Thursday, April 17

Will Jim Nabors Sing, "Back Home again in Indiana" at Indianapolis 500 2014?


Will Indiana's adopted son Jim Nabors return to sing in person, "Back Home Again in Indiana," for the 98th Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, May 25? Nabors was unable to visit his second favorite home due to illness in 2012, so he performed via video screens at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the pre-race traditional festivities.

Yes, this year he will return and sing live once again ~ in Indiana.

The Hoosier state's unofficial song being sung by Nabors has become a tradition for race fans around the globe and local residents alike. Nabors' rendition became an instant favorite at the "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" since he performed it for the first time in 1972. When the original; performer didn't show up, Tony Hulman recalled seeing Nabors in the stands and approached him to stand in to sing the song. And the rest, as they say, is history.

One last timeUnfortunately all good things must end eventually and this is true even of traditions at the Indy 500. Due to Nabors' health, the 9,000 mile trip from his home in Hawaii is too difficult and the entertainer, who will turn 84 years old the week after the race, is going out while still at the top ~ making this his last live rendition of the song at the oval track.

Who will replace Jim Nabors? No one has been rumored yet for his replacement, and we aren't even certain if they will attempt to. Perhaps they will do a live video broadcast from his home for a few more years or retire the song. It is still all up in there air as far as I am aware. It's too soon to even inquire. Instead, let's just enjoy this one last time of Indiana's adopted son singing our song.

Nabors, known both for his singing career and his beloved character Gomer Pyle on television's "Andy Griffith Show," and, later, "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," has performed the popular song - with thousands of race fans singing along in the grandstands. The entertainer also enjoyed a successful career as a singer with 28 albums, with three hitting gold and one hitting platinum status. He also appeared in four films and numerous television shows, including his own The Jim Nabors Hour, The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.

When he appeared
1972: Jim Nabors sings "Back Home Again" for the first time, stepping in at the last moment for the performer who didn't show up. He continues to perform the song through 1978.

1979 - '86: The entertainer only performed two years in the next eight.

1987 - 2006: He returns to sing, not missing the next 20 years.

2007: Nabors is too ill to travel, missing his first Indy 500 performance since returning in 1987.

2012: Nabors is unable to travel to perform at the race. He sang live by videostream from his home in Hawaii.

2013: Nabors returns to sing live at the race.

2014: Nabors announces this will be his last year to perform live at the Indianapolis 500.

“Back Home Again in Indiana” lyrics

I have always been a wand'rer
Over land and sea
Yet a moonbeam on the water
Casts a spell o'er me

A vision fair I see
Again I seem to be
Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see

The gleaming candlelight still shining (burning) bright
Thro' the sycamores for me
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance
From fields I used to roam

When I dream
About the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home

Fancy paints on mem'ry's canvas 
Scenes that we hold dear 
We recall them in days after 
Clearly they appear 

And often times I see 
A scene that's dear to me
Back home again in Indiana 
And it seems that I can see

The gleaming candlelight still shining (burning) bright 
Thro' the sycamores for me
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance 
From fields I used to roam

When I dream
About the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home

2014 Indianapolis 500 tickets: Tickets are on sale for the 98th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 25 at IMS. Fans can buy tickets online at IMS.com/tickets, by calling the IMS ticket office at (317) 492-6700, or (800) 822-INDY outside the Indianapolis area, or by visiting the ticket office at the IMS Administration Building at the corner of Georgetown Road and 16th Street between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET) Monday-Friday.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Travel & LEisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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