The Original Second Verse Of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Had To Be Rewritten Because It Was Too Racy For Radio

The Original Second Verse Of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” Had To Be Rewritten Because It Was Too Racy For Radio


“Country Roads” too hot for radio?

Of course everybody knows the classic John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” It’s one of the most well-known songs, not only in the United States but around the world.

I grew up in West Virginia, and the song was basically on par with the national anthem. It’s now an official state song, and even though I moved away from the Mountain State almost a decade ago, I will absolutely scream that song at the top of my lungs any time it comes on.

But the classic song actually has quite the interesting backstory.

There’s always been a lot of debate over whether the song was even talking about West Virginia, because the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River that are mentioned in “Country Roads” are largely located in the state of Virginia and not West Virginia.

And then there’s the story from songwriters Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert that the song was written while driving through Maryland.

Well a couple of years ago Danoff set the record straight on the song’s meaning – and revealed that the words to the second verse even had to be changed because they were a little too spicy for the song to be played on radio at the time.

Danoff and Nivert wrote “Take Me Home, Country Roads” during a road trip through Maryland on their way to a family gathering – but Danoff insists that the song isn’t “about” Maryland, or Virginia, or anywhere, really.

“I just started thinking, country roads, I started thinking of me growing up in western new England and going on all these small roads. It didn’t have anything to do with Maryland or anyplace.

I’m a songwriter. I was looking for words. The words that I loved in that song were Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River. They’re songwriter words, so that got me to West Virginia.”

The song obviously ended up being recorded by John Denver, but the writers originally had another country singer in mind to record it: Johnny Cash.

But Denver wanted the song, and helped Danoff and Nivert put the finishing touches on the lyrics – including the ill-fated second verse.

According to Danoff:

“To get it on the radio, we’re going to have to change the second verse, because the second verse wouldn’t make it on AM radio at the time.”

In case you need a refresher, the now-famous second verse is:

“All my memories gather ’round her
Miner’s lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye”

So what exactly was the verse that had to be switched up?

“In the foothills, hidin’ from the clouds,
Pink and purple West Virginia farm house,
Naked ladies, men who look like Christ,
And a dog named Poncho nibbling on the rice”

Yeah, gotta think it was a good call to rewrite that one.

It obviously paid off, because after being released in 1971, “Country Roads” has gone on to not only become a state song of WV and a theme song for WVU to play after every win, but it’s also been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Recording Registry, and Denver’s recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in the 1980s.

And as a West Virginian, I’m just thankful that I don’t have to sing about naked ladies and men who look like Christ every time it comes on.

Read original source here.

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