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.