Early in 1970, Coe released his debut album, Penitentiary Blues, followed by a tour with Grand Funk Railroad. In October 1971 he signed as an exclusive writer with Pete and Rose Drake's publishing company Windows Publishing Company, Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee, where he remained until 1977. Although he developed a cult following with his performances, he was not able to develop any mainstream success, but other performers achieved charting success by recording songs Coe had written, including Billie Jo Spears' 1972 recording "Souvenirs & California Mem'rys" and Tanya Tucker's 1973 single "Would You Lay With Me (In a Field of Stone)," which was a number one hit, and responsible for Coe becoming one of Nashville's hottest songwriters and Coe himself being signed by Columbia Records. Coe recorded his own version of the song for his second Columbia album, Once Upon a Rhyme, released in 1975. AllMusic writer Thom Jurek said of the song, "The amazing thing is that both versions are definitive." The album also contained a cover of Steve Goodman's and John Prine's "You Never Even Called Me by My Name," which was a Top Ten Billboard hit, and was followed by a string of moderately successful hits.
Coe was a featured performer in Heartworn Highways, a 1975 documentary film by James Szalapski. Other performers featured in this film included Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt, Rodney Crowell, Steve Young, Steve Earle, and The Charlie Daniels Band. In 1977 Johnny Paycheck released a cover of Coe's "Take This Job And Shove It," which was a number one hit and Coe's most successful song.
David Allan Coe (born September 5, 1939 in Akron, Ohio) is an American country music singer who achieved his greatest popularity in the 1970s and 1980s.
He has written and performed over 280 original songs throughout his career.
As a songwriter, his best-known compositions are "Would You Lay with Me (in a Field of Stone)," originally recorded by Tanya Tucker, and "Take this Job and Shove It.
Coe was in and out of reform schools, correction centers and prisons from the age of 9.
According to his publicity campaigns, he spent time on death row for killing an inmate who demanded oral sex.
Coe recorded two albums in 1978 and 1982 containing racist and misogynistic lyrics of extreme vulgarity and racial crudity: "Nothing Sacred" and "Underground Album."