HomeEntertainmentMusicOn This Day: John Denver Album ‘Back Home Again’ Was #1 on Charts in 1974

On This Day: John Denver Album ‘Back Home Again’ Was #1 on Charts in 1974

by Matthew Wilson
Photo credit: Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty Images

Amid the holiday season, most people wish they could go back home again. John Denver may be gone. But his music is certainly not forgotten. It’s been 46 years since he released his popular album “Back Home Again.”

“Back Home Again” was Denver’s eighth studio album released during his peak popularity. The 1970s were kind to Denver as an artist with his music reaching mass appeal across the country. Denver populated his music with his love for nature as well as using it as a form of therapy to examine relationships in life.

Writing About Personal Experiences

The album featured some of Denver’s most beloved hits including the title track, “Annie’s Song,” and the thumping “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

For “Annie’s Song,” Denver felt inspired by his then-wife Ann Martell. The two had separated and almost divorced in 1974. The musician composed the song in less than 10 minutes on a ski lift in Aspen, Colorado

“Suddenly, I’m hypersensitive to how beautiful everything is,” Denver said, according to Song Facts. “All of these things filled up my senses, and when I said this to myself unbidden images came one after the other. All of the pictures merged and I was left with Annie. That song was the embodiment of the love I felt at that time.”

John Denver Wins Entertainer of the Year

Upon release, the album charted No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200, no small feat for any artist. Denver won a CMA Award for Song of the Year for “Back Home Again” in 1975. He also took home the Entertainer of the Year Award. But not everyone was a fan. Some country traditionalists swore a grudge against artists like Denver. They believed his pop-like tunes were diluting what country music was about.

In fact, musician Charlie Rich burned the announcement card while on stage when he discovered Denver won the award. That moment forever lived in infamy for the awards ceremony. But ironically, Denver wasn’t even at the award ceremony and didn’t realize what Rich did at the time.

But despite his distractors, Denver continued to be successful and influential to generations to come.