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John Denver performing Country Roads
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Danoff and his then-wife, Mary "Taffy" Nivert, wrote "I Guess He'd Rather Be in Colorado" and "Take Me Home, Country Roads", both of which were hits for John Denver. Danoff (from Springfield, Massachusetts) has stated he had never been to West Virginia before co-writing the song. Inspiration for the song had come while driving to a family reunion of Nivert's relatives along Clopper Road in nearby Maryland. According to a radio interview with Nivert, the road is close to her native Washington, D.C., in nearby Montgomery County, Maryland, where Denver often visited. That road – Clopper Road – still exists today, but the landscape has changed drastically from the countryside scenery that once surrounded it. To pass the time en route, Danoff had made up a ballad about the little winding roads they were taking. He had even briefly considered using "Massachusetts" rather than "West Virginia" as both four-syllable state names would have fit the song's meter.
According to Danoff, the part of the song that is quintessential West Virginia, is the verse referring to the radio. Danoff says that comes directly from his childhood in the 1950s listening to the program Saturday Night Jamboree on Wheeling’s WWVA from his home in Springfield, Massachusetts.