Thursday, June 4, 1970

Musical Artist - Denver, John

John Denver was an American singer, songwriter, actor, and activist best known for songs such as Take Me Home (Country Roads), Rocky Mountain High, Leaving on a Jet Plane, and Thank God I'm a Country Boy. Born Henry John Deutschendorf and the son of an Air Force officer, Denver spent his youth moving from place to place, finding it difficult to make and maintain friendships. The gift of a guitar from his grandmother when he was eleven provided the means to break the ice with his peers, but traveling about in the turbulent late 1950s and early 1960s was a difficult experience that caused him to leave home on one occasion and move to California.

Denver attended Texas Tech, but dropped out before graduating to pursue a career in music. On the advice of Randy Sparks of the New Christy Minstrels, he chose to shed his birth name of Deutschendorf and picked the stage name John Denver in honor of his favorite state. After working with a few folk groups in the 1960s, Denver began working as a solo performer and turned out a series of hits including the aforementioned songs plus Annie's Song, Sunshine on My Shoulders, I'm Sorry, and Poems, Prayers, and Promises. Eventually, Denver would have two of his songs - Take Me Home (Country Roads) and Rocky Mountain High - adopted as the state songs of West Virginia and Colorado, respectively.

Although best known as a singer, Denver also worked as an actor, with his most prominent role coming alongside George Burns in the movie Oh, God. An appearance on The Muppet Show led to a close friendship with Jim Henson and two television specials with the Muppets. In addition to he work on screen, Denver was an activist, founding the Hunger Project to combat world hunger, and was an outspoken activist on a variety of issues ranging from environmentalism to the AIDS epidemic. Denver, as befits the son of an Air Force officer, was an avid amatuer pilot, a fact that led to his death in 1997 when he lost control of the Long-EZ aircraft he was piloting and crashed.

Denver has an official website named John Denver. He also has a Facebook page dedicated to him.

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