Like the air and water from the Rocky Mountains, John Denver’s literal speaking voice is fresh and crisp.

And American Songwriter is sharing some exclusive clips and clippings from the Hall of Fame artist below.

Here, in the exclusive audio excerpt, Denver talks about the inspiration for his hit song, “Rocky Mountain High,” and, later, the legendary artist reads an excerpt from his 1994 autobiography, Take Me Home

The unreleased audio describing the inspiration for the song is from a 1974 pre-recorded radio show, which has not been available since. And the additional audio is from the audiobook for John’s 1994 autobiography.

The new offerings from Denver come as his estate is celebrating the 50th-anniversary reissue of his beloved album, Rocky Mountain High, which fans can order along with exclusive merchandise HERE.

Earlier this month, Denver’s estate commemorated the anniversary with a special performance with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, featuring audio and video of Denver himself and backed by members of his former band, who shared stories about John throughout the evening. 

Originally released on September 15, 1972, Rocky Mountain High was Denver’s first Top 10 album and is officially recognized as the second state song of Colorado, as of 2007. It was written while Denver was camping in the Rocky Mountains during the Perseid Meteor Shower, expressing his love and wonder for his adopted state. 

Colorado Governor Jared Polis recently confirmed the renaming of Mountain Lion Trail in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which will now be called the Rocky Mountain High Trail.

“Here in Colorado, we’ve always known that our majestic mountains, our bright blue skies, our starlit nights, and our forest and streams were the stuff of legends—but John Denver made them the stuff of song lyrics, too,” says Polis. “And not just any lyrics, but world-famous lyrics that span genres and generations.”

In the early ’70s, Denver was one of the first artists to share an environmental message through his music, contributing to a number of charitable and environmental causes. 

Denver, a two-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter and Poet Laureate of Colorado released 23 studio albums in his lifetime. He is best known for the beloved songs “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song” and “Rocky Mountain High.”

Check out the exclusive material below, including exclusive pages from Denver’s notes. See what Denver’s handwriting looked like and how he composed his thoughts and lyrics and their inspirations.


Side One

1. Rocky Mountain High

2. Mother Nature’s Son 

3. Paradise 

4. For Baby (For Bobbie)

5. Darcy Farrow

6. Prisoners

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

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