CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s likely the only song which every resident of the state knows the words. It’s played in honky tonks and hip hop bars with equal appreciation. The song “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver has long been considered the unofficial anthem of West Virginia. Friday, it became official. Lawmakers passed House Resolution 40 which declares Country Roads the fourth official state song of West Virginia.

The idea was first suggested by Dreama Denver who lives in Mercer County. Dreama is the wife of the late actor Bob Denver who was the star of Gilligan’s Island. Speaking on the MetroNews Morning News Friday, Dreama said the idea started when she played the song on her morning radio show and a caller asked if it was the official state song.

“I told them I didn’t think so, so I Googled it and of course it was not,” she said. “The idea was born then. It should be. Let’s make it so.”

Dreama, who incidentally is no relation to singer John Denver, called on her local Del. Marty Gearheart for assistance. He agreed to sponsor the resolution, which they hoped pass last year during the state’s Sesquicentennial. It passed the House of Delegates but didn’t’ pass the Senate.

“I told them, fine I’ll be back every year until it does pass.”  Dreama said.

A year later, Dreama joined Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in celebrating “Take Me Home Country Roads” as the fourth official state song. The others are “The West Virginia Hills,” “West Virginia My Home Sweet Home,” and “This is My West Virginia.”

“Take Me Home Country Roads” was written as a collaboration by John Denver, Taffy Nivert, and Bill Danoff. The tune is recognized worldwide.

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Comments

  • mark wallow

    I just found out my great aunt left me and my other siibblings own 54acres of mineral rights in w Virginia passed down from our father and when he died 8yrs ago it passed on to us kids from our great aunt so now I have a reason to love w Virginia+the song by jd

  • Tony Urah

    I'm not a resident but am moved to applaud all of those who brought this to fruition.
    A wonderful state theme touching so many while giving remembrance to heartfelt artist who saw more possibilties in our goodnees than we might have seen in ourselves.

  • wvhills

    This song was written about the state of VIRGINIA. The word WEST was added by John Denver to make it fit the rhythm better...I mean, you could look it up...

  • Starlight

    It's nice to see that SOMEONE is giving credit to "Take Me Home's" other two authors, who incidentally are married to each other. It is THEY, and not John Denver, who wrote the first and third verses of "Take Me Home". John wrote the bridge verse ( verse 2) and the music. And by the way, "Take Me Home" started out as a POEM, not a song.

    There is another one of John's songs that has been adopted as a state song- "Rocky Mountain High" which was official declared to be Colorado's state song a few years ago. It replaced the existing song at the time.

  • BH

    Great. Now if only the Legislature will go into special session and select deep fried butter as our official snack.

  • griff

    I am glad the politicians had tome to pass a state song bill but of coarse they couldn't get together on the meth bill. no time for the drug situation. did they pass peanut butter & jelly sandwich as the state food?

  • BH

    Although I appreciate "Take me Home Country Roads", it's has a rather whiny sound to it and is difficult to sing well. "Oh those WV Hills " has way more history and has a better sing-along quality.

  • Piperh Pierson

    As administrator for Bill and Taffy's Starland Vocal Band(past,present,future)Facebook group and the Starlandandmore69 YouTube channel,I am absolutely thrilled.
    With a big ol' lump in my throat...congrats Bill and Taffy

  • Wowbagger

    Depending on the context the geography might or might not be dicey, but the sentiments are genuine and "Country Roads" is globally recognized so I'll accept it.

  • wv4evah

    Has the publishing company that owns the rights to "Take Me Home Country Roads" waived the royalties that would have to be paid every time the song is performed?

  • Red Dwarf

    I totally agree, Betty. "Come Home to West Virginia" and "West Virginia My Home" would be much better choices, and both were written by a West Virginian. John Denver hadn't been to West Virginia until years after his song was a hit, at the opening of the "new" Mountaineer Field.

  • Tom

    Yep!

  • Aaron

    I keep seeing all these comments about Blue Ridge Mountains and while I understand the reference, but I don't think I can count the number of times and the number of places I've rode around this state and encountered a fantastic view of blue ridge mountains.

    Like it or not and regardless of the reference to the Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains, the song IS West Virginia.

  • Becky

    While I love Mrs. Denver (I've met her a few times and she's a lovely person), making this song one of our state songs was a mistake! Yes, the chorus has West Virginia in it, but the song only mentions landmarks in VIRGINIA! The Shenandoah River and the Blueridge Mountains are both in Virginia. Other than West Virginia being mentioned in the chorus, the song has nothing to do with us. Way to go making it a state song and confusing even more people about the different between our great state and the OTHER Virginia.

  • Jeremy

    Apparently the rest of wv wasn't worth writing about so he picked a small sliver of the blue ridge and shenadoah that finishes in WV to write about---or he just got confused about which state he was duscissing

  • CaptainQ

    All of this chatter against the Country Roads song is just plain silly.

    I had to laugh Friday during the Metronews Talkline radio program when one of the guests, a Marshall alum, shared that he'd gotten an angry phone call from someone representing a group of Marshall alums protesting the Country Roads song. Their complaint? According to them, the song mentions West Virginia University and NOT Marshall U.

    Someone will have to refresh my memory. What verse of that song mentions WVU? It mentions the name of the STATE of West Virginia, but NOT the university. Where did these folks get such ideas from? I hope they didn't learn that during their classes at Marshall....

    Shakespeare had it right when he wrote this title for one of his plays: "Much Ado About Nothing." Amen, Willie!

  • Barb

    The comment about having this song being good for WV tourism is correct. Country Roads is known the world over. I've seen a video of kindergarten children in China singing it. While I was on a tour of Ireland with Bill Danoff, he performed the song at The Bleeding Horse on Upper Camden Street in Dublin, Ireland. The audience LOVED it and was singing along with Bill. West Virginia can now claim to have a state song that millions of people outside of WV know by heart.

  • WVU fan in Boston

    is there a video of John Denver singing country roads in the 1980 dedication? if so where?

  • jd harris

    At on time it was Va. an Wv.

  • Laura J. Allen

    I beg to differ with your comments that the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains are not in West Virginia. They most certainly are in Jefferson County between Kabletown and Harper's Ferry.

  • Country Roads

    It would be nich if some would go and read the history of the song writer, when the song was written where and how the lyrics was chosen in the song before they would criticize the writer and lyrics. I am not going into the history except it gos back before July 4 , 1776 .

  • Shadow

    There are several great things about this Country, one is to achieve, and another is to comment. In your case, the road is open for you to write a song about your hills and your rivers that suit your geography and make it popular over the whole world. Your work is cut out for you, so get started. When we hear it, a lot of us will decide if it meets the standard of "Country Roads". Until then, I will enjoy the words and intent of "Country Roads"

  • Cindy Ferguson DeVaux

    It is about time...I hear it and cry to be back home to WV. WV born an bred and will die one.

  • Margaret Sidenbender

    THE THOUGHT OF HAVING COUNTRY ROADS AS OUR STATE SONG IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED SOONER THE BEST IDEA EVER I LOVE MY WEST VIRGINIA AND THAT IS WHAT THE SONG IS ALL ABOUT BEST STATE AND BEST SONG EVER

  • Duh

    Greenbrier is not Greenbriar...maybe some don't know their spelling either...

  • David Kennedy

    Having John Denver's song will greatly enhance the tourist industry of our state. It's a song known by millions all over the world and I'm sure the rights for that song did not come cheaply. That should be considered as a very small amount of money to pay for a song that will enrich us for generations.
    We needed a state song that was more up to date... thank you Charleston Legislators...

  • tony

    I agree 100% with Betty.....they don't know their geography...oh well.

  • betty

    West Virginia's I am ashamed of you, Yes it is a great song but How much of the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River are actually in West Virginia? We have wonderful old Allegheny Mountains and rivers like Cheat on top of a mountain, The Greenbriar, The Potomac starts in West Virginia, The New River is known around the world, we have Blackwater Falls, Seneca Rocks, Spruce Knob, too many to even name. The song reflects the hearts of West Virginia's but not the Geography!

  • wv4evah

    Absolutely right

  • Clint

    The water is poisoned and people are dying from pills. West Virginia is more concerned with adopting a state food and a song.

    And people wonder why this state has such a bad reputation...

  • Shadow

    Does it run thru WV or not? If you were in the Military, you would know the phrase: "any penetration is sufficient to constitute the offense".

  • Emil Varney

    I really like the John Denver's version of "Country Roads" but I still prefer " "Oh those West Virginia Hills" as our state's song.

  • Gavin

    The song was written on and about Clopper Road, which runs through Maryland and Virginia, but never crosses into WV but does approach the panhandle at times.

  • West By God Virginian

    Oops! My mistake- Jim!

  • West By God Virginian

    Joe, you need a new topic. You've beat this to death. We've all read your complaint....repeatedly. Woosa! Let it go.

  • Country Roads

    Awesome !! I love it, I sing or am humming Country Roads off and on everyday. This is the best news I have heard to come out of Charleston this year. Thank you Mrs. Denver and all the rest that worked on this issue, love you heart.... Love it at the WVU games...

  • rex foster

    Awesome. We all know that great feeling after WVU wins on Saturdays. I must imagine most of the negative is coming from Herd fans!!!

  • dont-like-it-move

    amazes me that people are gettin all crazy because WV contains only a portion of named things in the song. It's not just about the Shenandoah River or the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's about appalachia, its people, and its beauty. Some people would swallow a camel and gag on a gnat, this decision is bringing those people out of the woodwork.

  • Medman

    Joe, Your negativity like most who want to find fault and keep our state in the bottom quartile is noted. Thanks for the useless thought, sir.

  • 5 toldU1s

    Hey I would hope that the legislators could concentrate on more than one thing at a time and pass a state song while also addressing other more important issues too. The subject matter of the song is close enough for long home runs and hand grenades. Lighten up. But if they keep adding official songs, they might want to consider dropping an old one to even things out. I would suggest dropping "The West Virginia Hills"; I've sung this one with a choir and it was hardly a scintillating experience; it's a rather strident song like a Sousa march, soulless.

  • zero tolerance

    Good to see our tax paid legislature addressing the most difficult of issues facing the citizens of WV. Good job folks!

    Onward and upward!

  • wvu09

    Actually Bill Danoff has stated in several interviews that it is about going home to WV and traveling through the east heading home toward WV.

  • J.R. Skene

    Exactly.

  • wvgirl

    I had the pleasure of singing Country Roads last weekend with one of the greatest country music stars, Brad Paisley and 12,000 other people. You know when he sang the song, he really meant it!!

  • Joe

    This would be even better if the song was about WV rather than w
    estern Virginia:

    The land features mentioned prominently in the song lyrics – the Shenandoah River and the Blue Ridge Mountains – have only marginal associations with the state of West Virginia, and would seem to be more appropriate to describe western Virginia. The river passes through only the very eastern tip of the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia in Jefferson County. Similarly, the vast majority of the Blue Ridge also lies outside the state, only crossing into West Virginia in Jefferson County.

    Of course who ever accused West Virginians of having knowlege of geography.

  • Jim

    My previous comment was rejected. Wow. What was wrong with it.

  • BigEerFull

    +1

  • BONDO

    This song was written about Virginia, not West Virginia.

  • Shadow

    In the late 1970's, I spent a day in London as like all tourists, I took in the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. To my utter surprise, the band played "Country Roads". Not to be taken back, I thoroughly enjoyed the music and I told all my friends with me that the Queen was welcoming me to London. Hard to forget moments like that in your life.

  • Jim

    Oh great a song about the Western part of Virginia is now West Virginia's state song. At least Kathy Mettea's song is actually about WV.