Take Me Home, Country Roads (3:08)

Cover of Greatest Hits

From Greatest Hits and 109 other releases

“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is a song written by John Denver, Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, and initially recorded by John Denver. It was included on his 1971 breakout album Poems, Prayers and Promises; the single went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

After many other hit singles, “Take Me Home, Country Roads” remains Denver’s signature song.

Origins

Denver was heading the bill in December 1970 at Washington, D.C. folk club The Cellar Door; Danoff and Nivert opened for him as a duo named Fat City. After the post-Christmas re-opening night (the 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 a song that they had been working on for about a month. Inspiration had come while driving to a family reunion of Nivert’s relatives in nearby Maryland. To pass the time en route, Danoff had made up a ballad about the little winding roads they were taking. Later, he changed the story to fit that of an artist friend, who used to write to him about the splendors of the West Virginia countryside. The second verse of the tune was a bit risqué – referring to “naked ladies” – so the duo reckoned that their song would never get played on the radio.

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