Newspaper Indicates Jim Nabors Was Scheduled All Along To Sing “Back Home Again in Indiana” …

Posted: March 7, 2015 in Uncategorized
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1972_Jim_NaborsBy Jeff Majeske

Special Contributor to  


As we all know, last May was the final performance of Jim Nabors singing “Back Home Again In Indiana” at the Indianapolis 500.

One of the oft-told stories – including by Nabors himself – is that Tony Hulman made a last-minute request for Nabors to sing the beloved tune.

The short version of that story is that because Peter DePaolo, the 1925 winner, sang so poorly before the 1971 race Hulman was compelled to find a professional singer the next year.

Legend has it this mysterious performer didn’t show, putting Hulman in a bind.

So he asked if Nabors wanted to sing. Supposedly, Nabors thought he meant “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Nope. “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

Which Nabors knew – somewhat.

He performed it – beautifully – basically off the cuff, with no rehearsal, with the Purdue “All-American” Marching Band.

Nabors operated that way – no rehearsals – for the next 40-plus years as he became a beloved fixture on race day.

Great story, right?

Except it doesn’t appear to be true.

Jim Nabors Paper 1A few days ago I bought a copy of the Saturday, May 27, 1972 edition of the Indianapolis Star on eBay. You know, the edition that came out the morning of race day.

On the front page, it lists the order of events.

Which includes:  10:50 a.m. “Back Home Again in Indiana” by Jim Nabors (see for yourself)

So it appears Nabors did know he was singing that day.

Or maybe Hulman told the paper, but forgot to tell Nabors.

Shazam! Golly!

Jim Nabors Paper 2

Jim Nabors photo: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

SpeedwaySightings Editor’s Note: Mr. Majeske’s story was first reported Here

  1. robmuller says:

    Well, would it be a tremendous shock, given the track record of communications from the speedway, that they didn’t tell Nabors and he just assumed he was singing the national anthem? That seems pretty likely to me.