Indianapolis opera singer John Davies sings “Back Home Again In Indiana” at the start of the 1986 Indy 500….which has been a tradition since 1946….as it is a song composed by James F. Hanley with lyrics by Ballard MacDonald that was published in January 1917….and although it is not the state song of Indiana….which is “On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away”….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…..whereas from 1972 to 2014, except for 1986, the song was performed most often by Jim Nabors….. of which we have his version in our ImaSportsphile library also….while 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.”