State Songs

"Where the Columbines Grow" by A.J. Fynn, 1915

Where the Columbines Grow" was adopted as the official state song on May 8, 1915, by an act of the General Assembly. The words were written and the music composed by A.J. Fynn.  Traveling by horse and wagon to visit Indian tribes in the San Luis Valley in 1896,  Fynn received inspiration to write the song after he came across a beautiful Colorado mountain meadow which was covered with columbines. He dedicated the song to the Colorado pioneers.

Verse One

Where the snowy peaks gleam in the moonlight, Above the dark forests of pine, And the wild foaming waters dash onward, Toward lands where the tropic stars shine; Where the scream of the bold mountain eagle Responds to the notes of the dove Is the purple robed West, the land that is best, The pioneer land that we love.

Chorus

Tis the land where the columbines grow, Overlooking the plains far below, While the cool summer breeze in the evergreen trees Softly sings where the columbines grow.

Verse Two

The bison is gone from the upland, The deer from the canyon has fled, The home of the wolf is deserted, The antelope moans for his dead, The war whoop re-echoes no longer, The Indian's only a name, And the nymphs of the grove in their loneliness rove, But the columbine blooms just the same.

Verse Three

Let the violet brighten the brookside, In sunlight of earlier spring, Let the fair clover bedeck the green meadow, In days when the orioles sing, Let the golden rod herald the autumn, But, under the midsummer sky, In its fair Western home, may the columbine bloom Till our great mountain rivers run dry.

Sheet music may be ordered through retail sheet music stores. It is not available from the State of Colorado.

Citation: Senate Bill 308, 1915; Colorado Revised Statute 24-80-909.


"Rocky Mountain High" by John Denver (lyrics) and Mike Taylor (music) 1973

"Rocky Mountain High" was adopted as another State Song with the passage of SJR07-023 on March 12, 2007. After the song's release in 1973 there was some controversy as some people thought that it encouraged drug use. Denver, in 1985, responded by saying that these people had obviously never experienced the beauty and wonder of the Rocky Mountains. Denver's real name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. but his stage name came from the capital city of Colorado.

Verse One

He was born in the summer of his 27th year, coming home to a place he'd never been before. He left yesterday behind him you might say he was born again, might say he found a key for every door. When he first came to the mountains His life was far away on the road and hanging by a song. But the string's already broken and he doesn't really care, it keeps changin' fast, and it don't last for long.

Chorus

It's a Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it raining fire in the sky The shadows from the starlight are softer than a lullabye. Rocky Mountain High, ...in Colorado.... Rocky Mountain High.

Verse Two

He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below, saw everything as far as you can see. And they say that he got crazy once and that he tried to touch the sun, and he lost a friend, but kept the memory. Now he walks in quiet solitude, the forest and the stream, seeking grace in every step he takes, his sight is turned inside himself, to try and understand, the serenity of a clear blue mountain lake.

Chorus

And the Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it raining fire in the sky. You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply. Rocky Mountain High, ....in Colorado.... Rocky Mountain High.

Verse Three

Now his life is full of wonder, but his heart still knows some fear, of the simple things he can not comprehend. Why they try to tear the mountains down to bring in a couple more. More people, more scars upon the land.

Chorus

It's the Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it raining fire in the sky. I know he'd be a poorer man if he never saw an Eagle fly. Rocky mountain high It's the Colorado Rocky Mountain High, I've seen it raining fire in the sky. Friends around the camp fire and everybody's high.... Rocky Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High, Rocky Mountain High.