Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

January 19, 2013

‘Country Roads, Take Me Home’: Officials petition for new city, state song

BLUEFIELD — The city of Bluefield is hoping to lead a renewed push to declare John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” as West Virginia’s newest state song.

Mayor Linda Whalen said the city’s board of directors will consider a resolution Tuesday to adopt the song as the official state song of Bluefield.

Whalen said the purpose of the action is to encourage state leaders to adopt the song as well.

“In a way it is connected to the petition to get this recognized as a state song,” Whalen said. “We think it is a good idea to adopt it as a city song, and hopefully it will spur the state on the same. This song would be an addition to the three current state songs West Virginia has, and I believe this song is the one most people identify with West Virginia. We wanted to take the lead in this project.”

Whalen said the song provides both an accurate description of the Bluefield area as well as the state overall.

“I think the way it describes the West Virginia is very applicable to Bluefield,” she said. “I think it is a very positive description of the state. It makes people feel good about the state. We just think it’s a good fit for Bluefield, too. If you think about West Virginia, this is one of the first songs that comes to mind.”

State lawmakers have considered adopting the song as West Virginia’s fourth official state song, but none of these efforts have succeeded.

Presently, West Virginia has only three state songs. According to the West Virginia Department of Commerce, these three songs are “The West Virginia Hills” by Ellen King and H.E. Engle, “This is My West Virginia” by Iris Bell, and “West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home” by Julian G. Hearne Jr. The Legislature adopted all three songs on Feb. 28, 1963.

The song “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was originally co-written by John Denver, Taffy Nivert and Bill Danoff and sung by Denver on his 1971 breakout album “Poems, Prayers and Promises.” The song reached No. 2 on the Billboard 100 Charts in 1971 and became Denver’s signature song.

Though the song is not an official state song in West Virginia, it is the theme song for West Virginia University and has been performed at every home pre-football show since 1972. In 1980, Denver himself performed the song at the dedication of the current Mountaineer Field.

Covers of the song have been performed by the likes of Ray Charles, Loretta Lynn, Skeeter Davis and Olivia Newton-John.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com

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