Take Me Home, Country Roads
Writer(s): Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, John Denver (see lyrics here)
First Charted: April 3, 1971
Peak: 2 US, 11 CB, 3 GR, 12 HR, 3 AC, 50 CW, 3 CN, 24 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 1.6 US, 0.6 UK
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 505.15 video, 647.61 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. on December 31, 1943 in Roswell, New Mexico. The singer/songwriter and guitarist got started as a folk artist in the 1960s before becoming a successful country crossover artist in the 1970s. His fifth album, 1971’s Poems, Prayers & Promises, was his big breakthrough, going platinum and reaching the top 20 on the U.S. Billboard album chart and #6 on the country chart. It produced two of his most beloved songs – “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The latter was his “finest” SS and his first chart entry, going all the way to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The song’s initial inspiration came from Bill Danoff and Taff Nivert, a husband and wife duo known as Fat City who would later form the Starland Vocal Band. They were driving along Clopper Road in Montgomery County, Maryland to a family gathering. Danoff was playing his guitar while Nivert drove. He said, “I just started thinking, country roads, I started thinking of me growing up in western New England and going on all these small roads.” WK
Danoff and Nivert crossed paths with John Denver when they were both on the bill at the Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. They played “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” which they were hoping to sell to Johnny Cash, for Denver and he told them he wanted the song. The three of them then finished the song together and performed it the next night to a five-minute standing ovation. WK
The song references West Virginia although none of the three had ever been there. SF Denver “sounds so sincere” SJ “it’s hard to believe…[he] wasn’t born and raised” SJ there. As for the songwriters, they were inspired by postcards of West Viriginia. SJ At one point, the lyric says “the radio reminds me of my home far away,” which alludes to the show Saturday Night Jamboree which broadcast out of Wheeling, West Viriginia. In 2014, the song became one of West Virginia’s four official state anthems. WK The song’s opening line, “almost heaven,” became a tourism slogan for the state. WK
First posted 11/5/2022; last updated 4/17/2023.