Nabors To Sing Last 'Indiana' At 500

By Eric Dutkiewicz - 21Alive

98th Indianapolis 500

March 25, 2014 Updated Mar 25, 2014 at 9:14 PM EDT

INDIANAPOLIS (21Alive) - After more than 3 decades of performing "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" before the Indianapolis 500, Jim Nabors will perform that traditional pre-race anthem one last time this May.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Tuesday that Nabors, 83, will retiring after the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

Jim Nabors Sings "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" At 2013 Indianapolis 500
(courtesy: Indianapolis Motor Speedway)

Nabors first started performing the song at the 1972 race, and has done so 34 times since with the Purdue University All-American Marching Band accompanying him.

He missed the 2007 and 2012 races due to illness.

Nabors' replacement will be named after the 98th running of the "Greatest Spectacle In Racing," May 25 on 21Alive, IMS officials say.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway plans to honor Nabors throughout race week at different events.

"Back Home Again In Indiana" was composed by Ballard MacDonald and James F. Hanley and first published in 1917. The composers' inspiration was "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," the official State Song.

"Back Home Again In (Indiana)" was written in 1917 by Ballard MacDonald & James Hanley. While "On The Banks of The Wabash, Far Away" is the Hoosier State's official state song, "(Back Home Again In) Indiana" is likely more familiar and more traditional thanks to Nabors and the Indianapolis 500.

"(Back Home Again In) Indiana"
Back home again in Indiana,
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,
Through the sycamores for me.
The new-mown hay sends all its fragrance
From the fields I used to roam.
When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,
Then I long for my Indiana home.

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