Charlie Daniels is an American southern rock/country music singer-songwriter from North Carolina. The Charlie Daniels Band has been playing for many years and has released 27 studio albums as of June 2011, along with many compilations, live albums and Christmas records. Some of his most famous songs include "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," "Uneasy Rider" and "Simple Man."
The song "Simple Man" is the title track and first single off The Charlie Daniels Band's 1989 album, which was produced by James Stroud. The song starts with "I ain't nothin' but a simple man/They call me a redneck, I reckon that I am/But there's things going on/That make me mad down to the core." The song was co-written by Daniels and runs for three minutes and 24 seconds. The music video was directed by Larry Boothby.
The song is about the state of the world and how the people who do wrong are not taken seriously or are released without punishment. "You know, I wrote it almost in frustration, because you pick up the paper, and you see, you know, about rapes and murders and just horrible things, drugs that are really messing up our, our youth," according to Daniels in a 2002 interview on the show "Speaking Freely." Daniels, an outspoken Christian, sings, "Well, you know what's wrong with the world today/People done gone and put their Bibles away/They're living by the law of the jungle not the law of the land."
Because of the violent imagery in the song, including the desire to hang drug dealers and leave child abusers, rapists and murderers in the swamp for the alligators, the song has received disapproval from some critics and music fans. Daniels responded to the criticism in the "Speaking Freely" interview with "I'm not a mean person, but I, I think there's some things that there's no proper response to except the death penalty. And people say, "Well, it's not a deterrent." The death penalty was never meant as a deterrent. It's meant for punishment." The song has also gotten a lot of support from those who sympathize with Daniels' lyrics and beliefs.
Despite the criticism the song received for being harsh, it reached #12 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart and #15 on the Canadian Country chart. The album "Simple Man" reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard Country chart and #82 on the Billboard 200.