We spent our first full day this year working outside yesterday. Although the day started out on the chilly side with temps in the 40s the sunshine soon warmed things up and by evening it felt like summer had arrived for real.
I’ve always thought country roads feel like summer. My thought doesn’t exactly make sense, since the country roads I drive on are the same whether its summer or winter.
Maybe the connection in my mind between summer and country roads is because folks go for more visits in the summer time. Heading down the highway to visit grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other kin you may find along the way seems to fit perfectly into the slower pace of summer days with the kids out of school and the weather sending its own invitation to be out and about.
I haven’t a clue where I was at or how old I was the first time I heard John Denver’s recording of “Take Me Home Country Roads.” I know without a doubt I fell in love with the song the instant I heard it. Even my young ears recognized the powerful pull of home the song evokes in hearts and minds.
Until a few years ago, I assumed John Denver wrote the song about the memories he had surrounding his childhood in West Virginia. Turns out Denver wasn’t from West Virginia nor did he write the song.
Once The Pressley Girls begin singing it I googled around and found the following information on the NPR Music Articles website.
Denver first heard “Take Me Home, Country Roads” in the Washington, D.C., apartment of songwriter Bill Danoff. Danoff and his girlfriend, Taffy Nivert — also his writing partner — had met Denver years earlier, first when Danoff was working at the famous Cellar Door nightclub, and again on later tours through Washington.
Later, when Denver was passing through the city, he arranged to meet at Danoff’s apartment after a performance. Denver almost never showed. He was injured in a car accident on the way over and taken to the hospital with a broken thumb. But he proceeded to Danoff’s anyway.
‘That’s A Hit Song’
Denver asked to hear what Danoff and Nivert had been working on. Nivert urged Danoff to play the “Country Roads” song, which he’d been working on for several months, but he hesitated.
“I said, ‘He won’t like that. It’s not his thing, you know, because it’s for Johnny Cash,’ ” Danoff said in an interview.
At the time, Danoff and Nivert were only local performers. But they aimed to make it big by writing a hit song for bigger artists.
“So I played him what I had of ‘Country Roads,’ and he said, ‘Wow! That’s great, that’s a hit song! Did you record it?’ I said, ‘No, we don’t have a record deal,’ ” Danoff said.
He said Denver told him that they could record it together. And, several months later, they went up to New York City and did it. Danoff’s first reaction to the recording was not positive.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God. There’s way too much echo on that,’ ” he said. “I loved the song, but I thought we’d blown the record. And millions of other people didn’t agree.”
By August, the song had reached No. 2 on the Billboard singles chart.
I hope you enjoyed the video!