The decision is not without controversy, though you'd think they'd have laid this one to rest 30-some-odd years ago, when the AM station I listened to banned the song for possible drug references (that'd be the "high" part). According to the New York Times, the rebuttal is pretty lame:
- â€A high is medically the releasing of endorphins in the brain â€” yes, drugs cause it, but so do lots of other things,â€ said State Senator Bob Hagedorn, a Democrat from the suburbs of Denver who successfully led the drive on Monday to make Mr. Denverâ€™s anthem â€Rocky Mountain Highâ€ Coloradoâ€™s second state song. The tune will have joint status with â€Where the Columbines Grow,â€ which pretty much everyone agrees is about flowers.
Whatever Denver initially intended that word to mean (and I tend to believe in the innocent version, perhaps because, as an innocent when I first heard it, I knew exactly what he meant), that song is Colorado for those of us of a certain age. Denver's songs about the state caused me to fall in love with it back in seventh grade, are the reason I learned to play guitar, and have a lot to do, I will now admit, with my moving to Colorado as soon as I was old and solvent enough to do so. And I'm not alone, even if others don't want to admit it, Denver having developed a kind of geeky-squeaky image by the time the '80s rolled around.
However, I do think the CVB is slightly deluded when Denver CVB spokesman Richard Grant told the Times that using the lyrics in promotional materials is â€certainly going to appeal to a lot of young people,â€ Mr. Grant said. â€Itâ€™s just a cool thing to take a rock song and make it the official song.â€
Um, I'd be hard put to classify it as a rock song, and I seriously doubt any young people have ever even heard of it, but for those of us who grew up in the '70s, or at least me, it still has a tremendous pull. I need to go back for a visit very, very soon. For those who don't know this song, check out this video (in addition to being a nerd, I'm also a big mush—watching it brought tears to my eyes. RIP, John):