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

  • 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

    • BH

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

  • 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...

  • 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!

    • 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.

    • 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"

    • tony

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

      • Duh

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

  • 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...

  • 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.

    • Tom

      Yep!

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

  • 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!

  • 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.

    • wv4evah

      Absolutely right

    • 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".

    • 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.

    • J.R. Skene

      Exactly.

  • Jim

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

  • 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.

    • BigEerFull

      +1

    • BONDO

      This song was written about Virginia, not West Virginia.

      • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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

    • 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.

      • West By God Virginian

        Oops! My mistake- Jim!