John Denver was a true talent that we lost too soon.
He was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in Roswell, New Mexico on December 31, 1943. He received his first guitar at the age of eleven and by the time he was in college, he was playing at local clubs.
While studying architecture at Texas Tech University, he adopted the stage name ‘John Denver‘ after the capitol of his favorite state, Colorado. He played in a few bands before pursuing a solo career and signing with RCA Records.
Denver’s breakthrough album, Poems, Prayers, and Promises, was released in 1971 and features his mega-hit “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” The song went to #2 on the Billboard charts. It became one of Denver’s most beloved and well-known songs.
Throughout the 70s, Denver was known for his signature look of long blonde hair, wearing embroidered shirts, and his “granny” glasses.
In 1972, Denver released his album Rocky Mountain High, which quickly became his first Top Ten album, landing at #4. The album was propelled by it’s lead off single, “Rocky Mountain High“.
The single went to #9 on the US Hot 100 chart and #3 on the Easy Listening chart. The song was inspired by Denver’s move to Aspen, Colorado and his love for the state.
Two years later, Denver released the album Back Home Again, which included the hit “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.” “Country Boy” was also included on his live album An Evening with John Denver. The live version was released as a single and went #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Denver tragically passed away in an accidental plane crash on October 12, 1997 in Monterey Bay, California. Movies, music anthologies, and DVDs of unreleased concert recordings have been released posthumously. He was also inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
Although he is gone, he will never be forgotten. He had a huge impact on music and will always be known for his incredible songwriting as well as his phenomenal live performances.