American advertising executive who had a huge chart hit with the 1975 trucking song Convoy

The use of pop songs to sell everything from airlines to chewing gum has become commonplace, but converting a character from a TV commercial into a chart-topping star is a different story. This was the feat accomplished by Bill Fries Jr, who has died aged 93 of cancer.

Fries created the character of CW McCall for the Bozell & Jacobs advertising agency in Omaha, Nebraska, to promote the Metz Baking Company’s Old Home Bread. McCall’s particular achievement was his chart-topping single Convoy (1975), a tall tale about an armada of trucks romping across the US in defiance of swarms of cops and the National Guard.

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