“Rocky Mountain High” Is Colorado’s Second State Song

“Rocky Mountain High,” the late John Denver’s ode to Colorado, has been adopted as the state’s second official song. The state’s other official song, “Where the Columbines Grow,” was adopted by the Colorado General Assembly in 1915. The singer-songwriter was born Henry John Deutschendorf but changed his name in 1969 and lived in Aspen, Colo., from the early ’70s until his death in a plane crash in 1997. He was named the state’s poet laureate in 1974. State Sen. Bob Hagedorn, who led the way for the 1972 hit to be named a state song, denied that the lyrics are about drug use. Noting that a “high” involves the release of endorphins in the brain, Hagedorn told The New York Times, “’We could be talking about guys who’ve been fishing all day, or kids pigging out on s’mores, with the chocolate.”