CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Since John Denver released "Country Roads" on his 1971 breakout album "Poems, Prayers and Promises," a few other people have covered it.
You know, like, Malaysian line dancers. Big-time wrestling's "Doctor of Thuganomics," John Cena. Alvin and the Chipmunks. We present to you some of the wide variety -- if not occasionally criminal -- cover versions of the iconic song, culled from YouTube. (All hit counts were current as of Nov. 20.)
VERSION: Sashae Dancers of PJ Academy Of Dancing in Malaysia, dancing to the Hermes House Band version of "Country Roads"
NOTES: It's a little disorienting seeing Malaysian line dancers step-dancing to a techno-pop version of "Country Roads." But after all, isn't that what the Internet is for? This video features the most widely heard supercharged version of the song by a Dutch group, the Hermes House Band (heard on scores of YouTube videos), but executed by Ms. Nelly Ysen's Malaysian line dance crew. It's just that kind of world.
HIT COUNT: 3,317,378
LIKES: 2,959. DISLIKES: 128
VERSION: Official Hermes House Band music video
HIT COUNT: 4,353,031
LIKES: 8,018. DISLIKES: 540.
NOTES: The staging of this video is all screwed up, visually and historically, which hasn't hurt its hit count a bit. A Confederate flag waves in the air, which should come as news to legislators who broke off from the slaveholding state of Virginia in 1863 to form the Union state of West Virginia. And the video tells a story set in the town of Lubbock (there's one of those in Texas, guys), with a story revolving around a saloon, a sheriff and a pretty gal straight out of a corny Western. What are they teaching Dutch kids in history class?
VERSION: Alvin and the Chipmunks remix
NOTES: This is just an audio file set to an image of Alvin and the Chipmunks in which some guy has changed the pitch on the original Chipmunks version: "I chipmunked 'Country roads.'"
HIT COUNT: 229,447.
LIKES: 221. DISLIKES: 122.
There is this priceless note on the YouTube page: "Comments disabled due to people saying 'this video sucks etc.,' and basically just slagging the video. I know it sucks."
VERSION: Olivia Newton John
NOTES: Olivia Newton John in 1972, in the dewy-eyed early years of her career. This is the Respectful/Worshipful/White Bread strain of "Country Roads," done as if she were singing it at a Campus Crusade for Christ coffeehouse.
HIT COUNT: 764,848