‘Rocky Mountain High’ named Colorado’s 2nd state song
March 12, 2007
DENVER ” “Rocky Mountain High,” the late John Denver’s love letter to his adopted state, became Colorado’s second official song Monday.
Lawmakers passed a resolution that puts Denver’s 1972 anthem alongside the lesser-known “Where the Columbines Grow.”
Sen. Bob Hagedorn, who pushed for the second tune, said “Rocky Mountain High” has been an unofficial state song for years and has introduced many people around the world to Colorado.
He said West Virginia adopted Denver’s song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” ” with its opening line of “Almost heaven, West Virginia” ” as a second song in addition to an older state tune.
“Even if John Denver thought West Virginia was almost heaven, he chose Colorado to live,” said Hagedorn, a Democrat from the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The move came nearly 10 years after Denver died in a plane crash near Monterey, Calif.
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Hagedorn said some people believe the song is about drug use, but he disagreed. Hagedorn, who said he is a recovering alcoholic and serves on the board of the state’s largest drug treatment facility, said he wouldn’t promote a song that encouraged drug use.
Sen. Dave Schultheis, R-Colorado Springs, said he didn’t think the state should have two songs.
“If we don’t like ‘Where the Columbines Grow’ the legislature should remove it and replace it,” said Schultheis, who admitted he didn’t know the words to the original state song.
Denver’s brother, Ron Deutschendorf, told the Aspen Daily News earlier this month that Denver would have been “proud and honored” to have the tune designated a state song.
Deutschendorf didn’t immediately return a call.