Song: “I’ve Been Everywhere”

Swapping toponyms makes for many versions of a song from the 1950s that's still being remade today.

The song this week has multiple versions using different toponyms (place names). There’s the original Australian version, the American version, the Western Australian version, the New Zealand version, the UK version, the Texas version, the Thailand version, and so on and so on.

The original version was the Australian one, written by songwriter and singer Geoff Mack in 1959 and popularized by Australian singer Leslie Morrison, who used the stage name Lucky Starr.

In 1962, Mack rewrote the lyrics with places in America (using a map to determine place names), and country singer Hank Snow made it a #1 hit. The British version followed in 1963, and New Zealand’s came along in 1966. Others have appeared here and there (and everywhere) ever since, with the latest being the Lockdown version of 2020, which complains about going nowhere.

Johnny Cash recorded his modern version for his 1996 album, Unchained, where you can also find his version of Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents.” It’s an amazing album, and Cash’s version has been used in ads for Comfort Inns and in the movie Flight of the Phoenix.

That album might have been helped by Cash having Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers as his backing band for the recording.

Between June 2017 and October 2019, Brett Anderson (no known relation) rode his motorcycle (“Annie”) to all the locations named in the American version, including 16 countries and 49 states. His record of the 73,000+ mile trip can still be found online.

Where did he go?


Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Minnesota, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, La Paloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocopilla, Barranquilla, and Padilla.

Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana, Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana, Monterey, Ferriday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa, Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa, Tennessee, Hennessey, Chicopee, Spirit Lake, Grand Lake, Devil’s Lake, and Crater Lake.

Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika, Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica, Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport, Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport, Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina, Pasadena, and Catalina.

Pittsburgh, Parkersburg, Gravelbourg, Colorado, Ellensburg, Rexburg, Vicksburg, Eldorado, Larimore, Atmore, Haverstraw, Chatanika, Chaska, Nebraska, Alaska, Opelika, Baraboo, Waterloo, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Sioux City, Cedar City, and Dodge City.

How many of these places have you been?