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Rocky Mountain High by John Denver

Album: Rocky Mountain HighReleased: 1972Charted:
9
  • He was born in the summer of his 27th year
    Coming home to a place he'd never been before
    He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
    You might say he found a key for every door

    When he first came to the mountains his life was far away
    On the road and hanging by a song
    But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care
    It keeps changing fast and it don't last for long

    But the Colorado rocky mountain high
    I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
    The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
    Rocky mountain high (Colorado)

    He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below
    He saw everything as far as you can see
    And they say that he got crazy once and he tried to touch the sun
    And he lost a friend but kept his memory

    Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
    Seeking grace in every step he takes
    His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
    The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake

    And the Colorado rocky mountain high
    I've seen it raining fire in the sky
    You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
    Rocky mountain high

    Now his life is full of wonder but his heart still knows some fear
    Of a simple thing he cannot comprehend
    Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more
    More people, more scars upon the land

    And the Colorado rocky mountain high
    I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
    I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
    Rocky mountain high

    It's Colorado rocky mountain high
    I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
    Friends around the campfire and everybody's high
    Rocky mountain high
    Rocky mountain high
    Rocky mountain high
    Rocky mountain high
    Rocky mountain high
    Rocky mountain highWriter/s: JOHN DENVER, MIKE TAYLOR
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Reservoir One Music, RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind
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Comments: 24

I remember seeing America at Red Rocks amphitheater just west of Denver in the late '70s. (Yes, THAT Red Rocks.) I grew up in Denver. Anyway, my friend, Kevin told me there was going to be a meteor shower that night. It was truly amazing. We left in a daze. You could clearly see the meteors over the stage with the bright lights of the city behind. The Perseid meteor Shower is so named because it seems to come from the area of the constellation Perseus. Seems to. A meteor shower is bits of comets that are left when a comet passes by, and the Earth later goes thru. I have seen some amazingly bright shooting stars in my life. One at a night-fire range in basic training in Missouri, another when delivering pizza just outside Concord, N.C., and a particularly inspiring one at Canjilon Lakes, S.E. of Chama N.M., while hunting elk. As far as J.D. smoking pot, he casually admitted to it. When he testified before congress against a rating system for song lyrics, he mentioned his own drug usage, and references in his songs. I think I remember reading an interview wherein he said he was high THAT night.Chris - Albuquerque
Please, people. Yes, he did smoke pot. Definitely.
http://www.veryimportantpotheads.com/denverj.html
Joel - Usa
Here's some obscure trivia:
On January 26th 1915, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill establishing the 'Rocky Mountain National Park'...
And exactly fifty-eight years later on January 26th, 1973 John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" was at #22 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; a little over four weeks later on February 25th it would peak at #9 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for 19 weeks...
Also on Jan. 26th, 1973 it was at #5 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, nine days later on Feb. 4th it reached #3 {for 1 week}...
During the 1970s there were two other charted records with 'Rocky Mountain' in their titles; "Rocky Mountain Way" by Joe Walsh {#23 in 1973} and "Rocky Mountain Music" by Eddie Rabbit {#76 in 1976}.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I don't know why its hard for people to interpret the lyrics "And everybody's high." Can't someone be high on life and what they're experiencing? They're witnessing an incredible show in nature that most people never see. I think that's enough to make you high on life and nature and I think that's what he really is saying. I hear his love for the Rockies and nature, and how it makes him feel. To experiencing this miracle of nature together. A thing of great beauty, it's a euphoric high. And I feel high listening to the song.Susan - United States
The line "I know he'd be a poorer man if he
never saw an eagle fly" is genius and relates to John so well.
Sudip - Salem, India
A rebuttal to my post about the line "Friends around the campfire and everybody's high" stating a drug reference, John Denver may have also referred to the area's altitude.Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
I wish he'd expanded on the line "...more people, more scars upon the land" and done a song devoted entirely to that. Population growth remains the biggest threat to a wilderness ethic. Most remaining true wilderness is in mountainous areas because it's harder to build on steep land, but many mountain zones are already overcrowded, with deteriorating air and water quality. Tourism (or being an artist, like J.D.) is often the only way to make a living up there. The human race invariably ruins what it claims to revere in the name of "economic growth" aka overpopulation. No other species uses land so intensively and gives little back.Jim - Pleasant Hill, Ca
Follow up aftet reading posts ... "High" may refer to only something so basic as feeling good about life. I haven't smoked pot in 32 years but I do enjoy the "high" I get about being around friends.Dalan - Notacityyet, Mt
Always thouht (growing up in the late 60s and early 70s) this was a song about a soldier coming home from war and searching for peace for his soul.Dalan - Notacityyet, Mt
John smoked pot, he smoked hash, and he experimented with acid. It was the 70's people, and it was Aspen, Colorado; get over it. Snow wasn't the only white powder flying around in Aspen back then. Let's not forget the line from 'Poems Prayers & Promises', "while all my friends, and my old lady sit and pass the pipe around" (which have been hypocritically altered from the original lyrics engraved on the stone in the JD sanctuary in Aspen). They weren't blowing bubbles in that pipe. If JD were here today, he'd most likely be an advocate for marijuana legalization. I'm guessing the inspiration for a LOT of his songs came from being high, one way or another. Good for himRob - Seattle, Wa
This song so inspired me to embrace the beauty of God's creation. I wanted to go camping a lot and smell the pines. Carolina in the Pines has the same effect. Both songs are so romantic and inspiring!Kathy - New Orleans, La
Even though I didn't like the line "Friends around the campfire and everybody's high" since I felt he was referring to drugs, Rocky Mountain High is one of my favorite John Denver songs. It paints a picture of the beautiful mountain scenery and the song is so naturalistic.

Even better, Denver wrote the song from a personal experience, in part about he and his wife Annie moving to Aspen and enjoying the beauty of the Rockies. As a writer myself, I feel that personal experiences are the best things to write about.

In 2007, Rocky Mountain High was voted by state government as an official state song.
Howard - St. Louis Park, Mn
John was right about the effects the Winter Olympics would have had on his beautiful Colorado mountains. The ski jump built near Wolf Creek (formely Park West) for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics put a horrible scar in the mountain side. I heard two of John's concerts below that mountain a few years prior. I now live in Denver, but when I go home and see that ski jump I always think of the line in Rocky Mountain High, "Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more more people, more scars upon the land."Chris - Salt Lake City, Ut, Ut
Although I was already leaning that way, this song definitely helped me take up hiking in the mountains as a pasttime. It came out when I was a senior in high school. This is one of those songs that is such a complete package. The lyrics and the melody complement each other perfectly to portray the thoughts and feelings of the artist.Guy - Woodinville, Wa
After graduating high school in Iowa in 1972, in early August myself, John, and Larry decided to go to Colorado for a few weeks camping and consuming 5% Coors beer. We were there a couple of weeks and on August 11, after shopping in Aspen, were camped somewhere near Aspen-Snowmass in a rustic campground in an aspen grove near a lake. That evening we were talking to some college students from UC-Berkeley who told us we needed to look up at about 3am. We had no idea what they were talking about but did look up that night to see the same Perseid shower that John Denver saw...from somewhere in the same vicinity. It truly was as if fireworks were shooting all over the sky, which was of course totally black at 10,000ft before light polution became a problem in the US. Although exact circumstances are of course totally different (our friend Larry died in Sept 72 back in Iowa), the word-memories of this song are somehow very personal.Ron - Farmington, Ia
Watching TV shortly after John crashed , his companion said his last words were "I'm going to buzz Clint Eastwoods house"Kd - Crosby, Mn
As a Christian and a Colorado native, growing up in the 70's I have to say that John had a huge influence on me. His songs were the only songs I ever learned on the guitar. Now when I listen to his music it reminds me of what all we've lost here in Colorado. Ironically, it was John Denver's ballets about "too many people" and "tearing the mountains down" that inspired a gazillion people to move here. Hopefully now that his music is becoming popular again it will inspire people to embrace what it means to be a Coloradan. And yes we Christians have done way too much bashing of things we don't understand. Although I seem to remember in the 80's everyone was kinda down on John Denver. Hey man, climb a mountain, get high.Chris - Colorado Springs, Co
Years ago John Denver sang a song or two on the daytime Merv Griffin show. He sang acapella with a spanish guitar sitting at the edge of the stage, close to the audience. He didn't miss a note!Robert - San Francisco, Ca
john denver didnt have a PROBLEM with pot, but he did use it, after a concert in `71 he was invited to a governors mansion in MN, my grandpa was pretty big with politics and was there, and they smoked pot together.Lilli - Virginia, Mn
this song is use in must of the death seen in the movie Final Destination.Neil - Middlesbrough
i love this song. ive been to the rockies and this song brings all the memories back clear as dayMaggie - Waynesville, Oh
Ken,

I would point out the last line of the song: "Friends around the campfire, and everybody's high".

I always envisioned John as being a true "nature boy" and I doubt that he had a problem with smoking pot.
Rob - Albuquerque, Nm
If you've been to the Rockies, you know what he is singing about. And meteor showers are awesome.Mark - Medicine Hat
I once remember reading that some Christian group claimed that the song was about Cocaine use.

They took the "High" as the snow on top of a mountain that was white meaning cocaine. When John heard this he just shook his head and explained that it was just his own personal feeling that he gets when he was outdoors in the mountains.

This was back in the late 70's/early 80's when all these Christian groups had nothing better to do than attack popular music.
Ken - Yorkton, Canada
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