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Lynn Anderson’s Rendition of “Rocky Top” Stands the Test of Time

Lynn Anderson + Rocky Top
by
  • Riley is a Senior Country Music Journalist for Country Thang Daily, known for her engaging storytelling and insightful coverage of the genre.
  • Before joining Country Thang Daily, Riley developed her expertise at Billboard and People magazine, focusing on feature stories and music reviews.
  • Riley has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Belmont University, with a minor in Cultural Studies.

In 1970, country music star Lynn Anderson recorded her rendition of the “Rocky Top.” Her version reached number 17 on the Billboard Country Singles chart and became a bigger hit than the original. The song has been recorded by other performers such as Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Conway Twitty since she first recorded it. 

“Rocky Top” is a song written by husband-and-wife Boudleaux and Felice Bryant in August 1967. The couple wrote it in ten minutes, set it aside, and continued working on other projects. In a few months, the Bryants sent the song to The Osborne Brothers for the band’s upcoming bluegrass record. The Osborne Brothers originally recorded  “Rocky Top,” and it was released on Christmas Day 1967. The song reached # 33 on the Billboard Country Charts that year.

In 1972, the Pride of the Southland Marching Band also played “Rocky Top” at Neyland Stadium as part of a halftime medley. The song has become an anthem of celebration since then.

As an equestrian, Lynn Anderson was dynamic in seeking the promotion of the song’s legacy by collaborating with “Rocky Top Riders,” a horse riding program for disabled children. In spite of the fact that she did not initiate the program, it was named for her 1970 country hit. 

Meaning Behind the Song 

Throughout this song, the female narrator longs for a simpler life and returns to a small town (especially the final verse: “I’ve been stuck in a pigeon hole for years,” which sums up the mood pretty well). Honey-rich vocals and raw lyrics characterize her music. “Rocky Top” from Lynn Anderson’s catalog gave off a nostalgic vibe that resonated with country fans. 

Watch the rendition of “Rocky Top” by Lynn Anderson in the video below. 

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