Today was the last time Jim Nabors sang Back Home Again in Indiana and it was an emotional goodbye for one of the best traditions of the great race.
JIM NABORS: "There’s a time in life when you have to move on. I’ll be 84 this year and I just figured it was time. It’s kind of hard to travel and there’s just a bunch of reasons. This is really the highlight of my year (is to come here). It’s very sad for me but there’s something inside me that tells me when to go.”
(About his run singing at Indianapolis): "It’s been a good one, man. I’ve really had a good time. When it started, I would have never dreamed I’d still be doing this 42 years later. I didn’t even know I’d do it the first time. As you all have probably heard, I thought I was going to sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’ Whenever I got over there to meet the conductor, I said, ‘What key are you guys doing this in?’ He looked at me and said, 'We only have one key.'
I said, ‘No, The Star-Spangled Banner has two keys.’ He said, ‘Well, you’re not singing that.’ I said, ‘What the hell am I singing?’ It was only five minutes before race time. I’d never seen that many people before in my life, and so, I said, ‘What am I singing?’ He said, ‘You’re singing the traditional song that opens the race (Back Home Again in Indiana). I looked at him kind of funny and I said, ‘I’m from Alabama. Do you still want me to do it?’
“I had no idea that it’d be all these years later and I’d still be doing this. I feel very grateful and I’ve been totally blessed in my life with getting to do things like this, and getting to know all the people that I’ve known and become friends with. It’s been an amazing trip. Right after singing ‘Back Home Again in Indiana’ for the first time, I became a total Hoosier – I really did. It’s been a great run for me."
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