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Thread: "Country Roads, take me home, To the place I belong, in Montgom'ry, mountain mama..."

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Default "Country Roads, take me home, To the place I belong, in Montgom'ry, mountain mama..."

    Montgomery, what? I thought it was supposed to be West Virginia?

    Well, yes. That's how the lyrics of the famous song ("Take Me Home, Country Roads") were eventually recorded. But Bill Danoff (Georgetown University alum and classmate of Bill Clinton) originally began writing the song while driving with his girlfriend, Taffy Nivert, on Clopper Road in Montgomery County, Maryland. The road and the county were much more rural in those days. The scenery reminded Danoff of western Massachusetts. Danoff and Nivert thought about setting the song in Massachusetts, because it fit the flow of the line. West Virginia also had four syllables, and it fit into the rhythm of the lyrics. Danoff and Nivert worked with John Denver on updating the lyrics when Denver was visiting D.C. So West Virginia it was.

    The lyrics also describe the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, both of which lie primarily in Virginia, not West Virginia. When Danoff and Nivert wrote the song, they had never actually visited West Virginia. Google Maps wasn't around back then either, so it wasn't as easy to check these things. Well, I guess they had paper maps back then. But not everyone had an atlas or foldout map on the bookshelf.

    So if you're ever out driving or riding along Clopper Road between Gaithersburg and Germantown, think about the song. You might even end up humming it to yourself.

    P.S. Danoff and Nivert went onto form the Starland Vocal Band. They are primarily known for their 1976 hit "Afternoon Delight", inspired by a menu item at Clyde's in Georgetown. Of course, the song has more to do with afternoon... activities than a Georgetown restaurant specialty. The younger crowd may be more familiar with the "remake" of this song from the "Anchorman" movie. This live performance seems to have been filmed along the canal in Georgetown, but I'm not sure about that:

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    Grandmas featherbed was really a futon.

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