Thank God I'm a Country Boy
|"Thank God I'm a Country Boy"|
|Single by John Denver|
|from the album An Evening with John Denver|
|B-side||"My Sweet Lady"|
|Recorded||August 26, 1974|
2:47 (single edit)
|Songwriter(s)||John Martin Sommers|
|John Denver singles chronology|
|"Thank God I'm a Country Boy"|
|Single by Billy Dean|
|from the album Let Them Be Little|
|Songwriter(s)||John Martin Sommers|
|Producer(s)||Ray Barnette, Billy Dean, Lari White|
|Billy Dean singles chronology|
"Thank God I'm a Country Boy", also known as "Country Boy", is a song written by John Martin Sommers and recorded by American singer/songwriter John Denver. The song was originally included on Denver's 1974 album Back Home Again. A version recorded live on August 26, 1974, at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles was included on his 1975 album An Evening with John Denver. 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 also became the name of a variety special show hosted by Denver in 1977.
"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.
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.
This section possibly contains original research. (October 2016)
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. The instrumental breaks in the song incorporate a violin playing the old fiddle tune Sally Goodin, which is also referenced in the song's lyrics: "I'd play Sally Goodin all day if I could...."
John Denver version
|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
|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 performed a cover of the song on Hampsterdance Hits in 2001. It became Hampton's second top-20 hit in Australia, where it peaked at number 12 on the ARIA Singles Chart for two weeks in May and June 2001. It was Australia's 81st-most-successful single of 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."
- The a cappella group Home Free released a cover of the song in 2016.
In popular culture
- The song 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, St. Louis Blues, 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.
- Jim Nabors performed "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" when he appeared on The Muppet Show in 1976.
- Ann B. Davis performed "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" as "Thank God I'm a Country Girl" on The Brady Bunch Hour.
- Featured in the stage musical, Priscilla Queen of the Desert – the Musical
- The song was parodied by the Capitol Steps during the Iran-Contra Scandal as "Thank God I'm A Contra Boy" featuring Oliver North.
- The song was used during a scene in Son in Law when Pauly Shore's character, "Crawl", has a combine go out of control and spell his name on the farmland while singing along to the 8-track tape playing in the cab.
- The song appears in a 2021 TV commercial for Airbnb.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-31. Retrieved 2011-07-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book Of Top 40 Country Hits: 1944-2006, Second edition. Record Research. p. 103.
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 173.
- Smith, Dean. "Baltimore?s Seventh-Inning Tradition Within a Tradition". Pressboxonline.com. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
- "John Denver Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
- "John Denver Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
- "John Denver Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
- "Billy Dean Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
- "Australian-charts.com – Hampton the Hampster – Thank God I'm a Country Boy". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
- "ARIA Top 100 Singles for 2001". ARIA. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
- iTunes: Village Girls - Thank God I'm a Country Girl
- "John Denver - Thank God I'm a Country Boy (Home Free Cover) (All Vocal Music)". August 5, 2016.
- Cowherd, Kevin. "7th-inning stretch belonged to Denver Orioles: Time after time, 'Thank God I'm a Country Boy' got the stadium rocking. And when the man himself joined in, it was magic," The Baltimore Sun, Tuesday, October 14, 1997