STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Back in 1972, a songwriter wrote a kind of love letter that began this way.
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG "ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH")
JOHN DENVER: (Singing) He was born in the summer of his 27th year. Comin' home to a place he'd never been before. He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again.
INSKEEP: John Denver was singing of his love for Colorado. And yesterday, Colorado returned the gesture. The state legislature made his tune, "Rocky Mountain High" an official state song.
DENVER: (Singing) Colorado rocky mountain high. I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky. The shadow from the starlight is softer...
INSKEEP: The honor for John Denver comes nearly 10 years after he died in a plane crash.
KAREN LARSON: It is totally high time and I use the word high. Yeah.
JP MCDANIEL: Yeah. And this is a natural high.
INSKEEP: Karen Larson and JP McDaniel are longtime fans and friends of the late performer.
LARSON: And if he were here right now, I know he would be so thrilled and so - far out.
MCDANIEL: Far out.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
INSKEEP: By the way, another John Denver song, "Take Me Home, Country Roads" is one of West Virginia's two state songs. Denver described that state as almost heaven, but a Colorado lawmaker boasted yesterday that Denver chose to live in Colorado.
DENVER: (Singing) Rocky mountain high, Colorado. Rocky Mountain High.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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