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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.