John Denver’s Estate Celebrates 50th Anniversary of “Rocky Mountain High” with Concert Special on PBS

John Denver, plain and simple, is one of the most beloved and celebrated songwriters in American history.

Videos by American Songwriter

As such, he’s getting his just due via several celebrations of his seminal 1972 album, Rocky Mountain High, which is enjoying its 50th anniversary this year.

Denver’s estate is set to continue the festivities with a concert special dedicated to the record that’s set to air on PBS in the spring of 2023.

Denver’s Estate has teamed up with Sony Legacy to digitize a concert special filmed in 1974 at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater which will air on PBS in spring 2023. 

As of 2007, the title track from the record is also recognized as a state song of Colorado.

Denver, who passed away at just 52 years old in 1997, wrote the album’s title track while camping in the Rocky Mountains during the Perseid Meteor Shower. It’s all about his love for Colorado and its natural habitats.

Originally released on September 15, 1972, Rocky Mountain High was Denver’s first Top 10 album.

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

Recently, American Songwriter premiered some exclusive audio in which Denver talks about the inspiration for his hit song, “Rocky Mountain High,” and, later, the legendary artist reads an excerpt from his 1994 autobiography, Take Me Home

The unreleased audio describing the inspiration for the song is from a 1974 pre-recorded radio show, which has not been available since. And the additional audio is from the audiobook for John’s 1994 autobiography.

Read more HERE.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis also recently confirmed the renaming of Mountain Lion Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which will now be called the Rocky Mountain High Trail. “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,” said Polis. “And not just any lyrics, but world-famous lyrics that span genres and generations.”

In the early ’70’s Denver was one of the first artists to share an environmental message through his music, contributing to a number of charitable and environmental causes. He has received a number of civic and humanitarian awards over the years, including the Presidential “World Without Hunger” Award for his work with The Hunger Project and UNICEF, the National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, and the NASA Medal for Public Service. 

Denver, a two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Poet Laureate of Colorado released 23 studio albums in his lifetime. He is best known for the songs “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High.”

Denver is the 53rd highest-selling artist worldwide with over 33 million records sold and seven Billboard Top Ten Albums in the U.S. His catalog continues to sell thousands of units per week. He has had seven multi-platinum, 13 platinum, and 20 gold U.S.-certified albums.

Rocky Mountain High tracklist

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: Fall

4. Season Suite: Winter

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

6. Season Suite: Spring 

Photo via John Denver album cover

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