It would be hard to find someone that hasn’t heard this country classic.
Everyone loves the song’s catchy hook of “I’ve been everywhere man,” and everyone loves to mumble their way through all of the locations, pretending to know the lyrics. It happens like clockwork, every time the song plays.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” was originally written in 1959 by an Australian country singer named Geoff Mack. As you might imagine, the lyrics first used various Australian towns for the portion where the song rhymes a quick list of location.
Anytime the song has been covered in a different part of the world, the places where the singer has been (everywhere man) changes. Singer Rolf Harris covered it in 1963 and changed it to British toponyms, and John Hore tried the tune out in 1966 and changed the locations to places in New Zealand.
All of that to get us to the 1962 version of the song which was performed by country music legend Hank Snow. On this date, over 60 years ago, Snow walked into RCA Studio B in Nashville, Tennessee and recorded the American version of the song.
And I say “American,” but the song actually included places such as Salvador, Argentina, and many other places in South America.
In addition to those places, famous locations in North America were mentioned, such as:
-Buffalo, New York
And those are just from the first verse.
The ability to quickly work through so many different locations (and if performing the song live, presumably remembering them all) is pretty impressive.
Hank Snow handled it with ease, and the recognizable introduction to the chorus is instantly recognizable:
“I’ve been everywhere, manI’ve been everywhere, man Crossed the deserts bare, man I’ve breathed the mountain air, man Of travel I’ve had my share, man I’ve been everywhere”
I managed to track down a live version of the song that also shows the lyrics on the screen, simultaneously showing off the incredible live lyricism from Hank Snow while also allowing you to do a little karaoke, wherever you are.
Take a listen:
Johnny Cash also recorded the song in 1996 for his second American Recordings album, Unchained.
But prior to that he famously covered the song on his television show alongside Lynn Anderson: