John Denver – Take Me Home, Country Roads (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
After reviewing John Denver’s timeless love classic “Annie’s Song,” we circle back to yet another beautiful masterpiece by the maestro, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”
This song, also known as “Country Roads,” dates back to April 12, 1971, when it was first released as a single from ‘Poems, Prayers & Promises’ album by John Denver. It comes as little surprise that this song was so successful that it was used as the benchmark for defining John Denver. And it has been Denver’s best-selling single to-date. By August 1971, the song was certified Gold by RIAA for a thousand copies sold and the digital sales have summed up to 1.5 million in the US so far.
Written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver, the song is a beautiful tribute to the state of West Virginia, USA. The singers call it “almost heaven” and point out several locations, not necessarily in West Virginia, but within Virginia, to justify their claim. Hence, in March 2014 the song was named one of the four official state anthems of the state of West Virginia.
Listen to “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Full Song by John Denver
Bill Danoff and his ex-wife Taffy Nivert composed the lyrics to the song for John Denver. In an interview, Danoff has stated that he has never been to West Virginia (WV) before composing the song. However, the inspiration for the song came while Danoff was driving down the ‘Clopper Road’ in Maryland. Maryland is a state bordering West Virginia, both of which have a similar landscape. However, Danoff and Nivert worked on the song and showed it to Denver who fell in love with it instantly. Three of them together put the finishing touches to the song.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
From the get-go, this song brainwashes us to imagine paradise when thinking about West Virginia. The singer compares the state to ‘almost heaven.’ The proof he has for this is from the picturesque natural beauties of the unspoilt land from the ’70s.
The two examples Denver uses in the first verse are Blue Ridge Mountain range and Shenandoah River located in Virginia state.
Denver talks about the life, of flora and fauna, in the naturesque state, being old and earthly.
In this world-famous chorus, the singer talks about a specific country road taking him home. Bill Danoff found inspiration for this song while driving down the Clopper Road in Maryland state. He was driving to a family re-union in Maryland. So, it is understandable how he would feel like this solemn road is taking him to his true home–his family.
Although Danoff from Massachusetts, and almost named this song Massachusetts as well, the lyrics speak about West Virginia as the place he belongs.
‘Mountain momma’ is a fond reference to the numerous mountains and mountain ranges the state of Virginia boasts. Appalachian mountain range, Blue Ridge Mountain, Mount Rogers (highest), Broken Hills, and Bull Run Mountains are to name a few (source: Wikipedia).
In the second verse of “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” John Denver sings about the unique features of the state of Virginia. The state has been industry-oriented from the very early days and has been a massive source of coal. This leads the singer to call it ‘Miner’s lady.’ West Virginia has all land borders around it, hence its a stranger to the ‘blue water’-the ocean.
The latter lyrics of the second verse describe the natural beauty of the land during the night. The unspoilt land in the ’70s would have looked dark without light bulbs at night. The moonshining on the land must have been an unforgettable sight.
These lyrics of the song describe how attracted the singer is to this state’s calling. Every morning he hears the state calling her, listening to a West Virginian radio station, while living in Massachusetts. This makes him want to visit the state and possibly settle there.
This is the type of song that urges us to run to the state of West Virginia and re-live the experiences described by the singer. The song has simple lyrics, a simpler melody and a strong love for a state.
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