“Thank God I’m A Country Boy” was edited for radio airplay and even though the album earned gold status in February of 1975, the single performed with even greater success. Certified gold on May 26th, it reached the summit of Billboard’s country chart five days later and then landed at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart the following week. The record is one of five singles to top both charts in 1975.
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With its lyrics surrounding farm life, country cooking and the mountain fiddle, “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” is certainly a celebration of country lifestyles. In fact, with reference to the song “Sally Gooden,” the song provides an interesting link of country’s past with its present. “Sally Gooden” is one of two songs recorded by Eck Robertson and Henry Gilliland in 1922. Along with its flip side, “Arkansaw Traveler” (Arkansas being mis-spelled on the label, perhaps intentionally), the Victor recording is recognized as the very first country record and was a charter inductee into the Library of Congress’ “National Recording Registry” in 2002.
In spite of “Thank God I’m A Country Boy’s” obvious country flavor, Denver swirled in controversy less than five months later when the Country Music Association named him “Entertainer of the Year.” A provincial segment of Nashville expressed its displeasure with the fact that a “crossover” performer could take the CMA’s most prestigious award.
Denver, however, had grown up under the tutelage of his father, an avowed country music fan. The influence was rather distinct and eventually, Denver achieved a lifetime dream when he performed at the Grand Ole Opry for the very first time on November 12, 1976.
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