Singer-songwriter John Denver came into this world on New Year’s Eve or December 31, 1943, in Roswell, New Mexico. I was never an instant Denver fan but once I heard “Rocky Mountain High” for the umpteenth time and I could picture the beauty he sang about I was hooked. He left college and headed for the bright lights of New York City to begin his musical career. Right from the beginning, it appeared that he had talent for music. Peter, Paul, and Mary recorded his song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” in 1967 and “Rocky Mountain High” became the second official state song of Colorado.
His full name was Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. and as a teenager, he got his first guitar, a 1910 Gibson acoustic as a gift from his grandmother. Once he got to New York City Denver auditioned for the Chad Mitchell Trio and performed with them until 1968. In 1969 he signed on with Mercury RCA Records and his first single was “Rhymes and Reasons”. In the following two years, Denver came out with four albums among them Take Me to Tomorrow in 1970 and Aerie in 1971.
Denver became known as the golden boy of folk music and began playing to sold-out crowds across the country. His most successful albums were Poems, Prayers, and Promises which included “Take Me Home Country Roads”. Rocky Mountain High included the title song and Back Home Again with two hits “Annie’s Song” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”.
Besides music, Denver had other talents as well. He made his film debut with George Burns in “Oh, God!” in 1977. Then he switched to TV and starred in “Walking Thunder: John Denver and the Muppets” in 1980, “The Christmas Gift” in 1986 and “Higher Ground” in 1988. He also became a renowned environmentalist and humanitarian becoming a member of many organizations. Denver won the Albert Schweitzer Music Award for humanitarian efforts in 1993. Finally, I want to include one song that I especially have always enjoyed “For Baby (For Bobbie).
The music came to an end when Denver’s plane which he was piloting went down over Monterey Bay, California on October 12, 1997, killing him instantly. He was 53 years old.