John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

When you move far away from where you were raised your mind tends to hold onto certain memories, images, and songs that remind you of the innocence of youth. As a kid my brother and I would sing John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads at the top of our lungs on our various family outings (at least 15 years after it initially was released). My brother ended up moving to New Zealand and I’m in Washington State – but the familiar folk-country acoustic guitar tune along with John Denver’s unique voice always bring me back to suburban Philadelphia and the mid 80’s. The song was written by Danoff and Nivert with Johnny Cash in mind. Once John Denver heard it, he persuaded the duo to give him the song instead (Johnny Cash & John Denver did an acoustic duet version a decade or so later that is outstanding). A bit of country, a bit of folk, a bit of pop – it made a slow crawl on the charts before finally peaking at #2 in mid 1971. The song is a source of pride for everyone that hails from West Virginia because of the lyrics, though the country road that inspired the lyrics is in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C. Isn’t returning to your roots the universal appeal of the song though? When I am on an airplane flying 3000 miles to Philadelphia, I always hear John Denver in my head singing this little ditty. Key lyrics:

I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me, the radio reminds me of my home far away.
And driving down the road I get a feeling that I should have been home yesterday, yesterday.
Country roads, take me home to the place I belong.
West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads.

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