Who Is Joe Walsh?

If you’ve ever listened to “Hotel California” and marveled at the incredible guitar solos, you have heard the genius of Joe Walsh and Don Felder improvising together on the iconic 1976 recording. But while Walsh’s time with the Eagles was his longest stint with any one band, his musical career started much earlier.

Joseph Fidler Walsh was born November 20, 1947, in Wichita, Kansas. His mother was a classical pianist who filled their home with music. After his father died in a plane crash, Walsh kept his memory alive by taking his father’s name as his middle name.

Joe Walsh Band Beginnings

Walsh’s family moved around frequently when he was young, landing in such places as Chicago, New York City and Montclair, New Jersey, where he played oboe in high school. Finally ending up in Ohio in his late teens, he attended Kent State University for a short time. He was there at the time of the Kent State Massacre; that and other events prompted him to leave college and focus on music. Walsh soon joined a garage band called The Measles, singing such tunes as “And It’s True” and “I Find I Think of You” as the lead vocalist.

Early in 1968, Walsh auditioned for and got a gig with a four-piece Ohio rock band named James Gang. At a show in Detroit at the Grande Ballroom opening for Eric Clapton’s Cream, the other James Gang guitar player missed the gig.The  three-piece James Gang took the stage and impressed Mark Barger, a local artist manager who connected the band with ABC Records staff producer Bill Szymczyk. That started a long collaboration between Walsh and Szymczyk, who worked with Walsh on James Gang’s hits “Walk Away” and “Funk #49. Shortly after the release of James Gang Live at Carnegie Hall, though, Walsh left the band and headed to Colorado.

Joe Walsh in Colorado

In 1971, Walsh moved to an old mining town in Colorado. He helped organize a new studio near Nederland, and made a deal to record there for almost nothing (it later became the iconic Caribou Ranch Studio). Using revolutionary guitar sounds and recording techniques, including running his guitar through a Leslie organ speaker, Walsh joined with legendary drummer and multi-instrumentalist Joe Vitale and bassist Kenny Passarelli to form Barnstorm. Their 1973 second album under the name Joe Walsh and Barnstorm was titled The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get; it contained the song “Rocky Mountain Way,” which reached #23 on the US Top 40 chart. (Szymczyk worked on that, too.) Some of the other hits recorded and released by Barnstorm include “Mother Says” and “Here We Go.” At Caribou Studios, Walsh also produced Dan Fogelberg’s Souvenirs album, bringing in Graham Nash to sing harmony vocals on “Part of the Plan,” which reached #17 on the 1975 Billboard album chart.

Walsh and his wife, Stefany, had a daughter, Emma, in 1971. When she was three years old, Emma was injured in a car wreck as they were taking her to nursery school, and she eventually passed away from her injuries. The tragedy prompted Walsh to write “Song for Emma,” which he included on his So What album. The title for that album reflected Walsh’s depression over the loss of his daughter. A memorial plaque honoring Emma sits next to a water fountain in North Boulder Park in Boulder, Colorado.

Joe Walsh Leaving Colorado

After his years in Colorado, Walsh joined the Eagles when founding member Bernie Leadon left the band in 1975. During his many years with the Eagles, he recorded such hits as “Hotel California,” “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “Life in the Fast Lane,” built off of a Walsh guitar riff. Walsh toured with the band until its first breakup in 1980, then rejoined the Eagles in 1994 when the band returned for the “Long Run” era.

Though the Eagles were a huge success, Walsh also produced solo albums during this time. In 1978, his solo Life’s Been Good reached #12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Other hits during his solo career included “All Night Long,” “Ordinary Average Guy” and “A Life of Illusion.” Along the way, Walsh made many guest appearances. He appeared on Sonic Highways, the Foo Fighters’ eighth album, and also played a Colorado-inspired “Rocky Mountain Way” on The Voice with Laith Al-Saadi in 2016.

In 1998, the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2011, Rolling Stone named Joe Walsh one of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” recognizing his incredible music career.

Learn More

To learn more about Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” and to find out when he’ll be in Colorado next, check the Colorado Music Hall of Fame calendar.



Inducted: December 3, 2018


What began as a modest, 250-watt signal booming out of the little town of Boulder (with a population of under 70,000 at the time) had, 42 years later, turned into the nationally known 97.3 KBCO World Class Rock. In the process, KBCO set the standards and benchmarks that every Adult Rock station strives for: creativity balanced with radio fundamentals and commitment to the local community that led to long-term success. And KBCO was also the founding station of the Adult Album Alternative (or Triple A) format that to this day holds its annual convention in Boulder.


Back in the ‘60s, a radio fan named Bob Greenlee graduated from Iowa State with a dream to own a radio station. His search led him to Boulder where, in 1975, Bob and his wife, Diane, bought KADE-AM. But Bob knew that FM radio was where he really needed to be, and by the end of 1976, the Greenlees had purchased a 1000-watt FM station, KRNW, that had a loyal following in the progressive college community. The signal also happened to come with a Class C license, allowing an upgrade to 100,000-watts.

The original vision was to create a music station that reflected the unique population of Boulder, and the call letters were changed to KBCO for Boulder Colorado. On the air, it was dubbed “Boulder Radio” with a mix of soft, acoustic “Colorado Music.”

By the mid-1980s, KBCO was so successful that the station constructed an antenna that could reach the entire Front Range. The programming vision changed with the expanded audience, as KBCO could now embrace the entire Denver market and beyond, expanding the original acoustic music playlist while keeping the unique Boulder image. And it worked: By the winter of 1988, KBCO was the #1 rated station in the Denver radio market.

KBCO always embraced the fun Colorado lifestyle. Boulder was and is a bicycle town, and in 1980 KBCO launched the Kinetic Sculpture Challenge: a competition of human-powered amphibious crafts made from bicycle parts and whatever else was available. The teams raced through mud, down dirt roads and over water at the Boulder Reservoir. For the winter, KBCO created the Cardboard Derby. Contestants created their crafts out of cardboard boxes and raced them down the slopes at local ski resorts. At the same time, the “I Ski with KBCO” program offered discount ski weekends, bringing hundreds of KBCO listeners together to do what Coloradans love most in winter…skiing and riding. And KBCO has hosted hundreds of live concert events, from its years presenting the 4th of July fireworks at Folsom Stadium to special performances at small clubs to hundreds of shows at Red Rocks and such venues as the Pepsi Center and Fiddler’s Green.

Over the past thirty years, the top names in music have performed live on-air in KBCO’s Studio C. Dave Matthews, Sting, Stevie Nicks, Robert Plant, Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran and hundreds more have recorded unique and often cutting-edge performances at the station. Studio C is a regular stop for up-and-coming artists, who play there for their fans and the exposure … and the opportunity to be included on the annual CD that the station releases each December.

The idea for the Studio C performances came when Melissa Ethridge brought her acoustic guitar into the station so that it would not be exposed to the elements. She did an impromptu on-air performance in one of the station’s small editing studios called, “Studio C.” It’s now developed into one of the best live recording and broadcast studios in the country.

Before streaming – when CDs were the way we bought music – 30,000 copies of the popular KBCO Studio C Series would sell out in 4 hours. And in December 2018 KBCO Studio C celebrated their 30th Anniversary with a special 2 CD set that contained some of the best music ever preformed live on the radio. The KBCO Studio C CDs have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Boulder County AIDS Project and the Food Bank of the Rockies.

KBCO’s dedication to Colorado music and musicians comes to life in there ‘Local Edition’ program airing weekly for more than 30 years – giving a voice to the local music community. In 2004, the KBCO Local Edition CD featured local artists recorded live in KBCO Studio C to benefit Music Education in the Denver Public Schools. And in keeping with the times, a vinyl album version of local Colorado musicians recorded live at KBCO supported the Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s move to Red Rocks. Through the years KBCO has showcased local artists right alongside the national acts released on the Studio C CD series.


Radio has changed. In 1977 there was no internet, streaming, cell phones or ear-buds. Today radio is taking on new, exciting roles in the digital world and in our community. Now, radio is only one of many outlets for music fans to find out about new artists. The business of radio has changed in the past 40 years as well. When Bob and Diane Greenlee bought KBCO they were only allowed, by law, to own two stations in any given marketplace. Today companies can own up to eight stations per market in many different markets.

KBCO navigated the waters of corporate buyouts and management changes to keep KBCO relevant and supportive of the local community. KBCO keeps us informed, laughing through the traffic and giving us access to the best new songs mixed with a wide variety of music spanning many decades. The station remains the essential outlet for any artist who wants to build a fan-base of loyal music fans, concertgoers and supporters of the band.

The Triple A format has morphed into a collection of mostly noncommercial radio stations across the country. But with the incredible heritage, loyalty and dedication of the KBCO staff of the past four decades; the loyalty and unbridled enthusiasm of the Colorado music fans who feel a personal connection to DJs like Ginger, Keefer, Bret, Scott and all the on-air staff; KBCO remains by far the most successful station of them all. For over 40 years KBCO has provided the music of several generations – the music of our lives. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental is proud to induct 97.3 KBCO for their incredible contribution to Colorado Music.

KBCO set the standards and benchmarks for which every Adult Rock station now strives.

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Chuck Morris

Inducted: December 3, 2018

Chuck Morris

A pioneering concert promoter and prolific artist manager, Chuck Morris stands as a pillar or Colorado’s music scene.

Born in Brooklyn, Chuck Morris found his passion for music ignited by a Kingston Trio concert at New York’s Lake Chautauqua in 1957. Morris launched his fifty-year career in concert promotion and artist management when he dropped out of a University of Colorado Ph.D. program in 1968 to manage The Sink, an iconic college hangout on Boulder’s University Hill, for friend and owner Herbie Kauvar. Morris started to book local bands — Flash Cadillac, Tommy Bolin, Magic Music — and the rest is history! In 1970, Morris and Kauvar acquired Tulagi, another Boulder venue that had built a national reputation. Morris booked a blend of up-and-comers, including the Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, ZZ Top and Bonnie Raitt, plus a mix of blues, folk and country legends like Muddy Waters, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs and Leo Kottke.

Gov and Chuck copy

Morris moved beyond Boulder in the early 1970s when he began a long partnership with powerhouse Denver concert promoter Barry Fey.

Morris, Fey and Fey’s wife, Cindy, launched Ebbets Field, an intimate club named after the fabled Brooklyn Dodgers stadium. Though Ebbets lasted just a few years, it was regularly filled beyond capacity as Morris snagged then-burgeoning music superstars like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Little Feat and Herbie Hancock, plus rising comedians like Richard Pryor and Steve Martin. Morris joined Feyline Presents as Senior VP of booking and promotion and helped facilitate the rise of that juggernaut concert company into one of the biggest in the country, as well as helped turn Red Rocks Amphitheatre into the most popular outdoor venue in the country. In the 1980s, Morris and Fey collaborated on the Rainbow Music Hall, a 1,458-seat space that allowed Morris to lure bigger bands and established performers like AC/DC, Bob Dylan and Metallica, plus new artists U2, Blondie and Pat Benatar.

As the Front Range music scene grew, Morris turned his talents to artist management. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, Leftover Salmon and Lyle Lovett are among those who benefited from his guidance. In the late 1980s, Morris began a long and fruitful friendship with entrepreneur Philip Anschutz when Anschutz approached Morris about having The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band perform at the opening of Anschutz’s Western art collection exhibition in what was then the Soviet Union.

Ready to strike out on his own, Morris left Feyline Presents (while remaining a consultant for several years) and allied his promotion expertise with the company founded by the legendary Bill Graham. In the late 1990s, they purchased and redeveloped Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium, which shares its name with the storied San Francisco venue that Graham helped make famous. Bill Graham Presents/Chuck Morris Presents was eventually acquired by SFX Entertainment and ultimately became Live Nation, which Morris continued to run.

In 2007 Morris joined Anschutz’s AEG as President-CEO of AEG Presents Rocky Mountains, the largest concert promotion entity in the region. Morris led the renovation of Fiddler’s Green, an outdoor 17,000-seat amphitheatre in south Denver; the creation of 1stBank Center, a 6,500-seat facility in Broomfield; and the development of The Mission Ballroom, a 60,000-square-foot space in Denver’s hip RiNo Arts District scheduled to open in 2019.

Outside of his music-industry interests, Morris has been recognized for his philanthropic work. He is a longtime supporter of the Denver Health Foundation, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Denver Dumb Friends League, American Transplant Foundation and University of Colorado Foundation, among many more organizations.

The Colorado Music Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental was proud to induct Chuck Morris into the Hall on December 3, 2018.

A pioneering concert promoter and prolific artist manager, Chuck Morris stands as a pillar of Colorado’s music scene.

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Chuck Morris & KBCO

Colorado has a rich musical history. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the contributions of legendary music promoter Chuck Morris, and 97.3 KBCO that got its start in Boulder, Colorado. Morris and 97.3 are set to be inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental this December 3rd at the Paramount Theater. Read on to learn more about these two titans of the Colorado music scene and get tickets to be part of this historic community event.

Chuck Morris

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Chuck Morris established himself as a Colorado music industry institution. After leaving the Ph.D. program in political science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Morris was offered a job managing The Sink, a restaurant and bar on the Hill where he brought in acts as varied as Tommy Bolin and Flash Cadillac. With partner Herb Kauvar, they bought and re-opened Tulagi nightclub. At Tulagi, Morris brought Boulder the first real concert hall experience, bringing in Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt, and The Doobie Brothers on their very first tours.

In 1974, he brought his prolific ear for music to Denver where he booked early tours of Richard Pryor, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Martin, and Carole King at Ebbets Field Nightclub with his financial partner Barry Fey. Morris recently told The Daily Camera, “I thought I would be doing this music thing for six months and then go back to graduate school. That was 50 years ago.”

Since then, Morris has continued to drive the Colorado music community as a world-class promoter and an artist manager, and most recently in a bid to bring a 4,000-seat theater to downtown Denver called the Mission Ballroom opening in 2019.


97.3 first went on the airwaves in 1977 and established itself in the Boulder community as the premier station for playing both well-known artist’s deep album cuts and discovering young unknown artists. At the time, there were no stations that gave airtime to indie bands and performers, and KBCO found a massive audience hungry for new, upcoming bands and performers. The strength of KBCO’s increased transmission power brought the station to the entire Front Range and that combined with their deep community involvement, from Kinetics to the Studio C sessions released on CD. This supported The Boulder Valley Aids Project and Food Bank of The Rockies with millions of dollars in fundraising that led to 97.3 KBCO becoming not just world-class rock, but a Colorado music icon that is as vibrant today as it was when it started in the 1970s. From their featuring of local artists on “Local Edition” to their hosting of the national Triple A Radio Convention and its long history of environmental activism, 97.3 KBCO is more than just radio; it is the music of our lives.

Be a Part of Colorado History

The inductees will be honored on December 3rd at the Paramount Theater. More than seven musical acts will pay tribute including The Lumineers, Leo Kottke, Isaac Slade of the Fray, Amos Lee, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, members of Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, and surprise guests – plus

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper leading a “roast” of Morris this is a not-to-be-missed event. To attend this fun event and honor some of the most prolific members of the Colorado music scene, grab tickets here. If you’re interested in learning more about Colorado’s musical history, visit the Colorado Music Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental and check out our exhibits that range from 20th Century Pioneers to John Denver.


Jazz Masters & Beyond

Inducted: November 28, 2017

Jazz Masters & Beyond

On November 28, 2017, at the Historic Paramount Theater, the Colorado Music Hall of Fame presented by Comfort Dental hosted a concert and induction ceremony for Colorado’s Jazz Masters – bassist Charles Burrell, guitarist Bill Frisell, cornet player Ron Miles, singer Dianne Reeves, and Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk from Earth, Wind & Fire. East High School also received the first-ever Barry Fey Visionary Award.


One thing that all of these Jazz Masters share in common is that they are all gifted and experienced performers in almost every genre, and it is their grounding in jazz that has made them truly exceptional.


The concert at the induction ceremony demonstrated how their mastery of jazz influences all of the styles that they play, from classical music to rock and roll. The induction concert proved that point in spectacular fashion.

Colorado has an incredible wealth of actors, artists, and musicians to call our own, and it’s astounding to see how many of them came out of East High School.

Many of our Jazz Masters inductees attended East High. Philip Bailey, Larry Dunn, and Andrew Woolfolk of Earth, Wind & Fire all went to East High School, and so did Bill Frisell and Ron Miles, as well as prior inductees Judy Collins and Paul Whiteman.
While Philip Bailey was singing in the Youth Choir with future actress Pam Grier, future guitar great Bill Frisell was playing clarinet in the school band. A few years later, Ron Miles was playing trumpet in the East High Jazz Band with actor Don Cheadle on saxophone.

A long list of renowned East High alumni spanning many generations have all benefited from the remarkable music programs there.

The East High School Music Program is the very first recipient of the Barry Fey Visionary award presented to the school for making great music possible in Colorado. Jazz teacher Keith Oxman and choir program director Wil Taylor accepted the award.


Jazz is alive and thriving well here in Colorado, and these artists are used to performing around the world, influencing genres from pop to rock and much more.

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Judy Collins

Inducted: November 8, 2013

Judy Collins

Judy Collins claims Colorado as her home state, as her family moved from Seattle to Denver in 1949, when she was 10. Her father was a singer, composer and broadcasting personality, and she appeared as a youngster on his KOA radio program, Chuck Collins Calling. Shortly after arriving in Colorado, Collins began the study of classical piano with Dr. Antonia Brico, a conductor and pianist who devoted her life to fighting prejudice against women in the orchestral world, and she debuted with the Denver Businessmen’s Orchestra when she was just a teenager.

By the time she was a Denver East High School student, Collins had traded the classical piano for a second-hand guitar, a gift from her father.

Turning to folk music, she combined her dad’s love of popular Irish tunes with the influence of Lingo the Drifter, an enigmatic Lookout Mountain resident who taught her the songs of Woody Guthrie and Josh White. At 20, the new mother and wife won an audition for a job at Michael’s Pub in Boulder, earning $100 a week plus pizza and 3.2 beer. She launched her singing career performing at the Satire Lounge and the Green Spider and various mountain bistros such as the Gilded Garter in Central City and the Limelite in Aspen. The Exodus was Denver’s focal point for local beats, artists, poets, and a sprinkling of button-down college kids; Collins and folk singer Walt Conley were asked to be opening acts, and they were featured on the Folk Song Festival at Exodus LP.


At last count, she had recorded three dozen albums,

produced a documentary with director Jill Godmillow about Dr. Brico’s life entitled Antonia: A Portrait of the Woman (which earned an Academy Award nomination), written several autobiographical books and a novel, and received numerous humanitarian awards for her work with UNICEF and alcohol abuse and suicide prevention programs. She continues to record and perform music worldwide.

Collins had gained her social conscience and the special gift of turning folk songs into art songs.

Her crisp, clear soprano voice electrified audiences, carrying her to New York’s Greenwich Village and onto international fame. Her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow, was released in 1961 several months prior to Bob Dylan’s debut record. Collins stayed mainly with readings of traditional material on her early recordings, but she transitioned to singing the music of her contemporaries, bringing a wider audience to Joni Mitchell (“Both Sides Now” was Collins’ first commercial hit in 1967), Leonard Cohen and Randy Newman. She also became the foremost American interpreter of the French composer Jacques Brel and began to write her own songs. At the close of the 1960s, Collins scored another hit single with Ian Tyson’s “Someday Soon,” singing about a cowboy from Colorado, and Stephen Stills wrote the Crosby, Stills & Nash classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” about her. Collins enjoyed more commercial success with the 1975 Grammy-award winner “Send in the Clowns” from the Broadway play A Little Night Music and an a cappella cover of “Amazing Grace.”


Simply linking the prolific
Collins to the folk music
tradition would be too limited
a platform for her talent.

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Red Rocks Amphitheater

Inducted: April 21, 2011

Red Rocks

Nature’s prehistoric upthrust of the Red Rocks area began some 70 to 40 million years ago with a geological event called the Laramide orogeny.


Of the numerous formations, sharp-angled Creation Rock is the giant that attracts the most attention, towering 500 feet from its base. To the left, forming what boosters used to call “the Gateway of Heaven and Earth,” is Ship Rock, which at night looks like a gigantic ocean liner.

In 1911, opera star Mary Garden became the first nationally renowned musical act to give a concert at Red Rocks, then christened Garden of the Titans. Before long, Red Rocks came to be considered one of the Natural Wonders of the World, with numerous opera companies and orchestras taking advantage of the site’s unique combination of natural aesthetics and acoustics. By the 1950s, solo artists began to appear regularly.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre as we know it was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) youths, with an assist from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which built roads and parking lots. The CCC was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pet project in pushing anti-Depression New Deal legislation. The workers dynamited, dug, embedded structural steel, and then reshaped stone and tiers of concrete seats over it.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre is heralded as America’s most important outdoor music venue, and every star in the musical galaxy has aspired to play on this special and magical stage. Among the highlights is the legendary Beatles show in 1964, Bruce Springsteen’s first-ever outdoor concert in 1978, and U2’s career-making 1983 video shoot.


Red Rocks Amphitheatre is heralded as America’s most important outdoor music venue, and every star in the musical galaxy has aspired to play on this special and magical stage.

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Joe Walsh & Barnstorm

Inducted: ??

Joe Walsh & Barnstorm


Best know for what he called the. “National Anthem of Colorado” Joe Walsh came out of Cleveland and the success of his band The James Gang

with hits like “Funk #49” to Boulder, Colorado largely due to his friendship with Bill Szymczyk (the producer of many of the James Gang hits and later of the Eagles and J. Geils Band.

After moving into the mountains and living what he would call a “rustic lifestyle” Walsh formed Barnstorm in 1972 with Joe Vitale from Ohio who had played in the legendary Amboy Dukes (Ted Nugent’s band), and bassist Kenny Passarelli from southern Colorado. Their first “self titled” album, produced by Szymczyk, was the first album to come out of Jim Guercio’s new studio at Caribou Ranch. The “barn” was still not in full operation but Wash, Passarelli and Vitale had the freedom to create an entirely new sound that incorporated both the hard rock and the inventiveness of all three. Taking that sound on the road required more than the trio so they added Rocke Grace and Tom Stephenson (among others) for their touring dates.

It was their next album, “The Smoker You Drink The Player You Get, also recorded at Caribou with Bill Szymczyk serving as producer that gave the band their first hit (Top 10)and it sold over a million copies. The song “Meadows” charted but it was Wash’s anthem “Rocky Mountain Way,” (co-written by Passarelli) that would become not only an international hit but also an iconic homage to Joe’s love for the State and a song that rivaled John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” for best Colorado song ever written. As Walsh said in an interview with G Brown, “It’s the attitude and the statement. It’s a positive song, and it’s basic rock ‘n’ roll, which is what I really do well.”

In 1974, after the death of his young daughter in a car accident, Walsh continued in Colorado for a time, producing and recording with Dan Fogelberg, and in LA with various artists. Barnstorm officially broke up in 1975 and Walsh would go on to work with some of the most respected and talented artists in the business eventually joining the Eagles and working on the seminal “Hotel California” including co-writing credits on “Life In the Fast Lane.” Keny Passarelli is probably best known for his work with Elton John, Dan Fogelberg, and Hall & Oates and Joe Vitale continues to play with acts as diverse as Crosby, Stills & Nash and Peter Frampton.


Joe Walsh and Barnstorm created one of Colorado’s most iconic tribute songs and even though the trio’s tenure was relatively short, their impact and inventiveness propelled all three of their careers to heights that rivaled the peaks where the songs were recorded.

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Dan Fogelberg

Inducted: April 16, 2016

Dan Fogelberg

Dan Fogelberg was the youngest of three sons born to Lawrence and Margaret Fogelberg in Peoria, Illinois, Dan’s mother was a Scottish immigrant and a music educator, and his father a band instructor with family roots in Sweden. His father’s career would later be the inspiration for the song “Leader of the Band”.


The Innocent Age, released in October 1981, was Fogelberg’s critical and commercial peak.

The double album included four of his biggest hits: “Same Old Lang Syne”, “Hard to Say”, “Leader of the Band”, and “Run for the Roses”. He drew inspiration for The Innocent Age from Thomas Wolfe’s novel Of Time and the River. A 1982 greatest hits album contained two new songs, both of which were released as singles: “Missing You” and “Make Love Stay.” In 1984, he released the album Windows and Walls, containing the singles “The Language of Love” and “Believe in Me.”

Starting out in local bands playing rock n roll Fogelberg found his passion on acoustic guitar ands left his studies at the University of Illinois and headed for the West Coast, finding inspiration during a week in Colorado before moving on and securing a recording contract. For his second release, Souvenirs, Fogelberg enlisted producer Joe Walsh, who had recently recorded at Caribou Ranch near Nederland, Colorado, and “Part of the Plan” went to the top of the charts.

While touring through Colorado in the mid-1970s, Fogelberg bought a house from Chris Hillman, situated 9,000 feet up on top of the Rocky Mountains. His time there resulted in the songs on Nether Lands, a platinum seller. He recorded part of his next venture, Phoenix, in Colorado, and the songs “Heart Hotels” and “Longer” were pop hits. The Innocent Age, released in 1981, included four of his biggest singles—”Same Old Lang Syne,” “Hard To Say,” “Leader of the Band” and “Run For the Roses.”

In the mid 1980s Fogelberg built what would become his ultimate home and recording studio in the San Juan mountains near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. After a weekend at the Telluride Bluegrass sitting with friends and bluegrass legends, Fogelberg recorded High Country Snows with some of his favorite acoustic pickers and that album became one of the best-selling bluegrass albums of all time. The Wild Places, released in 1990, was the first album he self-produced and mostly tracked at his Mountain Bird Ranch. His rendition of the Cascades’ 1963 hit, “Rhythm of the Rain,” peaked at No. 3 on the adult contemporary chart. Dan Fogelberg, like Jackson Brown and JD Souther understood that ‘hit songs” were often generational and the late 90s after an injury to his hand Fogelberg turned to performing solo and in varied acoustic settings. And then, in May, 2004, he was diagnosed with an advanced prostate cancer. He continued recording with friends and the help of skilled engineers like James Tuttle until he finally succumbed to the disease on December 16, 2007. He died at his home. He was only 56 years old. Fogelberg wrote “Sometimes a Song” for his wife Jean in 2005. She released the song on the Internet and all proceeds went to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The song was released on Valentine’s Day 2008 and was also included on a CD released in September 2009 titled Love in Time.

In 2017 when Dan Fogelberg was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame the Hall donated half the profits to help in the fight against prostate cancer.

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John Denver

Inducted: April 21, 2011

John Denver

John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. in 1943) received his first major break during an audition for the popular Chad Mitchell Trio. He began writing songs when he was chosen as the group’s new lead singer from over 250 other hopefuls. Meanwhile, other performers were discovering his talents.


In 1969, Peter, Paul & Mary, the most popular folk group of that decade, had their first and only No. 1 hit with a cover of Denver’s “Leaving On A Jet Plane.”

Less than two years later, Denver was zooming up the pop charts with “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” the first of many hits. He insinuated himself into the public’s consciousness with “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Back Home Again” and “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.”

The strength of Denver’s popularity was measured in record sales that few other artists have achieved, including eight platinum albums in the U.S. alone. John Denver’s Greatest Hits is still the largest selling album in the history of RCA Records. A cheerfully optimistic image marked Denver’s 1970s heyday, when he became one of the top five selling recording artists in the history of the music industry.

Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert co-wrote John’s first smash hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The clean-cut, all-American couple created the Starland Vocal Band and became the first act signed to John’s new Windsong label in 1975; “Afternoon Delight” was a No. 1 single.

Denver starred alongside celebrities as diverse as opera singer Beverly Sills, violinist Itzhak Perlman and flautist James Galway. Frank Sinatra was the “Friend” in Denver’s John Denver and Friend television special, and their “back-to-back” co-billing at Harrah’s Tahoe was one of the most sought-after tickets in the casino hotel’s history. Denver and Placido Domingo recorded “Perhaps Love,” a song written by Denver, as a duet, earning the Spanish tenor considerable recognition outside of the opera world.

John Denver used his popularity to promote his favorite cause: the environment.

His concern spurred him to found the Windstar Foundation in 1976 as an education and demonstration center dedicated to the creation of a sustainable future. Many of his songs incorporated environmental themes. He was known for his close friendship with Jacques Cousteau, the most famous undersea explorer of the 20th century, and he wrote “Calypso” in 1975 as a tribute to Cousteau and his research boat of the same name that sailed around the world for oceanic conservation. Denver also demonstrated his enthusiasm for the environment with Plant-It 2000, a plan he created to urge people all over the world to plant as many trees as possible by the year 2000. Nearly 100,000 trees were planted in its first year of operation.

Denver took his music beyond American shores, traveling to mainland China (where he was the first Western artist to do a multi-city tour) and the Soviet Union (the first time an artist had been invited to give public performances since the cultural exchange agreement expired in 1980), as well as Europe, the Far East, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America.



His charitable activities encompassed a trip to Africa to publicize the food crisis there and act as spokesman for UNICEF’s fundraising drive. As one way to relax, Denver was a photography buff for three decades, and was especially active in shooting people and places during his many tours around the country and abroad.

When Denver guest-starred on The Muppet Show, it was the beginning of a life-long friendship between him and Jim Henson that spawned two television specials with the Muppets ensemble; A Christmas Together and Rocky Mountain Holiday are considered classics. Denver’s movie debut in the comedy Oh God! alongside George Burns was a solid hit. He also starred and guest-starred in many television productions, including Higher Ground and Foxfire, and the seasonal special A Christmas Gift filmed in the Rocky Mountains in 1986. He guest-hosted The Tonight Show on multiple occasions and hosted the Grammy Awards five times in the 1970s and ’80s.

Denver’s father, a U.S. Air Force test pilot nicknamed “Dutch,” taught him how to fly, and his love for flying became a passion to bring them closer together. Denver, a licensed pilot, died at age 53 when his experimental aircraft crashed into the Pacific Ocean in October 1997.

The strength of Denver’s popularity was measured in record sales that few other artists have achieved, including eight platinum albums in the U.S. alone.

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