Watch Johnny Cash And John Denver Sing “Country Roads,” Which Was Originally Supposed To Be A Johnny Cash Song

John Denver Johnny Cash

In the words of Charles Wesley Godwin, cue damn country roads.

While he’s not entirely regarded as a country music artist, John Denver’s influence on the genre is undeniable.

The Roswell, New Mexico native became one of the most beloved musicians in the 1970’s with his acoustic folk style songs, selling over 33 million records and securing 33 Gold and Platinum certifications from the RIAA.

Most of his song’s lyrical content undoubtedly had a very strong overlap with country music themes, focused on small town living, wariness of city life, a love for nature, and the ever present struggles of love.

This overlap peaked in 1975 when John Denver won CMA Entertainer of the Year, despite a less than stellar reaction from award presenter Charlie Rich.

Although there are many strong arguments to be made that John Denver was never really a country artist, there are undoubtedly two songs that will forever live in the country music sphere: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” and “Country Roads”

“Thank God I’m A Country Boy” was written by his guitar player John Martin Sommers while he was driving home on New Years Eve, and released in 1974 on Denver’s Back Home Again album. It was a certified hit, taking number one spot on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Songs charts.

But, undeniably, the song that will forever live in the public’s consciousness is “(Take Me Home) Country Roads”.

This was the song that took John from a young artist with potential to one of the largest artists of all time. It was released in 1971 as a single and despite a slow commercial start, became the most recognizable song of his career.

It was written by Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and Denver, and while it wasn’t even really written about West Virginia, it’s become the anthem of the Mountain State (and one of their state songs). Just about everyone who’s ever picked up a guitar has covered it, and the song was selected by the Library of Congress to be included in the National Recording Registry.

But despite John getting a songwriting credit on the finished product, Danoff and Nivert originally wanted to pitch their idea to Johnny Cash, thinking the pieces they had didn’t quite fit Denver’s style. Despite their concerns, they played the song to Denver one fateful night and immediately upon hearing it, he knew he needed to have it.

It was included on his Poems, Prayers & Promises album and the musical world has never been the same.

John Denver and Johnny Cash did get together to sing the song at least once, though. While there’s not many details surrounding where or when this took place, a vintage video of the two legends performing the legendary song surfaced and my goodness I would have loved to hear what Johnny’s solo take on this would have been.

RIP to both John and Johnny.

Loretta Lynn Covers “Take Me Home, Country Roads”

Loretta Lynn can make any song sound better.

It’s the kind of thing you’re really good at as the queen of country music, and back in 1971, she included an incredible cover of John Denver’s signature song “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

A co-write by John along with Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, it peaked at #2 as a single on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1971, and has since been certified Platinum by the RIAA.

Loretta’s version has an awesome, twangy, bluegrass-leaning production, and of course, her Kentucky vocals sound so gritty and sincere on a song like this.

It’s easy to imagine her singing about going back home to Butcher Holler, Kentucky, and I have a feeling that might’ve been part of the inspiration behind why she included it on her 18th solo studio album, You’re Lookin’ at Country.

Of course, the title track became one of her most popular and signature songs, but I could listen to her sing this one all day long, too.

It’s one of the best covers of the song I’ve ever heard, and we all know how many there are, but Mrs. Loretta’s simply a cut above the rest and always has been:

“Take Me Home, Country Roads”


A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock