CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Why is "Country Roads," which is well-known within West Virginia and out, not named one of the state's official songs?
That's what Dreama Denver, who founded the Denver Foundation in Southern West Virginia with her late husband, actor Bob Denver, wants to know. At her urging, Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Raleigh, will introduce a bill this legislative session to add "Country Roads" to the list of state songs.
And, no, she didn't know John Denver. "I never even met him," she said.
Although most state residents recognize the "West Virginia Hills" as the state's song, even Golden Horseshoe winners might not realize the state has two other official songs. In 1963, a resolution also designated "This Is My West Virginia" and "West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home" as state songs.
"You can have more than one state song," Denver said. "'Take Me Home, Country Roads' is sung at many important state events, like Senator Byrd's funeral. It's played pre- and postgame at WVU athletics. Why is it not one of the state's songs?"
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was a recent guest on "Sunny Side Up," a radio show Denver hosts with Charlie Thomas, and told them how he was in Thailand to meet the prime minister, who immediately belted out "Country Roads" when they were introduced.
"I am so hoping we can get people who are in favor of adding 'Country Roads' as a state song will call their legislators and urge them to pass the resolution," said Denver.