John Denver – Thank God I’m A Country Boy (Audio)
Well, life’s on a farm is kinda laid back
Ain’t much an old country boy like me can’t hack
It’s early to rise, early in the sack thank God I’m a country boy
Well, a simple kind of life never did me no harm
Raising me a family and working on the farm
My days are all filled with an easy country charm, thank God I’m a country boy
When the work’s all done and the sun’s setting low
I pull out my fiddle and I rosin up the bow
The kids are asleep so I keep it kinda low, thank God I’m a country boy
I’d play “Sally Goodin'” all day if I could
But the Lord and my wife wouldn’t take it very good
So I fiddle when I can and I work when I should, thank God I’m a country boy
I wouldn’t trade my life for diamonds or jewels
I never was one of them money hungry fools
I’d rather have my fiddle and my farming tools, thank God I’m a country boy
Yeah, city folk driving in a black limousine
A lot of sad people thinking that’s-a mighty keen
Son, let me tell you now exactly what I mean, thank God I’m a country boy
Well, my fiddle was my daddy’s till the day he died
And he took me by the hand and held me close to his side
He said, “Live a good life and play my fiddle with pride
And thank God you’re a country boy.”
My Daddy taught me young how to hunt and how to whittle
He taught me how to work and play a tune on the fiddle
He taught me how to love and how to give just a little
Thank God I’m a country boy
The song was originally included on Denver’s 1974 album Back Home Again.
The live version was released as a single and went to No. 1 on both the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles  and Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song topped both charts for one week each, first the country chart (on May 31), and the Hot 100 chart a week later.
“Thank God I’m a Country Boy” was one of six songs released in 1975 that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. Denver’s two-sided hit “I’m Sorry“/”Calypso” also received that distinction.
The song was written by John Martin Sommers, a guitar/banjo/fiddle/mandolin player in Denver’s backup band, on December 31, 1973 (coincidentally Denver’s thirtieth birthday) when he was driving from his home in Aspen, Colorado to Los Angeles.
The song is remarkably similar to a 1973 song by Arlo Guthrie, from his album “Last of the Brooklyn Cowboys”, entitled “Uncle Jeff.”
Sommers recalls that at the time he was feeling “peaceful, happy and content” with his lot in life, and started scribbling some notes about his blissful state along the way. They served as the inspiration for the song.
The song is in cut (2/2) time that is typical of two-step. Both the verse and chorus comprise eight measures with 3/2 added between the first four measures and last three measures. Emotionally, this creates an intended slight stall.
John Denver version
|Chart (1975)||Peak |
|US Billboard Hot 100||1|
|US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)||5|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||1|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||1|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||1|
|Yugoslavian Singles Charts||1|
Billy Dean version
|Chart (2004)||Peak |
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||27|
- A cover version was released by country music artist Billy Dean in 2004; Dean’s cover peaked at No. 27 on the Billboard U.S. Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts.
- A Western version was recorded by Alvin and the Chipmunks for their 1981 album Urban Chipmunk.
- Canadian country music artist Brad Johner did a cover on his 2003 album Free.
- Canadian Country rock group The Road Hammers recorded a version for their 2009 album The Road Hammers II.
- Hampton the Hampster performs a cover of the song on Hampsterdance Hits in 2001.
- Christian group Point of Grace has been performing a cover of the song in recent concerts, calling it “Thank God I’m a Country Girl.”
- Australian Lee Kernaghan performs a cover of the song.
- Swedish eurodance/pop band Rednex recorded cover as B-side song for their 2008 single “Football Is Our Religion“
- Finnish folk/country band Finntrio recorded a Finnish language translation Kyllä maalla on mukavaa of the song.
- Branson, Missouri-based band The Haygoods covered the song
- Dolly Parton has occasionally performed a bluegrass arrangement of the song in her concerts; she also performed the song on an episode of her mid-70s variety show Dolly!
- The German cover band Village Girls covered it under the title “Thank God I’m a Country Girl”
In popular culture
- The song’s live version has been played during the seventh inning stretch at Baltimore Orioles home games beginning in the summer of 1975 and without interruption since 1994. Denver performed it in person atop the Orioles dugout in Game 1 of the 1983 World Series and again fourteen years later during a 12–8 victory over the Detroit Tigers on September 20, 1997, just 22 days prior to his death. The song is also played during the seventh-inning stretch at Atlanta Braves, Buffalo Bisons, and Vanderbilt Commodores games. It is also played regularly at Montana Grizzlies, Washington Glory, Calgary Flames, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, Colorado Avalanche, Spokane Chiefs, and Spokane Indians home games.
- The American version Country Bear Vacation Hoedown has used the song “Thank God I’m a Country Bear” as the show’s finale.
- In Stephen King‘s novel The Dead Zone, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” is played at a televised rally for rising politician and antagonist Greg Stillson.
- The song is featured in the Pauly Shore film Son in Law.
- The sketch comedy series Upright Citizens Brigade did a sketch in its second season where a group of Denver fans got together and discussed how John Denver was forced to change the song from its original lyrics, “Thank God I’m A Nutsack”. Also mentioned was a song called “Sunshine on my Nutsack”.
- Jim Nabors performed “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” when he appeared on The Muppet Show in 1976.
- Party Ben remixed a “City Boy Remix” of the song in 2006 for a guest D.J. spot where the theme was “electro meets hoedown” as a “sloppy but well-meaning tribute”.
- Featured in the stage musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical
- The single is sampled in Soulja Boy‘s song “Country Boy”.
- The song was parodied by the Capitol Steps during the Iran-Contra Scandal as “Thank God I’m A Contra Boy” featuring disgraced military official Oliver North.
- Dale Gribble and Bill Dautrieve sing the chorus of the song, with altered lyrics, in an episode of King of the Hill.
John Denver’s official audio for ‘Thank God I’m A Country Boy’. Click to listen to John Denver on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/JohnDenverSpotify?IQid=JohnDIACB
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