earl?”
For instance, we also know that he rebuilds engines, and he’s the Charlie Daniels of the torque wrench.
That’s because Earl from “Goodbye Earl” is the same guy that pops up and tries to steal Sammy Kershaw‘s girl in his 1993 hit “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer.”
Mind = blown.
It all comes back to a guy named Dennis Linde, who happened to write both “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer” and “Goodbye Earl.”
Linde was a prolific songwriter, with hits under his belt like “Burning Love” by Elvis, Mark Chesnutt’s “Bubba Shot the Jukebox,” and Joe Diffie’s classic “John Deere Green.”
Oh, and he also wrote “Callin’ Baton Rouge,” which was originally recorded by the Oak Ridge Boys but would obviously later become a smash hit for Garth Brooks in the 90’s.
So yeah, even if you don’t know his name, you’ve definitely heard Linde’s songs.
In his songwriting, Linde sometimes referred to a villain character by the name of Earl, most prominently in “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer.”
But by the time he got around to writing what would become “Goodbye Earl,” Linde was done with this character and wanted to kill him off for good.
So that’s what he did – with his trademark wit and storytelling, of course.
Oh man, imagine being such a good writer that you come up with a character that even you can’t stand enough to keep alive anymore.
Linde was so committed to the world that he created that he also kept a map in his home that showed the “locations” he included in his songs, from the water tower that Billy Bob painted in “John Deere Green” to Earl’s final resting place, explaining that he had to have some way to keep up with the people he wrote about in his songs.
Unfortunately Linde passed away in 2006, but lucky for us we got to see the full story of Earl in his songwriting, from his career as a mechanic to his death in the trunk of a car.
That’s some great character development right there.
Dennis Linde was also the inspiration behind Ashley McBryde’s Lindeville album, a concept project based on the fictitious town of Lindeville, featuring a cast of wild and crazy characters…. just like ‘ol Earl.
And while we’re on the topic of Dennis Linde, how about a little “John Deere Green.”