John Denver’s Estate is Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Rocky Mountain High- Concert Special to Air on PBS in Spring 2023

Article Contributed by Candice Dollar | Published on Monday, October 31, 2022

Now he walks in quiet solitude the forests 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 rainin' fire in the sky…”  

John Denver, the two-time Grammy Award-winning singer songwriter and Poet Laureate of Colorado, wrote the lyrics for “Rocky Mountain High” while camping during the Perseid Meteor Shower. Denver’s lyrics hint at his Thoreau-like appreciation for the transcendent and divine beauty of the natural wonders in Colorado.

Despite the fact that his commitment and skills as a vocalist, guitarist, performer and songwriter were largely underrated by the music community, Denver is the 53rd highest selling artist worldwide, with over 33 million records sold. Rocky Mountain High was the first of Denver’s seven Billboard Top Ten albums. He also released seven Multiplatinum, 13 Platinum, and 20 Gold U.S. Certified albums.

John Denver - Courtesy of John Denver’s Estate

Denver wrote a string of classics: “Annie’s Song,” “Leaving On a Jet Plane,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Back Home Again,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High, and his catalog continues to sell thousands of units per week.

Since 2007, “Rocky Mountain High,” title track from his 1972 album, is officially recognized as a state song of Colorado.

Colorado Governor, Jared Polis, recently confirmed the renaming of “Mountain Lion Trail” in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which will now be called the “Rocky Mountain High Trail”. Polis says, “Here in Colorado, we’ve always known that our majestic mountains, our bright blue skies, our starlit nights and our forest and streams were the stuff of legends—but John Denver made them the stuff of song lyrics, too, and not just any lyrics, but world-famous lyrics that span genres and generations”.

Earlier this month, Denver’s estate commemorated the 50th anniversary of Rocky Mountain High with a special performance by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, featuring audio and video of Denver himself, and backed by members of his former band, who shared stories about Denver throughout the evening.

photo courtesy of John Denver’s Estate

Denver’s Estate is now teaming up with Sony Legacy to digitize from their archives, “John Denver's Rocky Mountain High”—a concert special filmed in 1974 at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, which will air on PBS in spring 2023.

A limited-edition blue vinyl reissue of the album is out now on Windstar Records and Secretly Distribution.

Rocky Mountain High Track List

Side One

1. Rocky Mountain High

2. Mother Nature's Son

3. Paradise

4. For Baby (For Bobbie)

5. Darcy Farrow

6. Prisoners

Side Two

1. Goodbye Again

2. Season Suite: Summer

3. Season Suite: Fal

4. Season Suite: Winter

5. Season Suite: Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico)

6. Season Suite: Spring