“Take Me Home, Country Roads” to be West Virginia State Song
A special resolution to make the John Denver hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads” an official West Virginia state song is expected to pass during the state legislative session this Friday. The song, which begins with the lyrics “Almost Heaven West Virginia…” was a hit for singer John Denver and his co-writers Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert when it was released in 1971.
A reception will also be held Friday at 2pm at the lower rotunda of the State Capitol, featuring Governor Earl Ray Tomblin and state legislators, musical performances from the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, students from Cabell Midland High School and America’s Got Talent winner and West Virginia resident Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.
Princeton WV resident Dreama Denver, wife of the late television icon Bob “Gilligan” Denver is not related to John Denver (whose real last name was Deutschendorf). But, as head of the Mercer County WV-based Denver Foundation, she began pushing for “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to become the state’s official song in 2012. It all began with an on-air chat with her “Sunny Side Up” show listeners on Little Buddy Radio 93.1 FM, which is also heard around the world at www.littlebuddyradio.com.
Denver then enlisted the help of State Senator Bill Cole and House of Delegates member Marty Gearhart to get the resolution reintroduced in the Legislature before the session wraps up this week.
“We are identified favorably all over the world by the lyrics of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads”, Dreama told the Associated Press in a recent interview. “Their whole vision of West Virginia is tied up in the song all over the world. When the first four words are ‘Almost Heaven, West Virginia,’ that says it all, doesn’t it?”
“Country Roads” co-writer Bill Danoff, contacted by West Virginia Music Hall of Fame head Michael Lipton said “It’s a wonderful honor; It was over 43 years ago when we put the song out. John would be really happy, as would my former wife Taffy. Personally, I’m thrilled, and really proud to be a part of what I like to think of as the West Virginia Pride movement. I’ve had these incredible stories of people from all over the world connecting to the state because of the song. It’s really nice for it to be a part of the positive image of West Virginia. “
“Country Roads” has been heard and performed around the globe from Irish pubs to the Czech Republic, and even at the Great Wall of China. When now U.S. Senator Joe Manchin visited Thailand as West Virginia’s Governor, Thailand’s prime minister started singing, “Almost Heaven, West Virginia” after introducing Manchin.