On This Day: John Denver Records ‘Back Home Again’ in 1974

by Emily Morgan

On this day, 47 years ago, John Denver recorded his hit song, “Back Home Again,” on March 6, 1974.  Denver released the song was as a single from his album of the same name. After its release, the single did well, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard “Hot 100” chart. 

Months later, in November, the track became Denver’s fifth “Top 10” hit on the pop chart and topped the adult contemporary chart for two consecutive weeks. “Back Home Again” was also a crossover-hit in country and pop music. The song became the first of three number ones on the country music chart, where it stayed for a week. Later on, the RIAA certified the song gold, and in 1975, it won Denver a CMA Award in the category “Song of the Year.” At the same awards ceremony, Denver also won “Entertainer of the Year.”

Country Singer Shocks Audiences While Announcing John Denver’s Win At CMA Awards

In response to his win, instead of announcing the name “John Denver” and stepping back from the podium after reading the words on the winning envelope, Charlie Rich did something no one would forget. The singer reached into his pocket for his lighter and set the envelope on fire in front of the audience. 

Even though Rich’s direct insult at the “Country Roads” singer shocked the crowd, Denver remained humble and gracious in his acceptance speech. 

Many have theorized that the shocking act was Rich was defending the traditionalists of the genre as pop artists, at the time, were trying to make their entrance into the county music world. 

While many assumed Rich had a personal vendetta against Denver, Rich was reportedly on a combination of prescription pain medication and alcohol the night of the ceremony. 

Despite the unsavory events at the award’s show, the song remains a classic hit in Denver’s discography. Its lyrics embody the essence of Denver as a songwriter and storyteller. 

Hey, it’s good to be back home again, you know it is
Sometimes this old farm feels like a long lost friend
Hey it’s good to be back home again
I said hey it’s good to be back home again

One thing that rings true is that Denver wrote beautiful songs long before becoming a star in the country or pop music world. “Back Home Again” is a perfect example of the talent he possessed as a songwriter.