‘John Denver’s Rocky Mountain High’ 1974 Concert Special To Air on PBS

by Suzanne Halliburton
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Paul Natkin/Getty Images

John Denver was a fantastic artist, whether you thought he sang country music, pop or folk. He used lyrics and an acoustic guitar to vividly paint Mother’s Nature beauty, bringing the environment to everyone’s stereo or car radio.

We all still stop and sing along whenever “Rocky Mountain High” pops on classic radio. It’s one of the tunes that defines 1970s music. Now, the Denver estate and Sony Legacy are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the song’s release by digitizing John Denver Rocky Mountain High. Plus, PBS is rebroadcasting a concert from 1974, setting it for a spring 2023 premiere. Denver won an Emmy Award back in 1974 for a special concert called An Evening with John Denver.

The “Rocky Mountain High” album was Denver’s first to hit the top 10. The album cover featured Denver standing near Slaughterhouse Falls in Aspen, Colorado. And in 2022, you can buy a limited edition blue vinyl reissue of the album by clicking here. Did you know that in 2007, “Rocky Mountain High” became the state song of Colorado.

Here’s the track list from the John Denver album

SIDE ONE

1. Rocky Mountain High

2. Mother Nature’s Son 

3. Paradise 

4. For Baby (For Bobbie)

5. Darcy Farrow

6. Prisoners

John Denver with wife Ann Martell and the family dog.(JOHN CROFT/Star Tribune via Getty Images)

SIDE TWO

1. Goodbye Again

2. Season Suite: Summer

3. Season Suite: Fall

4. Season Suite: Winter

5. Season Suite: Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico)

6. Season Suite: Spring 

How’s this for a classic photo. John Denver accepted his award for Album of the Year from the CMA in 1976. Donna Fargo and Conway Twitty, appeared on stage with him. (American Broadcasting Companies via Getty Images)

John Denver died 25 years ago when his home-built air craft crashed into Monterey Bay off the coast of California. He was only 53. So he never knew that one of his songs about his beloved Colorado became something so state official.

His music spanned multiple genres. In 1974, John Denver won an ACM Award for album of the year for “Back Home Again.” The album included “Annie’s Song” and “Back Home Again,” plus the studio version of “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.” The next year, Denver earned the CMA for Entertainer of the Year in the same ceremony in which Waylon Jennings won best male vocalist of the year and Dolly Parton took home the female vocalist trophy.

The year before he died, Denver was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Then months later, John Denver won his only Grammy Award. It was for a children’s album. We’ll let you know when PBS sets an air date. Now go to a quiet place, where you belong, and belt out “Country Roads.”

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