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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee lawmakers may soon officially enshrine Steve Earle’s 1988 hit “Copperhead Road” as a piece of state history.
HB1437/SB1521 would designate the southern rock anthem as an official state song. The bill is carried by Rep. Bo Mitchell (D—Nashville) and Sen. Heidi Campbell (D—Nashville).
Another bill filed for introduction in the latest legislative session would make “The Tennessee in Me” by Debbie Mathis Watts an official state song.
If both are approved, they would become the 11th and 12th official songs of Tennessee. They would be the first new state songs since John R. Bean’s “Tennessee” was added to the list in 2012.
Official state songs of Tennessee
|My Homeland, Tennessee – Nell Grayson Taylor||1925|
|When It’s Iris Time in Tennessee – Willa Waid Newman||1935|
|My Tennessee – Frances Hannah Tranum||1955|
|Tennessee Waltz – Redd Stewart||1965|
|Rocky Top – Boudleaux and Felice Bryant||1982|
|Tennessee – Vivian Rorie||1992|
|The Pride of Tennessee – Fred Congdon, Thomas Vaughn and Carol Elliot||1996|
|A Tennessee Bicentennial Rap: 1796-1996 – Joan Hill Hanks||1996|
|Smoky Mountain Rain – Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan||2010|
|Tennessee – John R. Bean||2012|
Earle’s song follows narrator John Lee Pettimore III’s family history of moonshine making in Johnson County, Tenn. and also references Knoxville.
According to East Tennessee State University, a road bearing the same name near Mountain City, Tenn. was changed to Copperhead Hollow Road to discourage people from stealing the original street sign. Theft of Copperhead Road street signs in other states have also been reported over the years since its release.
“Copperhead Road” reached No. 10 on the Billboard Rock Tracks Chart and has sold over one million digital copies.