Cover Versions

Annie’s Song

Annie’s Song

Song: Annie’s Song
Artist: Sir James Galway
Original artist: John Denver


In my perception it is more common for tunes to enjoy success when lyrics have been
added to an instrumental hit. For example, Andy Williams had album success with
Summer Place which had been a nine-week No 1 hit for Percy Faith’s orchestra who
recorded the theme for a film of the same name.
But the reverse – a song with lyrics turned into an instrumental – is not so common in
terms of success. I am struggling to think of many.
However, one instance that does readily come to mind is Annie’s Song which was a hit
for its writer John Denver in 1974 and Sir James Galway four years later. Both men
dedicated the recordings to their wives who, it will come as no surprise, were named
Annie.
Denver claims he managed to write the song in a little more than 10 minutes while
travelling on a ski lift in his home town of Aspen, Colorado. The song would reach the
top of the charts in both the US and the UK.

Irish flautist Sir James Galway had his one and only UK chart success with his haunting
version of the song. It peaked at No 3.

Footnote: Denver died at the age of 53. An avid pilot, he lost his life in a plane crash in 1997

At the time of writing, Galway (84) lives with his third wife Jeanne in Switzerland.
Second footnote: The instrumental version of Annie’s Song forms the background to an
anthem sung by the supporters of Yorkshire football club, Sheffield United. It’s called the
Greasy Chip Butty and it’s the kind of chant that only football supporters can come up
with. There are many clips on the internet with the crowd singing it, but on most the
words are indistinct. Below is the clearest version I could find although the singer
manages to make the word “butty” sound like “booty”.

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