“Back Home Again In Indiana” is a song composed by James F. Hanley with lyrics by Ballard MacDonald….which was published in January 1917….and although“On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”is the state song of Indiana….it is perhaps the best-known song that pays tribute to the Hoosier state.
Since 1946, “Back Home Again in Indiana” has been performed during pre-race ceremonies before the Indianapolis 500…..and from 1972 to 2014, the song was performed most often by Jim Nabors….as the vocals are supported by the Purdue All-American Marching Band. In 2014, Nabors performed the song for the final time after announcing his retirement earlier that year, saying: “You know, there’s a time in life when you have to move on. I’ll be 84 this year. I just figured it was time … This is really the highlight of my year to come here. It’s very sad for me, but nevertheless there’s something inside of me that tells me when it’s time to go.”
After Nabors retired, the honor of singing the song has been done on a rotating basis….while the 1986 guest singer was John Davies of The Indianapolis Opera Company performs the honor….as seen in this video herewith.