Thank God I'm a Country Boy
|"Thank God I'm a Country Boy"|
|Single by John Denver|
|from the album Back Home Again|
|B-side||"My Sweet Lady"|
|Recorded||August 26, 1974|
|Length||3:13 (1974 studio version)
3:40 (live version)
|Writer(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|
|Producer(s)||Ray Barnette, Billy Dean, Lari White|
|Billy Dean singles chronology|
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.
It was written by John Martin Sommers, a guitar/banjo/fiddle/mandolin player in Denver's backup band, on December 31, 1973 (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.
The song can be felt in a fast 4/4 time signature or in cut (2/2) time that is typical of two-step. If felt in 4/4 time, both the verse and chorus comprise of 8 measures of 4/4 with a measure of 2/4 added on the end of each. Emotionally, this creates an intended slight stall. Alternatively, if felt in cut (2/2) time, the verse and chorus will each have 4 measures of 2, with an added measure of 1 beat.
John Denver version
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||5|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||1|
|Canadian RPM Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|Canadian RPM Country Tracks||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 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!
In popular culture
- It has been a Baltimore Orioles tradition since the 1970s to play "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" during the seventh inning stretch; in one of his last public appearances, Denver himself danced on top of the dugout during a nationally televised Orioles game in 1997. 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 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 sings the chorus of the song, with altered lyrics, in an episode of King of the Hill.
- John Sommers website: Biography page
- 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.
- http://www.pressboxonline.com/story.cfm?id=2189 Pressboxonline.com: Story behind the lyrics
- "Billy Dean – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Billy Dean.
- Gill, Ben (2006-02-12). "New Party Ben Mix-Type Items That Hopefully Aren't as Bad as "Wipeout Taffy!"". Party Ben Information Systems. Retrieved 2010-05-31.
"Roll On Big Mama"
by Joe Stampley
|RPM Country Tracks
May 24-May 31, 1975
"Window Up Above"
by Mickey Gilley
"I'm Not Lisa"
by Jessi Colter
|Billboard Hot Country Singles
May 31, 1975
"Before the Next Teardrop Falls"
by Freddy Fender
|Billboard Hot 100
number one single
June 7, 1975
"Sister Golden Hair"
|RPM Country Tracks
number-one single of the year