Take Me Home, Country Roads
"Take Me Home, Country Roads", also known as "Country Roads, Take Me Home" or "Country Roads", is a song written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver. It was released as a single performed by Denver on April 12, 1971, peaking at number 2 on Billboard's US Hot 100 singles for the week ending August 28, 1971. The song was a success on its initial release and was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 18, 1971, and Platinum on April 10, 2017. The song became one of John Denver's most popular and beloved songs. It has continued to sell, with over a million digital copies sold in the United States. It is considered to be Denver's signature song.
|"Take Me Home, Country Roads"|
|Single by John Denver|
|from the album Poems, Prayers & Promises|
|Released||April 12, 1971|
|John Denver singles chronology|
Danoff and his then-wife, Mary ("Taffy") Nivert, wrote "I Guess He'd Rather Be in Colorado" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads", both of which were hits for John Denver. Danoff (from Springfield, Massachusetts) has stated he had never been to West Virginia before co-writing the song. Inspiration for the song had come while driving to a family reunion of Nivert's relatives along Clopper Road in nearby Maryland. To pass the time en route, Danoff had made up a ballad about the little winding roads they were taking. He had even briefly considered using "Massachusetts" rather than "West Virginia" as both four-syllable state names would have fit the song's meter.
Starting December 22, 1970, John Denver was heading the bill at The Cellar Door, a Washington, D.C. club. Danoff and Nivert opened for him as a duo named Fat City. After the Tuesday post-Christmas re-opening night (Cellar Door engagements ran from Tuesday to Sunday and this booking was for two weeks,) the three headed back to their place for an impromptu jam. On the way, Denver's left thumb was broken in an automobile accident. He was taken to the hospital, where a splint was applied. By the time they got back to the house, he was, in his own words, "wired, you know."
Danoff and Nivert then told him about the song that they had been working on for about a month. Originally, Danoff and Nivert had planned to sell the song to popular country singer Johnny Cash, but when Denver heard the song and decided he had to have it, the duo who wrote the original lyrics decided not to make the sale.
They sang the song for Denver and as he recalled, "I flipped." The three stayed up until 6:00 a.m., changing words and moving lines around. When they finished, John announced that the song had to go on his next album.
The song was premiered December 30, 1970, during an encore of Denver's set, with the singers reading the words from a folded piece of paper. This resulted in a five-minute ovation, one of the longest in Cellar Door history. They recorded it in New York City in January 1971.
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" appeared on the LP Poems, Prayers & Promises and was released as a 45 in the spring of 1971. Original pressings credited the single to "John Denver with Fat City". It broke nationally in mid-April but moved up the charts very slowly. After several weeks, RCA Records called John and told him that they were giving up on the single. His response: "No! Keep working on it!" They did, and the single went to number 1 on the Record World Pop Singles Chart and the Cash Box Top 100, and number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, topped only by "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" by The Bee Gees.
On August 18, 1971, it was certified Gold by the RIAA for a million copies shipped. The song continued to sell in the digital era. As of September 2018, the song has also sold an additional 1,458,000 downloads since it became available digitally.
Reception in West VirginiaEdit
"Take Me Home, Country Roads" received an enthusiastic response from West Virginians. The song is the theme song of West Virginia University and it has been performed during every home football pregame show since 1972. In 1977, Denver sang it at Morgantown High School, and he even changed the wording to "Appalachian Mountains, Monongahela River". In 1980, Denver performed the song during pregame festivities to a sold-out crowd of Mountaineer fans. This performance marked the dedication of the current Mountaineer Field and the first game for head coach Don Nehlen.
The song is played for other athletic events and university functions, including after football games, for which the fans are encouraged to stay in the stands and sing the song along with the team.
The popularity of the song has inspired resolutions in the West Virginia Legislature to adopt "Take Me Home, Country Roads" as an official state song. On March 7, 2014, the West Virginia Legislature approved a resolution to make "Take Me Home, Country Roads" an official state song of West Virginia, alongside three other pieces: "West Virginia Hills", "This is My West Virginia", and "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home". Governor Earl Ray Tomblin signed the resolution into law on March 8.
The geographical features mentioned prominently in the song lyrics – the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains – have only marginal associations with the state of West Virginia, and would seem to be more appropriate to describe western Virginia. The river passes through only the very eastern tip of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in Jefferson County, but its sources and its four upper forks are in Virginia.
Similarly, the Blue Ridge Mountains are only peripherally associated with West Virginia, but do form the boundary between West Virginia and the State of Virginia for a few miles at Jefferson County. According to a radio interview with Nivert, the road is close to her native Washington, D.C., in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, where Denver often visited. That road – Clopper Road – still exists today, but the landscape has changed drastically from the countryside scenery that once surrounded it.
|Canada Top Singles (RPM)||3|
|Canada Adult Contemporary (RPM)||5|
|Canada Country Tracks (RPM)||17|
|US Billboard Hot 100||2|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||3|
|US Hot Country Singles (Billboard)||50|
Hermes House Band versionEdit
|Single by Hermes House Band|
|from the album The Album|
|Hermes House Band singles chronology|
In 2001, the song was covered by Dutch pop band Hermes House Band and released as "Country Roads". This version was a chart success in Europe, reaching number one in Scotland, number two in Germany and Ireland, and the top 10 in Austria, Denmark, and the United Kingdom. The band performed the song live on Top of the Pops.
- Dutch CD single
- "Country Roads" (original radio edit) – 3:22
- "Country Roads" (happy dance version) – 3:20
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||4|
|Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)||23|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||2|
|Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)||27|
|Netherlands (Single Top 100)||17|
|Scotland (Official Charts Company)||1|
|Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)||35|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||7|
|Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)||18|
|Germany (Official German Charts)||10|
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||121|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Silver||200,000|
sales+streaming figures based on certification alone
Olivia Newton-John versionsEdit
In popular cultureEdit
- The song is featured extensively in the Studio Ghibli film Whisper of the Heart.
- The song is covered in the American sitcom The Office by Dwight Schrute and Andy Bernard.
- The song was hummed by Elizabeth Shaw and referenced by the character "Tennessee" in the movie Alien: Covenant.
- The song was sung by Merlin in the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle and is featured in the musical score.
- The song appeared as background music in the 2009 Ubisoft game Rabbids Go Home.
- The song was sung by Sadie in the movie Logan Lucky.
- The song was performed by John Rafferty in 2014 in the UK The Voice Kids, but anyone turn; and by Shaney-Lee in 2018. It was sung also sung by Billie Floran in The Voice Kids 2018.
- A cover version of the song—a collaboration between Copilot Music + Sound and the vocal group Spank—was featured in both the teaser and full E3 2018 trailers for the 2018 video game, Fallout 76, whose plot events are set in West Virginia. Released as a an iTunes-only single on July 4, 2018, the song reached #1 on the iTunes singles chart.
- Kurt Wolff; Orla Duane (2000). Country Music: The Rough Guide. Rough Guides. p. 425. ISBN 978-1-85828-534-4.
- "American single certifications – John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Road". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH.
- Bjorke, Matt (April 4, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Country Singles: April 4, 2016". Roughstock.
- "John Denver - UNPLUGGED COLLECTION [IMPORT] Music CDs" (list), Choose, 2007, webpage: JD-Collect Archived 2008-12-11 at the Wayback Machine..
- "Bill Danoff | Songs". Billdanoff.com. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
- Jack Diamond Mix 107.3
- Collis, John (30 September 2011). John Denver: Mother Nature's Son. Mainstream Publishing. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-78057-330-4.
- "Bill's Music Heritage". Billdanoff.com. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
This may be a little self-serving recollection - I recall them performing it during the first set, Denver calling them up onstage and then promising to get them back up again once the song had been performed. There was likely a second set that night, the night before a big holiday, the only management decision to be made whether there was an additional cover charge imposed for those inclined to linger through both sets
- "American certifications – John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Road". Recording Industry Association of America.
- Bjorke, Matt (September 5, 2018). "The Top 30 Digital Country Tracks: September 5, 2018". RoughStock. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
- "Welcome To | WVU Traditions | West Virginia University". Welcometo.wvu.edu. 2009-11-03. Archived from the original on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2011-01-29.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-16. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-08. Retrieved 2014-03-07.
- "Physiographic Provinces of West Virginia". Retrieved August 25, 2018.
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- "Brews". Mountainstatebrewing.com. Archived from the original on January 4, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Garcia, Jon (July 2, 2010). "Eulogizing Sen. Robert Byrd: The Hard Working, if Imperfect, Senator". ABC News. Archived from the original on July 5, 2010.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 7580." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. September 4, 1971.
- "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 5331." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 14, 1971.
- "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 5339." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. August 14, 1971.
- "John Denver Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- "John Denver Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
- "Hot Country Singles". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 83 (36): 32. September 4, 1971. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Austriancharts.at – Hermes House Band – Country Roads" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
- "Ultratop.be – Hermes House Band – Country Roads" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "Danishcharts.com – Hermes House Band – Country Roads". Tracklisten.
- "Offiziellecharts.de – Hermes House Band – Country Roads". GfK Entertainment Charts.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Country Roads". Irish Singles Chart.
- "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 1, 2002" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40
- "Dutchcharts.nl – Hermes House Band – Country Roads" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Swedishcharts.com – Hermes House Band – Country Roads". Singles Top 100.
- "Swisscharts.com – Hermes House Band – Country Roads". Swiss Singles Chart.
- "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
- "Jahreshitparade 2001" (in German). Archived from the original on September 3, 2011. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts 2001" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "Best of Singles 2001". IRMA. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "The Official UK Singles Chart 2001" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved June 12, 2018.
- "British single certifications – Hermes House Band – Country Roads". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Country Roads in the search field and then press Enter.
- Le Blanc, Michelle; Odell, Colin (26 June 2015). Studio Ghibli: The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. Oldcastle Books. p. 62. ISBN 9781843444893.
- Davies, Dave (9 June 2009). "< Ed Helms: An 'Office' Drone Takes To The Big Screen". NPR. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Anderton, Ethan (4 April 2017). "'Alien: Covenant' TV Spot Hints at the Fate of Elizabeth Shaw From 'Prometheus'". Slash Film. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Davis, Brandon (20 September 2017). "Mark Strong Was Nervous About Singing In 'Kingsman: The Golden Circle'". Comic Book. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- BetterHelp; Györkei, Zoltán; Hung, Luc; Garcia, Matthew (6 October 2017). "In Kingsman: The Golden Circle, what is the name of the song Merlin sings during his fight?". Quora.com. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Hernandez, Pedro (16 November 2009). "Rabbids Go Home". Nintendo World Report. Retrieved 18 July 2018.
- Han, Karen (30 August 2017). "Why Is John Denver's Music in So Many Movies This Year?". Vulture.com. New York Media, LLC. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
- "John Rafferty's Blind Audition". BBC One. BBC. 15 February 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- Wright, Alice (15 February 2014). "The Voice 2014: The penultimate week of blind auditions, and time is running out for the coaches". Metro. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- David, Tiago (20 July 2018). ""The Voice Kids": "cowboy" de sete anos que conquista o Reino Unido". Sapo Mag (in Portuguese). Retrieved 10 September 2018.
- "Billie - Take Me Home, Country Roads". The Voice Kids (in Dutch). RTL Nederland. 2018. Retrieved 9 September 2018.
- Kuchera, Ben (11 June 2018). "Fallout 76 has everyone humming John Denver". Polygon. Vox Media, Inc. Retrieved 22 July 2018.
- Hampp, Andrew (31 July 2018). "Songs for Screens: How a John Denver Classic Resurfaced Thanks to 'Fallout 76'". Variety. Retrieved 17 September 2018.