Country Roads
Saturday January 02nd 2021, 11:21 pm
Filed under: Music

My mom and siblings and Richard’s would get a kick out of this one because we know that area and watched it change over the years. I imagine the horses’ hooves once clopped along between the farms there.

Fifty years ago, the couple that would later become Starland Vocal Band (who knew they lived in Georgetown!) were trying to come up with a song to sell to Johnny Cash as they were driving through Gaithersburg, Maryland heading to a family reunion on the other side of the Potomac. Going home: now there’s a theme to riff from.

Take Me Home Clopper Road just didn’t quite…have that ring to it. Almost Heaven–that down-home feel? (Re the guy’s home state.) With Boston? Johnny Cash? No.

They opened for John Denver his first night performing in DC and he came to their place afterwards asking did they have any other songs? They pulled out that starter verse and the three of them brainstormed.

The next night they were on stage again and when the audience wanted an encore, Denver said, Well, I haven’t learned the words yet this is brand new so hang on a moment, and got out the scotch tape so he could read off the paper.

From that long and standing ovation that said they really had something there, to his first platinum hit. Even if most of the scenery described is more western Virginia than West Virginia.

None of them had actually ever been to West Virginia at that point but it’s now an official state song.

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We drove through part of West Virginia in 2003 … took about 15 minutes going 75 mph (the speed limit). They need a sign on that stretch that reads “Welcome to West Virginia, We Hope You Enjoyed Your Stay” (-:

Comment by Anne 01.03.21 @ 2:00 am

How funny!

Comment by ccr in MA 01.03.21 @ 9:08 am

Awesome story! I had no idea about this and I’ll bet most people don’t either. At least until they read your post and follow the links. Thanks for sharing.

Comment by Chris S in Canada 01.03.21 @ 6:42 pm

Apparently they all lived in a house in my Mclean neighborhood, Clearview Manor, for a while. I heard that from the homeowner who heard the story when he bought his house!

Comment by LauraN 01.03.21 @ 11:18 pm

Having lived in western Virginia and having married a man who grew up in West Virginia and therefore having visited there many, many times, I am perhaps well qualified enough to say that there really isn’t that much difference between western Virginia and West Virginia. We always got a kick out of the people who lived 5 miles from the West Virginia border when they’d talk about those strange folk over the border, and vice versa.

Comment by twinsetellen 01.04.21 @ 9:27 pm

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