Tipped Off by State Song, Colorado Kids Discover Drugs

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The Colorado legislature, engaged in the always-vital government function of choosing a second state song, considers "Rocky Mountain High":

The Colorado General Assembly wants to be quite clear on this point: When the singer-songwriter John Denver praised the joys of Colorado and sang about "friends around the campfire, and everybody's high," in 1972, he was not referring to illicit drugs.

"We could be talking about guys who've been fishing all day, or kids pigging out on s'mores, with the chocolate," Senator Hagedorn said, referring to other endorphin-producing activities. "If I thought there was anything in that song about the use of drugs or encouraging the use of drugs, I would never have run the resolution." 

Is encouraging our obese children to get high on s'mores more acceptable than pushing drugs? Discuss.  

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  1. I liked this song the first three or four thousand times that I heard it back in the 70s. After that, it started to get a bit old.

    Next thing, they’ll be saying that “Puff the Magic Dragon” has allusions to… uh, never mind.

    Tom Accuosti
    The Tao of Masonry

  2. As long as they don’t discover the rest of John Denver’s catalog, that is some destructive shit right there.

  3. John Denver liked to get a bit messed up, and even wrote songs where he talked about passing the pipe. He said Colorado Rocky Mountain High was about being high on the rush of the mountains. I believe him.

  4. Why does John Denver hate Colorado kids?

  5. “Is encouraging our obese children to get high on s’mores more acceptable than pushing drugs? Discuss.”

    That depends. How many calories from s’mores are attributable to transfats?

  6. I will have my revenge for all the marshmallows that have been sacrificed in your “smores.”

    Also, I hate John Denver. That song makes me want to burn forests and kill endangered animals.

  7. High means a rush, not necessarily from drugs. Jeez. Next thing you’ll be telling me that “stoned” can’t refer to being drunk, “gay” doesn’t mean happy, and “faggots” aren’t Ann Coulter’s sexual fetish.

  8. Glad to see that Senator Hagedorn gets paid money out of my pocket to pontificate on stupid bullshit like this.

  9. See, this is what happens when you let Republicans run things and…oh, nevermind.

  10. Two questions:

    1. Why does Colorado need a state song at all, let alone two?

    2. Are there actually kids who take John Denver’s advice on what’s cool seriously?

  11. When the singer-songwriter John Denver praised the joys of Colorado and sang about “friends around the campfire, and everybody’s high,” in 1972, he was not referring to illicit drugs.

    I beg to differ.

  12. “2. Are there actually kids who take John Denver’s advice on what’s cool seriously?”

    I like John Denver. I don’t listen to his music or own any of his albums, but c’mon, he got to hang out with the Muppets and encouraged people to plant trees.

    You don’t hate muppets and trees, do you?

  13. Now I feel better knowing the prisoners, working the fields to replace the undocumented workers, will be very content working in sight of the majestic rocky mountains.

  14. Growing up, I learned to poo-hoo John Denver. I thought all his stuff was saccharine pop. It wasn’t until long after his death that I discovered what a remarkable troubadour he was. As alluded to above, some of his stuff was way overplayed. I can appreciate the craftsmanship, and even the profundity of a song I once ridiculed like ‘Sunshine’, but I don’t want to listen to it again. Fortunately there’s plenty of stuff that didn’t make it to top 40 back in the 70’s. Much of it is about drugs. John understood how to suck the marrow out of life. I wish I had tuned in a lot earlier.

  15. The song refers to a number of things, self-enlightenment, environmentalism, etc.

  16. I can’t hate John Denver. I want to. Really, I do. I can’t listen to him, but I can’t hate him.

  17. If college taught me anything, it’s that a gateway drug like marijuana leads to s’mores abuse.

  18. C’mon. He palled around with Jimmy Carter. He was history’s greatest monster enabler.

  19. “John understood how to suck…”

  20. Warren,
    That’s maturity my friend. Embrace it. I hope to do the same some day

  21. “Are there actually kids who take John Denver’s advice on what’s cool seriously?”

    I would be willing to bet that any kids that are listening to John Denver are probably getting their asses kicked a lot.

  22. I’m always torn when our state legislature turns its attention away from the great issues of the day to debate what the official state song, fossil or muffin should be. On the one hand, the time and resources they waste on such piffle comes out of my pocket. On the other hand, when they are busy sparring over the Official State Soil* they aren’t raising my taxes or prescribing behavior I enjoy. On the gripping hand, there’s no good reason why the state shoud be declaring this or that official.

    Be that as it may, I’m disappointed that the Centennial State didn’t consider this classic:

    Colorado, ?1973 Christopher Guest, Sean Kelly, and Tony Hendra, from The National Lampoon’s stage show, Lemmings. (Banana Music/Coney Island Whitefish Music) As performed by Chevy Chase.

    I’m stuck in this old city now where living ain’t no fun
    Where steel and glass and concrete cancel out the wind and sun
    And I’m thinking of last winter now
    when we walked hand in hand
    In the trails of the Colorado Rockies

    The wind sang us a lullaby, the snow was thick as cream,
    And icicles were chandeliers like crystal in a dream
    And the streams were strips of diamond
    And the hills were white as snow,
    And a bear ate all our soybeans in the night

    Oh, Colorado’s calling me
    From her hillsides and her rivers and her mesas and her trees,
    When blizzards snap the power lines
    And all the toilets freeze
    In December in the Colorado Rockies

    We had time and space and freedom,
    We had love and peace to spare
    Though we ran out of things to smoke and say and eat and wear
    And the morning of the avalanche
    The Yeti kidnapped Blanche
    And took her to his cave up in the Rockies.

    Oh, Colorado’s calling me
    From her glaciers and her canyons and her badlands and ravines,
    And infectious hepatitis
    Was all that came to stay
    In January in the Colorado Rockies

    The baby didn’t die until we’d burned up all our wood
    Considering we ate her raw, she tasted pretty good
    Then the fascist health inspectors
    Dug us out and mailed us home —
    Except for Blanche who wouldn’t leave her mate.

    Oh, Colorado’s calling me
    From her mountains and her rivers and her meadows and her trees
    They tell me I’ll be cured soon
    Thawed and ready to return
    When it’s April in the Colorado Rockies.

    Kevin

    *No, seriously. It’s Antigo Silt Loam (Typic glossoboralf.)

  23. “Why does John Denver hate Colorado kids?”

    isn’t a better question why the ocean hated john denver?

  24. Because the ocean wasn’t deaf?

  25. I think in honor of Denver, all observances of the H&R drinking game made in this thread should be made suing Johnny Denvers.

    Legend has it* that in the wreckage of the crash that took John Denver’s life, a bottle of Jack Daniels was found, 2/3rds empty. Thus a Johnny Denver is Red Bull with Jack Daniels. The Red Bull gives you wings, the JD takes them away.

    Not only was John Denver a good advocate of muppetism and tree planting, but he was a big civil aviation advocate, promoting experimental/homebuilt aircraft and also soaring. Good guy all around. Still don’t like his music – except for Me First and the Gimme Gimmes’ version of “Country Roads”, which is notable that it was written in Maryland, is ostensibly about a valley in Virginia, but the only state named is West Virginia.

    *This legend is wildly inaccurate, by the way.

  26. isn’t a better question why the ocean hated john denver?

    The ocean didn’t hate John Denver half as much as the Laws of Physics did.

  27. The Ocean probably heard Denver sing Calypso.

    Kevin

  28. “Also, I hate John Denver. That song makes me want to burn forests and kill endangered animals.”

    That’s the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. Unfortunately, though, it’s also Loundry’s idea of fun on a Friday night (besides butt-sex).

  29. Next you’ll be telling me that when the Byrds sang ‘Eight Miles High’ they were just talking about the joys of travelling in a jumbo jet.

  30. i was raised on John Denver & similar artists that my mother listened to a lot. i taught myself a lot of guitar listening to his records (actual records). consequently, i’ll always have an affinity for John Denver. The guy was for peace and love and hiking and nature and enjoying life and all that stuff that so many of today’s music is just too cool and jaded to express.

    maybe some of the Reasonites with a strong grasp of economics can back me up – i submit as true that a person who has never seen an eagle fly is indeed a poorer man.

  31. god, i don’t think there are enough drugs in this world to make me sit through even 5 minutes of john denver. especially not enough insulin.

    the world of music owes a great debt to the bird that nailed his airplane. his music should be banned in colorado, not because of the drug references, but because of the mind-numbing commercialism.

  32. I’ve also seen some bizarre footage of John giving a concert to starving Africans. They looked at John with the same resigned hopelessness that the starving Central Americans looked at Sally

  33. They found high levels of Rocky Mountain in John Denver’s blood after he crashed his plane.

  34. Now I feel better knowing the prisoners, working the fields to replace the undocumented workers, will be very content working in sight of the majestic rocky mountains.

    Look how content and peaceful their proximity to the majestic rocky mountains make the kids in South Park!!

  35. “I can’t hate John Denver. I want to. Really, I do. I can’t listen to him, but I can’t hate him.”

    Yes. You read my mind. I will never namedrop the guy, but I end up shrugging my shoulders after I’ve shaken his bespectacled image out of my head and acknowedging how carefully he crafted some of his songs every time his name comes up for any reason.

    I also heard some pretty inspiring versions of his songs in Czech pubs when I lived in Prague and its environs a few years back, especially that “mountain mama” song. All of these guys who would sit around and strum that tune sincerely thought that it was a homegrown Czech folk classic written about the Tatras. He’s that universally respected.

  36. Sunshine… on my shoulder… makes me happy… AUGH IT’S NOT SUNSHINE IT’S AN ENGINE FIRE!!!!

    That said, I live in Colorado Springs and lived close enough to the Broadmoor to just go there and hang out when I was in my early 20’s.

    Every now and again, John Denver would show up in one of the piano bars upstairs and sing for the guests (for booze, I reckon). I had the pleasure of hearing one of those impromptu concerts through a locked door.

    He’s one of those guys that if he comes on in the car when friends are there, you change the station, but when you’re alone you turn it up and sing along.

    We need more such artists.

  37. pigging out on s’mores, with the chocolate

    Are there s’mores without “the chocolate”? Never trust that a man who puts an article where it doesn’t belong has any idea what he’s talking about.

  38. “You don’t hate muppets and trees, do you?”

    *Ding*

    *Ding*

    Add puppies in there so I can make it three in a row.

  39. I’ve heard that he really sang about nut sacks. Like, for example, he originally sang, “Sunshine on my nut sack makes me happy.” The Man came along and made him change his lyrics to be more acceptable.

  40. Next you’ll be telling me that when the Byrds sang ‘Eight Miles High’ they were just talking about the joys of travelling in a jumbo jet.

    Since the Boeing 747, the original jumbo jet, was first flown commercially in 1970, and the Byrds released “Eight Miles High” in 1966, they probably weren’t talking about a jumbo jet

  41. The Man came along and made him change his lyrics to be more acceptable.

    No, no – it was Ed Sullivan who made him change the lyrics and wouldn’t allow the camera to show him below the waist.

  42. ’cause Eight Miles High makes so much sense in the context of drugs. I mean, who doesn’t refer to their state of wasteness in terms of linear measurement?

  43. New Alaskan anthem: “One Toke Over the Line,” said line referring to the northern border of the Lower 48, toke being a tip conferred on the card-dealer during the long wintry nights of blah blah blah

  44. de stijl: I think you’re missing an enabler in there. Denver may have been a monster enabler enabler, but it was Carter who was the monster enabler.

    And I think Chancellor Hindenburg was a bigger monster enabler, for both Ludendorff and *Godwin* Hitler.

  45. jb,

    Hindenburg was of course something of a monster enabler, and he was a lot of other things too — field marshal for instance, and Reichspraesident, but he for sure was never Chancellor. Not a single day.

  46. I reached for the throttle,
    Instead I grabbed the bottle, …
    Oh god I’m an ocean buoy!

  47. McGuinn and McGuire, couldn’t get no higher, but that’s what they were aimin’ at….

    Morrison gets permanently banned from The Really Big Shew for singing girl we couldn’t get much higher after promising not to.

    But John Denver wasn’t talking about dope he was talking about being high in the Rocky Mountains, like 10,000 feet.

    No? He was singing about fishing and s’mores?

    Just when you didn’t think it could get any more lame, it does.

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