Swallow Hill Music

Inducted: November 9, 2019

Swallow Hill Music

Swallow Hill Music has a long, impressive history as Denver’s home of roots music: folk, bluegrass, old-time, acoustic, Americana and beyond. The concept grew from an idea that hosting roots-music concerts and teaching people how to play that music could be combined into a nonprofit association.

Harry Tuft saw such an organization as a way to bring the best in folk artists to Colorado, while Julie Davis, a well-respected autoharp performer and teacher, added a music school to the equation.

Swallow Hill was established in 1979 at Tuft’s Denver Folklore Center in the Swallow Hill neighborhood just east of downtown. Now celebrating its fortieth anniversary, Swallow Hill has grown into the nation’s second-largest roots-music concert organization and music school. But the road to success wasn’t always easy: Interest in the organization suffered in the 1980s.

By the 1990s, though, a permanent home had been established on South Pearl Street. Under the Swallow Hill Music board and executive director Seth Weisberg (1987-1995), class enrollment swelled to 2,700, with Rebecca Micklich as the school’s director. As concert director, Meredith Carson oversaw almost 100 concerts a year.

Twenty years ago, under executive director Chris Daniels (1995-2000), Swallow Hill moved to its current location at 71 East Yale Avenue. But that was only the beginning of its growth spurt.

Swallow Hill Music now has a combined concert attendance of well over 60,000 annually, and produces about 250 shows in the three concert halls at the group’s home, as well as at both Denver Botanic Gardens locations, the Oriental Theater and Four Mile Historic Park, to name a few venues. The music school hosts 64,000 student visits each year, with seventy teachers who provide private lessons and classes at the Yale Avenue location and satellite locations in the Highland and Lowry neighborhoods. And Swallow Hill’s Community Outreach programs create more than 75,000 music connections annually. These programs bring music education and experiences into preschools, K-12 schools, libraries and senior centers in underserved communities, and include more than 200 schools and organizations across the Front Range.

Swallow Hill Music has garnered accolades from the El Pomar Foundation, arts awards from the Mayor’s and Governor’s Offices, and numerous Best of Denver honors from Westword newspaper. Musicians and music fans around the country continue to heap praise on the organization.

Founding Mother Folkers member Mary Flower describes Swallow Hill as “an enormous network of friends who have grown together since they worked behind the counter in their early twenties at the old Denver Folklore Center.”

Adds Paul Kashmann, guitar player, former Swallow Hill board member and current Denver City Council representative: “There’s really nothing like Swallow Hill, in that you can literally reach out and touch the performers if you don’t pass them in the hall before the show.”

Folk singer Tish Hinojosa sees Swallow Hill’s growth as “an encouraging sign of the power of acoustic music,” noting that “the intellectual-circle places, like the Northeast, have ongoing music venues that have always presented acoustic and folk music. But in the heart of the country, it’s a little rarer. It’s great that Denver has one.”



Paul Lhevine, current CEO, is excited about Swallow Hill’s potential: “The future looks even more promising. We continue to attract new audiences while paying homage to our historical roots; we’ve found ways to stay relevant in a quickly changing music scene. Our additional locations are proof-positive that folks want music in their neighborhoods, and our Community Outreach programs ensure that everyone…has an opportunity to learn and grow through music.”

From the early dreams of musicians at the Denver Folklore Center to the award-winning arts organization it has become, Swallow Hill has been a vibrant music resource—not only in Colorado, but across the nation. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct Swallow Hill Music in 2019, and honored to celebrate all of the performers, teachers, volunteers, members and supporters who make it an essential part of this state’s music history.

“We continue to attract new audiences while paying homage to our historical roots; we’ve found ways to stay relevant in a quickly changing music scene.”

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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 eventually grew into the nationally known 97.3 KBCO World Class Rock. In the process, it set the standard that every Adult Rock station strives for: a successful balance of creativity, radio fundamentals and commitment to the local community. KBCO was also the founding station of the Adult Album Alternative (or Triple A) format.


In the 1960s, Bob Greenlee graduated from Iowa State with dreams of owning a radio station. His search led him to Boulder, where in 1975, he and his wife, Diane, bought KADE-AM. But Bob knew FM radio was the place to be, and by the end of 1976, the Greenlees had purchased KRNW, a 1,000-watt FM station with a loyal following and a Class C license, which allowed an upgrade to 100,000 watts.

The original vision was to create a music station that reflected the town’s unique population, and the call letters were changed accordingly. It was dubbed “Boulder Radio” and played a mix of soft, acoustic “Colorado music.”

By the mid-1980s, KBCO boasted an antenna that could reach across the Front Range. Programming changed with the larger audience; KBCO could now embrace the entire Denver market and beyond, expanding the original acoustic-music playlist while keeping the Boulder image. By the winter of 1988, KBCO was the No. 1-rated station in the Denver market.

KBCO has always embraced the Colorado lifestyle. In 1980, the station launched the Kinetic Sculpture Challenge, a competition of human-powered amphibious crafts made from whatever materials were available. The teams raced through mud, down dirt roads and over water at the Boulder Reservoir. In the winter, there was the Cardboard Derby: Contestants created crafts out of cardboard boxes and raced them down local ski slopes. The “I Ski With KBCO” program offered discount ski weekends, bringing KBCO listeners together to ski and ride. And the station has hosted hundreds of live concerts, at venues ranging from small clubs to Folsom Field to Red Rocks, Fiddler’s Green and the Pepsi Center.

For thirty years, music’s top names have performed live on-air in KBCO’s Studio C. Dave Matthews, Sting, Stevie Nicks, Mumford and Sons, Ed Sheeran and hundreds more have recorded there. It’s a regular stop for emerging artists, too, who play for their fans as well as the opportunity to be on the annual Studio C CD.

In 2018, KBCO celebrated Studio C’s 30th anniversary with a special two-CD compilation. Studio C CDs have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Boulder County AIDS Project and Food Bank of the Rockies.


KBCO showed its dedication to Colorado music for over three decades with the weekly Local Edition program. In 2004, sales of a Local Edition CD benefited music education in the Denver Public Schools. And a vinyl recording of Colorado bands playing live at KBCO supported the Colorado Music Hall of Fame’s move to Red Rocks.

Radio has changed. In 1977 there was no Internet, streaming or cell phones. Today, radio is taking on new roles in the digital world. The business of radio has changed, too. When the Greenlees bought KBCO, they could only own two stations in any given marketplace. Companies today can own up to eight stations per market in many different markets.

KBCO navigated the waters of corporate buyouts and management changes to keep the station relevant and supportive of the local community. It remains an essential outlet for artists looking to build a base of fans and supporters.

The Triple A format has morphed into a collection of mostly non-commercial radio stations across the country. But through the loyalty and dedication of its staff and the Colorado fans who feel a personal connection to the station, KBCO remains by far the most successful of them. The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct 97.3 KBCO in 2018 for its incredible contribution to Colorado music.

KBCO set the standard that every Adult Rock station strives for: a successful balance of creativity, radio fundamentals and commitment to the local community.

Keep music history alive!
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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 of Colorado’s music scene.

Born in Brooklyn, Morris found his passion for music ignited by a Kingston Trio concert at New York’s Lake Chautauqua in 1957. He 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; he also helped turn Red Rocks Amphitheatre into the country’s most popular outdoor venue. In the 1980s, Morris and Fey collaborated on the Rainbow Music Hall, a 1,458-seat space in Denver 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, a 17,000-seat outdoor amphitheater 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 that opened 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 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 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 and check out our exhibits that range from 20th Century Pioneers to John Denver.


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 student at Denver’s East High School, Collins had traded the classical piano for a secondhand guitar, a gift from her father. Turning to folk music, she combined her father’s love of popular Irish tunes with the influence of Lingo the Drifter (T.D. Lingo), 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, as well as 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 folksinger Walt Conley were asked to be opening acts, and they were featured on the Folk Festival at the Exodus LP.




At last count, Collins had recorded three dozen albums, produced a documentary with director Jill Godmilow about Dr. Brico’s life titled 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 on to 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’s 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 Judy Collins to the folk music tradition would be too limited a platform for her talent.


Judy Collins Discography

1972 – Colors Of The Day

Colors Of The Day

2001 – The Very Best of Judy Collins

The Very Best

1964 – The Judy Collins Concert

The Judy Collins Concert

1971 – Living


1996 – Live At Newport

Live At Newport

1997_1 – Christmas At the Biltmore Estate

Christmas At The Biltmore

2000 – Live At Wolf Trap

Live At Wolf Trap

2003 – Wildflower Festival

Wildflower Festival

2012 – Live At The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Live At The Mertopolitan

2014 – Live In Ireland

Live In Ireland

1961 – A Maid of Constant Sorrow

A Maid of Constant Sorrow

1962 – Golden Apples of the Sun

Golden Apples of the Sun

1963 – Judy Collins #3

Judy Collins #3.

1965 – Judy Collins_ Fifth Album

Judy Collins Fifth Album

1966 – In My Life

In My Life

1967 – Wildflowers


1968 – Who Knows Where the Time Goes

Who Knows Where The Time Goes

1969 – Recollections


1970 – Whales and Nightingales

Whales and Nightingales

1971_1 – Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now

1973 – True Stories and Other Dreams

True Storie and Other Dreams

1975 – Judith


1976 – Bread _ Roses

Bread Roses

1977 – So Early In The Spring

So Early In The Spring

1979 – Hard Times For Lovers

Hard Times For Lovers

1980 – Running For My Life

Running For My Life

1982 – Time Of Our Lives

Time Of Our Lives

1984 – Home Again

Home Again

1985 – Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

1987 – Trust Your Heart

Trust Your Heart

1989 – Sanity And Grace

Sanity and Grace

1990 – Fires Of Eden

Fires Of Eden

1990_1 – Baby_s Morningtime


1990_2 – Baby_s Bedtime


1992 – Wind Beneath My Wings

Wind Beneath My Wings

1993 – Judy Sings Dylan…Just Like A Woman

Just Like A Woman

1994 – Come Rejoice!

Come Rejoice

1995 – Voices


1995_1 – Shameless


1997 – Forever An Anthology

Forever An Anthology

1998 – Both Sides Now

Both Sides Now

1999 – Classic Broadway

Classic Broadway

2000_1 – Classic Folk

Classic Folk

2000_2 – All On A Wintry Night

All On A Wintery Night

2004 – Judy Collins Sings Leonard Cohen_ Democracy

Signs Leonard Cohen

2005 – Portrait Of An American Girl

Portrait Of An Amercian Girl

2010 – Paradise


2011 – Bohemian


2015 – Strangers Again

Strangers Again

2017 – A Love Letter to Stephen Sondheim

A Love Letter To Stephen

2017_1 – Everybody Knows

Everybody Knows

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

Inducted: April 21, 2011

Red Rocks


For as long as human beings have occupied the land where the Great Plains meet the Rocky Mountains, they have marveled at the aesthetics and acoustics of Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The Folsom people are believed to be the first to discover the geologic marvel, which was a subsequent gathering place for the Ute, Southern Cheyenne and Southern Arapaho tribes. In the years since, Red Rocks has hosted the biggest names in music while gaining fame in its own right as one of the Natural Wonders of the World. A pair of 300-foot monoliths, known as Ship Rock (stage right) and Creation Rock (stage left), help produce the site’s pristine sound.

In the years since, Red Rocks has hosted the biggest names in music while gaining fame in its own right as one of the Natural Wonders of the World. A geological event 40-70 million years ago known as the Laramide orogeny pushed into place the pieces that absorb sound, rather than reflect it. A pair of 300-foot monoliths, known as Ship Rock (stage right) and Creation Rock (stage left), help produce the site’s pristine sound.

The area’s origins as a tourist attraction stretch back to 1870, when visitors to the “Garden of the Angels” took in the sandstone formations that began to form some 40-70 million years ago with a geological event called the Laramide orogeny. Its transformation into a legendary concert venue, however, began when John Brisben Walker Sr. sold his Cosmopolitan magazine to William Randolph Hearst and bought the property, believing he could create a one-of-a-kind performance space. In 1906, under the name “Garden of the Titans,” Pietro Satriano and his 25-piece brass band played the first concert on a temporary stage. Nationally renowned opera star Mary Garden’s performance in 1911 then opened the floodgates for star artists from all genres.

“Never in any opera house, the world over, have I found more perfect acoustic properties,” Garden said in the days that followed. “Never under any roof have I sung with greater ease or had a greater delight in singing.” 


In the 110 years since, Red Rocks was the scene of a legendary Beatles show in 1964, Bruce Springsteen’s first-ever outdoor concert in 1978 and U2’s career-making 1983 video shoot. Pretty much everyone who’s anyone has graced the stage of the venue, including: John Denver, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Igor Stravinsky, Liberace, the New York Philharmonic, Bonnie Raitt and Carole King. Each of those performers made their way to the stage through the venue’s secret tunnel, which leads from backstage to the sound booth in the seating area. Many have signed their names on the tunnel’s walls. That’s not to mention the films Red Rocks has shown on a projector screen since 2000 or the Easter sunrise service it’s hosted since 1947.

Colorado’s most highly regarded architect of the time, Burnham Hoyt, oversaw the venue’s design, after the City of Denver purchased the land in 1928 to create Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps did the heavy lifting while taking care to preserve the area’s natural beauty. To ensure each of the amphitheater’s 9,525 seats had a clear view of the stage, Hoyt’s team of CCC workers removed 50,000 cubic feet of dirt and rock. In its place, crews would use 800 tons of quarried stone and 30,000 pounds of reinforced steel over the five years of construction.

Today, Red Rocks Park spans 738 acres and has been designated as a national historic landmark. Visitors enjoy hiking, mountain biking and riding horses on the surrounding trails. Others take yoga classes or get their hearts pumping by running up and down the amphitheater’s 193 steps. 

On the campus, Red Rocks Amphitheatre’s Trading Post hosts the Colorado Music Hall of Fame museum and the Red Rocks gift shop. Inside, exhibits include artifacts, video biographies and written overviews of the legacies that inductees have left on Colorado’s music history.

Red Rocks Amphitheatre was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame inaugural class of 2011.

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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Lannie Garrett

Inducted: April 16, 2016


For Four Decades…

Singer and entertainer Lannie Garrett has brought happiness to the Denver music scene.

At age 22, Garrett arrived in Colorado, the beginning of a purposely undefined emigration to the West. Fired from her job as a lunch waitress in Melrose Park, Illinois, she joined her boyfriend on a cross-country road trip.

“One of our stops was in Denver and I had never seen anything like it,” she told Colorado Music Hall of Fame board member Patricia Calhoun on one of the Hall’s Front Row & Center virtual episodes. “So we went out to California and on the way back I told him to basically drop me off; I found a little apartment, got a U-Haul and moved out here.”

Garrett figured she would attend college and become a teacher. But as she waited to establish residency for in-state tuition, she found herself instead on the path to living her lifelong dream — singing and performing on stage. After a few glasses of wine while waitressing in Larimer Square, Garrett’s impromptu rendition of “My Man” from “Funny Girl” caught the attention of patrons who worked at Windsor Gardens. They hired her, paying Garrett $20 to sing for an elderly audience. Soon after, Garrett approached well-known Denver entertainer Ron Henry and told him to call her if he ever needed a vocalist. He did, and Garrett got her first big break as she got her feet wet in the music industry. Performing with Henry as a backup singer and opening for big name acts like the Four Tops helped her get comfortable on the stage, she said.

Before long, Garrett was performing at nightclubs across Denver, entertaining audiences with a long list of themed shows, from fronting her “AnySwing Goes” big band as a sequined chanteuse to bringing her comedy chops to The Patsy DeCline Show, her campy country-music spoof.

Other creations include the George Gershwin tribute “’S Wonderful”; “Screen Gems: Songs from the Movies”; “Great Women of Song”; “The Chick Sings Frank: A Tribute to Sinatra”; “A Slick Chick on the Mellow Side,” her 1940s jazz and jump show; “Beatles to Bacharach: Songs and Stories”; “The Platforms and Polyester Disco Revue”; and “Under Paris Skies,” influenced by gypsy jazz.

“I loved the show business aspect of singing, not just singing,” Garrett said. “I loved being a performer, packing costumes and comedy.”

Crowds loved her back. Readers of the Denver Post named Garrett their favorite female vocalist many years in a row. She garnered the same recognition with readers of 5280 magazine and Out Front, which serves the LGBTQ community — a population Garrett credits for breaking her shy nature and coaxing out her inner entertainer.

Channeling her idols, Bette Midler and Judy Garland, Garrett appeared in nightclubs nationally and recorded a half-dozen albums. Over the years, she has worked with a diverse group of national entertainers including B.B. King, Roseanne Barr, Ramsey Lewis and Jay Leno.

It wasn’t long before Garrett owned and operated nightclubs of her own, including Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Beneath the D&F Tower, one of the most iconic buildings on Denver’s 16th Street Mall, Garrett hosted top local and national talent. She also operated Ruby, a club on East 17th Avenue and spent a decade as the house entertainer at the Denver Buffalo Company.

Garrett was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame with the 20th Century Pioneers class of 2016.

“It’s a great honor to me,” she says. “From someone who only dreamed of being a singer and didn’t get to do it until I was in my twenties, it blew my mind. It means the world.”


Lannie Garrett


Garrett operated Ruby, a club on East 17th Avenue, and spent a decade as the house entertainer at the Denver Buffalo Company. In 2006, she realized the dream of owning her own venue, opening Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret beneath the D&F Tower downtown, hosting top local and national talent. Garrett took to the stage herself with a succession of themed shows, from fronting her “AnySwing Goes” big band as a sequined chanteuse to bringing her comedy chops to The Patsy DeCline Show, her campy country-music spoof.

Garrett’s creations also include the George Gershwin tribute “’S Wonderful”; “Screen Gems: Songs from the Movies”; “Great Women of Song”; “The Chick Sings Frank: A Tribute to Sinatra”; “A Slick Chick on the Mellow Side,” her 1940s jazz and jump show; “Beatles to Bacharach: Songs and Stories”; “The Platforms and Polyester Disco Revue”; and “Under Paris Skies,” influenced by gypsy jazz.

Lannie Garrett Discography

2003 – Doubleback

1995 – Comes Love

2000 – Slick Chick on the Mellow Side

Unknown – Secrets

1997 – Horsin’ Around

2005 – Under Paris Skies

1998 – Kick It!

1996 – Just For a Thrill

Do you love and appreciate the history of music? Head over to the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, where you get to learn and enjoy the rich history of music in Colorado.

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The Grateful Dead

Inducted: February 2017

The Grateful Dead

CMHOF’s VIP reception “Colorado Getaway: The History of the Grateful Dead in the High Country” was a huge success for attendees, judging by the number of smiling faces and superlatives offered.


The History of the Grateful Dead in the High Country

Board member Paul Epstein was the driving force behind this event, offering his encyclopedic knowledge of the Dead and his wealth of artifacts to craft a memorable experience for Deadheads. Everyone in attendance was smitten by the timeline exhibit that will now be displayed at CMHOF’s home in the Red Rocks Amphitheatre Trading Post.

Board member “Pasta Jay” Elowsky and his staff did their typically brilliant job in creating a festive, celebratory atmosphere for the band and its fans with the incredible Dead-inspired cuisine, balloons, etc. It was easy to entertain a room of happy, well-fed people!

After opening remarks, renowned Grateful Dead authority David Gans (“The Grateful Dead Hour“) performed a few songs in tribute to the band, then moderated a panel of Epstein, Grammy winner David Glasser (Airshow Mastering) and promoter Don Strasburg (special thanks to Don and chairman Chuck Morris for working with band management on CMHOF’s behalf). Celebrity Deadhead Bill Walton made an appearance and graciously posed for pictures and signed autographs.

The three original members of the Grateful Dead—Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann—arrived and offered their good-natured insights into the band’s defining events in Colorado. Fans were over the moon! The afternoon ended with the distribution of “swag” envelopes containing a “Red Rocks 7/8/78” 3-CD set and commemorative comic, menu and postcards. Attendees then got to watch a wonderful performance by Dead & Co. from their club-level seats.

The silent auction figures are being tallied, but CMHOF made well over $6,000. The Jerry Garcia etching of “The Guys” fetched $3,500, and Scramble Campbell’s donated painting of the Dead at Red Rocks was sold for $1,500.



Lots of people helped to make this event a special thank-you to all involved.

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Caribou Ranch

Inducted: August 13, 2017

Caribou Ranch

An iconic destination recording studio nestled among the Rocky Mountains, Caribou Ranch welcomed industry greats such as Elton John, Chicago, the Beach Boys, Earth, Wind & Fire, Billy Joel, Chad & Jeremy, Frank Zappa and Amy Grant. In just over a decade of operation, the studio served as witness to a diverse songbook of American classics, making an indelible mark on both Colorado and national musical history.Tucked away in a converted barn just outside the Colorado ghost town of Caribou, Caribou Ranch was a one-of-a-kind recording studio that captured the distinct spirit of the American West. Constructed by music producer James William Guercio in 1972, the studio was at the height of its success during the 1970s and early 1980s.

In 1971, Guercio invested in a ranch property that stretched across more than 4,000 acres near Nederland, Colorado. Guercio’s early career featured a series of professional successes, including work with pop band the Buckinghams and a position as staff producer at Columbia Records. But during his years as a producer in New York and Los Angeles, he found his creativity limited by restrictive union regulations. It was this frustration that inspired him to create a recording studio where he could play by his own rules, leading to the purchase of Caribou Ranch. Redesigned to cater to the biggest stars in the music industry, the barn-turned-studio emerged as a wildly popular spot for new and established artists alike.

The year after Guercio had begun work on the studio, Joe Walsh and Bill Szymczyk were starting Barnstorm, which would be the band’s inaugural studio album. Although they had planned to record the album at Walsh’s home, a blown-out mixer halted their efforts on the very first day. After hearing about Guercio’s new studio, they decided to visit the build site. Walsh and Szymczyk immediately agreed that Caribou Ranch was a perfect fit for their project, and Barnstorm became the first album recorded at the studio. Not long after, Szymczyk revisited Caribou Ranch to work on Rick Derringer’s All American Boy, which included the hit “Rock & Roll, Hoochie Koo.”

Just two years later, in 1974, the Colorado recording studio made its debut on the international music stage. Elton John recorded his eighth studio album there, naming it Caribou after the Rocky Mountain studio as a way to say thanks. John recorded several other projects at Caribou Ranch, including his version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and albums such as Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy and Rock of the Westies. From ’74 to ’76, Caribou studio produced more hits than Abbey Road Studios.

The long list of artists who recorded at Caribou Ranch reads like a who’s who of legendary music history, featuring household names such as Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, the Beach Boys, Joe Walsh, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jeff Beck, Rick Derringer, Billy Joel, Rod Stewart, Sheena Easton, Michael Jackson, War, Eddie Rabbit, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al De Meola, America, Michael W. Smith, Chick Corea and Earth, Wind & Fire. Throughout the late 1970s, the studio cemented its place as one of the most in-demand recording destinations for the world’s most elite popular musicians.

While the recording studio itself was the major draw for musicians, the lodging offered at Caribou Ranch also proved highly desirable. Relaxed, casual, and away from the usual hustle and bustle of the industry, the peaceful Colorado ranch became a getaway of sorts for stars. With a 24-hour staff that included talented chefs, a musician’s every whim could be satisfied at the drop of a hat. There was no commuting to worry about, and the facilities provided everything artists could possibly want or need.

Unfortunately, the heyday of Caribou Ranch came to a dramatic end in March 1985. The business had slowed somewhat in the few years prior, but it was a large fire that ended up spelling the studio’s demise. Platinum artist Amy Grant was on her way to Caribou Ranch to work on her next album (which would be her fifth recorded at the studio), when she was told the tragic news: The beloved studio was in flames.

After the extensive damage caused by the fire, specifically in the studio’s control room, Caribou Ranch was shut down for good. Although Guercio said in a 2008 interview that he had rebuilt the control room, there were no plans to reopen its doors. Today the property has been divided and sold among various parties, including the City of Boulder and Caribou Companies, Guercio’s housing company.

In the late 1980s, Guercio went on to purchase the Country Music Television (CMT) channel, which he later sold to media tycoon, Edward Gaylord. Today, Guercio splits his time between his historic Montana cattle ranch and his Boulder, Colorado ranch.

Although the legendary Caribou Ranch studio is no longer standing, the beloved songs and historic moments recorded there will surely last forever. Colorado Music Hall of Fame has been fortunate to be the recipient of historic artifacts from Caribou Ranch. Visit our museum to see some of Caribou’s original recording equipment.


Caribou Ranch Discography

Billy Joel

Rod Stewart

Frank Zappa

Sheena Easton

Rick Derringer

The Souther Hillman Furay Band

The Beach Boys

Kris Kristofferson


Earth, Wind & Fire

Waylon Jennings


Stephen Stills

Peter Frampton

Rare Silk

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Tony Orlando

Robert Lamm

Return To Forever


Michael Martin Murphy

Elton John


Jeff Beck

Joe Walsh – Barnstorm



Amy Grant

Michael Stanley

Glenn Frey

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band


Carl Wilson


Eddie Rabbitt

Al Di Meola

Dan Fogelberg



Steely Dan

Sweet Comfort Band

L.A. Express

Jo Jo Gunne

Elton John – Captain Fantastic

Joe Walsh

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