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Aspen edits lyrics on John Denver memorial

Brief by Allen Best

Memorials – January 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you want an authoritative guide to the lyrics and life of the late singer John Denver, who died 10 years ago in a plane crash, don’t go to the park that bears his name in his adopted hometown of Aspen.

The Aspen Times says the lyrics etched into stone obelisks at the riverside park were bowdlerized. The last verse of his signature “Rocky Mountain High” included the line “Friends around the campfire and everybody’s high.” But it’s not on the rock.

Another song, “Poems, Prayers and Promises,” had a line about “my friends and my old lady sit and pass a pipe around.” But not in this park. There, it’s “my friends and my old lady sit and watch the sun go down.”

The creators of the park said they consulted the family for lyrics, but his brother, Ron Deutschendorf, said he wasn’t consulted — and he’s sure John Denver would have been unhappy. “He’d be pissed like I’m pissed. It’s just not right.”

The newspaper says that it tried to contact Denver’s ex-wife, Annie Denver, but was unable to reach her.