May 29

Winning the Country Community, “Back Home Again” by John Denver

Winning the Country Community, “Back Home Again” by John Denver 1
John Denver sings “Back Home Again” in his 1977 Concert in Australia.

His Creed

For those who don’t know, John Denver had a philosophy about music.

“My music and my work stem from the conviction that people everywhere are intrinsically the same. Parents are the same, lovers are the same, families are the same. It’s that shared experience to which my music is directed. When I write a song, I want to take the personal experience or observation I have and express it in as universal a way as possible. I absolutely believe there is something in all of us that binds us together.”

About the song

This song was from his album released on June 23, 1974, which was also titled the same as the song. John Denver actually released the album in a tension-and-release pattern. He worked in RCA’s studio from 10 in the morning to midnight for four consecutive days. Then he took a break and after that, he returned to the same schedule. It was a total of 15 days to complete the “Back Home Again” Album.

The Song That Gave Him the Acceptance of the Country Community

We all know that John Denver was not originally country. The “Back Home Again” album was the first to gain him the acceptance in the country music community. His actual break out appeared three years before “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” And would you believe that “Take Me Home, Country Roads” made a little impact with listeners of country radio in 1971? Not only that, the song also peaked on at No. 50 on Billboard’s Country Chart. But, on the good side, the song was a hit in the pop world. It peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Decades later, “Take Me Home Country Roads” might be the most iconic country song til now.

John Denver followed it up with “Rocky Mountain High” and “Sunshine On My Shoulders.” These two were also major pop hits, however, they had troubles making the country radio play these songs. Everything changed with “Back Home Again” album.

The Success

Eleven months after peaking at No. 1 of “Back Home Again” on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, the Country Music Association named it “Song Of The Year” in October 1975. Deemed as an “interloper” by a large part of the Nashville establishment, John Denver’s win in this category and him winning the “Entertainer of the Year” that same night, prompted a mountain of controversy. This was exhibited for all the world to see by Charlie Rich’s live on-air meltdown on the CMA telecast when he set a fire the announcement that Denver had won. The embarrassing incident hastened an early close with John Denver’s brief Nashville association.

Any of you country folks remember this song? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and for more country thang, visit our website. Also, don’t forget to share this story with your family and friends. God Bless Your Heart!


John Denver

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