John Denver and his friends Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert wrote this song of love for West Virginia, even though at the time it was a state of mind for them rather than a state they had come from or visited. It was a Shangri-La of sorts for them. Evidently, Danoff was inspired by postcards from a friend who did live there and from listening to WWVA, which came out of Wheeling, West Virginia. Both Nivert, especially, and Danoff sing on the track. The song was released as a single and on Denver’s 1971 album Poems, Prayers & Promises.
The song became a big hit for Denver and is considered his signature song. In 1971, it went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary Chart and #3 in Canada. It was certified Gold in 1971 and Platinum in 2017.
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” is an iconic symbol for the state of West Virginia. It is one of the official state anthems. The song was played at the funeral memorial service for Senator Robert Byrd in 2010.
On the track are John Denver (vocals), Bill Danoff (six and 12-string guitars, vocals), Taffy Nivert (backing vocals), Eric Weissberg (banjo, steel guitars), Mike Taylor (acoustic guitar), Richard Kniss (double bass), and Gary Chester (drums, percussion).
There have been numerous covers. There are versions by Hermes House Band, Eddy Arnold, Loretta Lynn, Skeeter Davis, Ray Charles, The Statler Brothers, Olivia Newton-John, Toots & the Maytals, Carrie Underwood, and many more.