On December 29, 1970, songwriters Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver finished writing what would become one of the most popular tunes in history and one of West Virginia’s official state songs. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” also branded the Mountain State with its most recognizable slogan: “almost heaven.”
The song hit number two on the charts, went gold, and spread internationally. In places as far away as China, many people know about West Virginia solely from the song “Country Roads.” At home, some have criticized the lyrics, which seem at times to confuse West Virginia and Virginia. For instance, the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River exist for only a few miles in West Virginia and are more closely associated with Virginia. Still, the song has become a great source of pride for West Virginians. It’s a staple of the West Virginia University Marching Band, not to mention a favorite sing-along at taverns across the state.
John Denver performed ‘‘Country Roads’’ for the debut of the new Mountaineer Stadium in Morgantown in 1980 and on a telethon to benefit the victims of the disastrous 1985 floods.