Rocky Top

Rocky Top is an upbeat tune referring to the hills of Tennessee. It is one of the state’s ten official state songs.

Nashville, Tennessee

Wikipedia describes “Rocky Top is a subpeak of Thunderhead Mountain, which overlooks Cades Cove, and is traversed by the Appalachian Trail. Rocky Top appears on maps of the western Smokies as early as 1934, and has been a popular hiking destination since the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was created during the same period.”

Rocky Top was written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant in 1967.

“At the time, the Bryants were working at The Gatlinburg Inn in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on a collection of slow-tempo songs for a project for Archie Campbell and Chet Atkins. Writing the fast-paced “Rocky Top,” which took about 10 minutes to write, served as a temporary diversion for them.”

Tennessee countryside

The Osborne Brothers were the first to record the song later that year. However, the song did not achieve mass popularity until Lynn Anderson’s version reached #17 on the Billboard Country Top 100 in 1972.

The Tennessee Volunteers of the University of Tennessee marching band plays the version at most sporting events. This was a tradition that began in the early 1970s.

In 1982, the state of Tennessee adopted the song as their fifth state song.

Photos courtesy of