I have this hanging in my music room. I saw it on shirts, bumper stickers, and on walls everywhere once upon a time. This phrase was used in a song from the 1930s called “Truckin’ My Blues Away” by Blind Boy Fuller and is the origin of this image.
Besides the smiley face…it’s one of the most iconic graphics of the 1970s. It was created by Robert Crumb for Zap Comics in 1968. The image was used many times without his permission for years. It was claimed that the Trademark symbol ™ was not on the original drawing.
Crumb went to court and the court ruled it Public Domain. The decision was later reversed in 1977. He sued many from using it including Amazon 2005. Crumb also came up with Fritz the Cat…
Quotes from Robert Crumb on the drawing.
For a while I was most well known for that [the Janis Joplin album cover, and for “Keep on Truckin’.” That was a drawing that came out of LSD trips, and the words came from a Blind Boy Fuller song from 1935. I drew it in my sketchbook and then for Zap. It sort of caught the popular imagination. It became a horrible popular thing.
Take Keep On Truckin’… for example. Keep on Truckin’… is the curse of my life. This stupid little cartoon caught on hugely. … I didn’t want to turn into a greeting card artist for the counter-culture! I didn’t want to do ‘shtick’—the thing Lenny Bruce warned against. That’s when I started to let out all my perverse sex fantasies. It was the only way out of being “America’s Best Loved Hippie Cartoonist.”