About the song

John Denver’s Late Nite Radio. A folksy gem that warms the soul like a crackling fire on a chilly night. Denver, a titan of the American folk scene in the latter half of the 20th century, was known for his optimistic lyrics and anthemic melodies that celebrated nature, love, and the simple joys of life. But Late Nite Radio takes a more introspective turn, painting a vivid picture of the solace found in the flickering glow of the radio dial in the wee hours.

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Composed by songwriting duo Bill and Taffy Danoff, the song first appeared on their 1974 album ACES. Denver, recognizing its universal appeal, covered it on his 1975 album Windsong, propelling it to wider recognition. This wasn’t the first time Denver had incorporated radio into his music. Earlier hits like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” referenced the comforting presence of a familiar radio station, a testament to the powerful connection this technology fostered, especially in rural America.

Late Nite Radio delves deeper, venturing into the unique world that unfolds after dark on the AM dial. Denver sings of a hidden society, a tapestry woven from the voices of lonely hearts in Arkansas, truckers rumbling down highways, and late-night preachers. It’s a world unseen by the daytime bustle, a realm where vulnerability and connection intertwine on the airwaves.

The beauty of the song lies in its ability to capture the essence of companionship found in the most unexpected places. Denver, with his signature gentle vocals, portrays the radio as a loyal friend, a constant source of comfort in the quiet solitude of the night. He flicks the dial, a ritualistic dance between news updates, nostalgic tunes, and even the occasional outlandish talk show or conspiracy theory program (“this time of night my interest lies in UFO’s”).

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Late Nite Radio serves as a reminder of a bygone era, a time before the internet and the constant hum of digital information. Back then, the radio offered a curated experience, a portal to a world beyond our immediate surroundings. It fostered a sense of community, a shared space where strangers could connect through the invisible threads of sound.

Denver’s song isn’t just a celebration of late-night radio; it’s a poignant reflection on human connection and the yearning for solace in the quiet hours. It’s a testament to the power of music and storytelling to bridge distances and create a sense of belonging, even in the most unexpected of places – late at night, with the dial glowing and a voice whispering from a box on the nightstand.



There’s lonely hearts in ArkansasThere’s truckers in Des MoinesAll there to keep me company in the early mornA world unknown to daytimeIs forever going on
The airways of the nationBetween midnight and the dawn
Late nite radioTake it everywhere I go
Best friend when I’m lonelyIs my late nite radio
Well I turn the dialA little bit past one-o-one point two
In time to catch the newsAnd see who’s shooting whoThen I hunt around for old songsThey’re so good to hear again
To think of how it wasImagine how it might have been
Late nite radioTake it everywhere I go
Best friend when I’m lonelyIs my late nite radio
La La La I sing along‘Cause I never know the words
La La La La La La La La LaI’d love to call a talk showBut I haven’t got the nerveLa La La Oh Oh Oh radio
The Lord is still my shepherdBut these preachers got to goThis time of night my interestLies in U.F.O.’s
So I turn the dial a littlePast fifty-six point threeTo find myself a lullabyTo rock me off to sleep
Late nite radioTake it everywhere I goBest friend when I’m lonelyIs my late nite radio
Late nite radioTake it everywhere I goBest friend when I’m lonelyIs my late nite radio