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John Denver

One of the most popular recording artists of the 1970s, country-folk singer/songwriter John Denver's gentle, environmentally conscious music established him among the most beloved entertainers of his era; wholesome and clean-cut, his appeal extended to fans of all ages and backgrounds, and led to parallel careers as both an actor and a humanitarian.

Born Henry John Deutschendorf in Roswell, NM, on December 31, 1943, he was raised in an Air Force family, and grew up in various regions of the southwestern U.S. As a teen, his grandmother presented him with a 1910 Gibson acoustic guitar, and while attending Texas Tech University he began performing local clubs. Adopting the stage surname "Denver" in tribute to the Rocky Mountain area he so cherished, he dropped out of college in 1964 to relocate to Los Angeles; there he joined the Chad Mitchell Trio, a major draw on the hootenanny circuit of the early '60s but in the twilight of their career at the time of Denver's arrival. Over time, however, Denver helped resuscitate the group on the strength of his songwriting skills; signed to Mercury, the Trio recorded a number of tracks, which the label repackaged in 1974 as Beginnings With the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Upon the departure of the last remaining founding member, the Chad Mitchell Trio became known as Denver, Boise and Johnson; the new group proved short-lived, however, when Denver exited in 1969 to pursue a solo career. That same year he recorded his debut LP, Rhymes and Reasons; while not a hit, it contained one of his best-loved compositions, "Leaving on a Jet Plane," an international chart-topper for Peter, Paul & Mary. Still, neither of Denver's follow-up albums, 1970's Whose Garden Was This and Take Me to Tomorrow, launched him as a solo performer; finally, with 1971's Poems, Prayers & Promises, he achieved superstardom, thanks to the million-selling hits "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Sunshine on My Shoulders." In the years to follow, Denver also scored with "Annie's Song" (penned for his wife) and "Back Home Again," and by 1974 was firmly established as America's best-selling performer; albums like 1975's An Evening With John Denver and Windsong were phenomenally popular, and he continued to top the singles charts with efforts including "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry." Additionally, his 1974 best-of collection sold over ten million copies worldwide, and remained on the charts for over two years.

At the peak of his success, Denver was everywhere -- the governor of Colorado proclaimed him the state's poet laureate, his label Windsong was responsible for hits like the Starland Vocal Band's mammoth "Afternoon Delight," and he appeared in a number of ratings-grabbing television specials. In 1977, he even moved into film, co-starring with George Burns in the comedy hit Oh, God! During this time, however, he dramatically curtailed his recording output, and after 1977's I Want to Live, issued no new material until 1980's Autograph. The following year, he performed with opera star Placido Domingo, but as the decade progressed, Denver's popularity waned as he turned his focus more toward humanitarian work, focusing primarily on ecological concerns and space exploration; he also toured Communist-led Russia and China, and in 1987 performed in Chernobyl in the wake of that city's nuclear disaster. While maintaining a solid cult following, by the 1990s Denver had largely fallen off the radar, and he made more news for a 1993 drunk-driving arrest than he did for records like 1991's Different Directions. In 1994, he published an autobiography, Take Me Home. Tragedy struck on October 12, 1997, when his experimental aircraft suddenly crashed, killing him instantly. Denver was 53. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Falling Leaves (The Refugees) (Radio Single)

Comments

Loved his music and played many of his early songs during my "coffee house" years. "My Sweet Lady" from Sunshine movie was special for me and my husband John during our courting period!
nysfinest211 2
Doesn't matter what generation your in. John is and will be a boss in music history
I have a letter from him on my wall, dated Sept. 27, 1979. Great guy!
I love play call me maybe
The best of all Singing
great artest...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . K a t h e r i n e Sophia...... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
T, Perhaps Love. IMY. t2
dannacruz
long live Mr. John Denver!
Please remove danny.trevat h a n 14, why do people write such things
kenzie22035
Hate those stupid things
Cute little songs
His music always gives me chills! Wonderful music.
POEMS, PRAYERS & PROMISES...W i l l be sung at my funeral...Wh a t a talent!!!
There will never be another voice like his...R.I.P. John
Sweetheart, Perhaps Love, played on your 12-string. It's a precious memory...may b e again one day. IMY every stinkin day.
Great music will always live on. RIP John.
Are you kidding me? One of the best musical artists and writers of this generation. Gordon you are the greatest! Bless you!
I dont know how this is
Where are the words to the songs

julinoe2
It's pretty shocking that the bio leaves out the one album that made him a superstar: Rocky Mountain High. I mean, really?
Rip brother.
theewildwoma n
I miss him and his music Every Day !
fal531
My husband and I went to No. California a few years after John died. We stopped at a beach just to take in the scenery. I love the ocean. At my feet, someone had etched in a piece of wood....RIP John Denver. Only then did I realize, I was at that place where his plane went down. It was incredibly sad. Loved his voice & songs. RIP John, we miss you!
I love his voice. Always will.
crawford.kir k 2 7
RIP Brother
crawford.kir k 2 7
RIB Brother.
This song definitely defines my home.. The Great State of West Virginia!
mariannbc
taken way too soon like so many
pat.morrison 7 4
John calms my crazy days at work, wish he were still writing and singing music. Play his music every chance I get. Makes me wish I were back in Colorado, perhaps some day, until then I think of the mountains while I listen to John singing.
ltbraun71
On our trips into Colorado, tradition is to play John Denver
I love all his music unfortunatel y his gone but his music will leave forever I miss him
his music should be played more often
Great artist gone too soon. Rip
Wonderful song
Bigger GRIN
A great singer and songwriter one of the best! GOD BLESS YOU JOHN,
country roads take me home to the place I belong
I miss his music he would have sung He had heart in his music Love&Prayers
Music simply doesn't get any better than John Denver.
He touched hearts with his music and his life!
conniemotley
Annie's Song was the song sung at our wedding and we just named our boat Calypso.
The best. Always will be in my book! Some called him geeky, but I don't care. His music was always something more than himself I listened to his I am Human speech. Same stuff still going on. When will things change for the better. SAD.
lmg1103
Wish he was still here and writing songs.
Thank god imma country boy
tembuck2
Sorry !! I Was Responding to danny.trevat h a n 1 4 !! Good Luck Bud ? You'll Need It !!
tembuck2
Country Boy !
Died do'in what He Loved.
Rutan Long Easy !!
Paul Rutan Safest Plane ever designed or ever built !
(Go Figure) ?
Left a Legacy to us all!
And we all miss Him !!
Died with His Boots On !
How many of us will be able to say that ??
He brought me thru my childhood and teenage years. The kind of person i wanted to be and partner with! Luckily i did move to colorado for awhile
prose poetry and beauty
John Denver may be gone, but he is definitely still with us, as well. He helped lead our nation in changing our views of conservation and preservation of our amazing visual natural resources. His, bio, here on Pandora, is quite comprehensiv e and well written, however, it leaves out one of his most memorable songs, one that helped convey his love for this land: Rocky Mountain High. Thank you, John, for your gifts to the world! You are sorely missed!
I was lucky to have personally met him before a Philadelphia concert in 1982. He shook my hand n asked what song i would like to hear him play. I was so starstruck i couldn't answer .my fiancé now husband spoke. JD such a nice man. Wish he was still here! Rip xo- Mary W
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