John Denver - I Guess He'd Rather Be In Colorado (from The Wildlife Concert) - YouTube

About the song:

John Denver’s “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado”, a folksy gem nestled within his 1971 album, Poems, Prayers & Promises. Denver, a champion of the American landscape, often weaved tales of wide-open spaces and the call of the wild into his music. This particular song, however, takes a slightly different approach.

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“I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado” doesn’t paint a grand vista of mountains or celebrate the freedom of the open road. Instead, it focuses on a yearning for that idyllic escape, all from the perspective of someone stuck in the urban grind.

The song opens with a melancholic resignation – “I guess he’d rather be in Colorado.” This line, repeated throughout the song like a mournful refrain, sets the stage for a character trapped in a world far removed from his desires.

Denver, with his signature gentle touch, paints a vivid picture of this character’s plight. We hear about the longing for a sky “like a pearl after a rain,” a stark contrast to the dull reality that surrounds him. The lyrics evoke a yearning for wide-open spaces, a stark counterpoint to the crowded cityscapes.

The character’s escape manifests in daydreams and quiet moments of rebellion. We see him “walkin'” and “talkin'” to the stars, a fantastical escape from the harsh realities of his daily life. The image of him asking the stars for “bus fare” adds a touch of whimsy and underscores the depth of his longing.

The song isn’t just about the allure of Colorado, a place often romanticized for its natural beauty. It’s about the universal human desire to break free from the monotony of daily life, to find solace in a simpler, more natural existence. Denver, with his masterful storytelling, captures this yearning perfectly.

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“I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado” might not be a foot-stomping anthem, but it resonates deeply. It’s a quiet folk song that speaks volumes about the human spirit’s yearning for escape and the enduring power of wide-open spaces, even when experienced only through the lens of dreams.

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