For 32 years, Jim Nabors sang ‘Back Home’ at Indy 500

Song was a Tin Pan Alley hit soon after its intro in 1917

ghost track

The Indianapolis 500 won’t be run today (rescheduled in light of the coronavirus pandemic for August 23). But the absence of the race today only makes us more nostalgic for the race.

Thus the Video of the Day: The final time that Jim Nabors sang Back Home Again in Indiana, which he did for 32 years, becoming a part of the Indy legend.

Actually, the title of the song is (Back Home Again in) Indiana, and it was written in 1917 by James Hanley and Ballard MacDonald. The song became part of Indy 500 lore in 1946, with Nabors performing it from 1971-2014, with the Purdue University marching band providing the music.

A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Jim singing the song… the engines firing up… cannot get more AMERICANA then that….. Gentlemen start your engines… ….HELL YEH…..USA

  2. I’m sorry; but, the author’s math is off. If Jim Nabors sang at the Indy 500 from 1971 – 2014, he sang for 43 years, not 32. I’ll trust the other website that says 1972 – 2014, which makes it 42 years.


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