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John Denver Biography

Home > Music > D > Denver, John > Biography

Birth Name: Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.
Born: 1943/12/31
Birth Place: Roswell, New Mexico, U.S.
Died: 1997/10/12
Years Active: 1962-1997
Genres: Country, Folk, Pop

John Denver (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was an American singer-songwriter, actor, activist, and poet. One of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s in terms of record sales, Denver recorded and released around 300 songs, of which about 200 were composed by him. He was named Poet Laureate of Colorado in 1977.

His album “Poems, Prayers, and Promises” (released in 1971), was a breakthrough for him in the U.S., thanks in part to the single "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which went to #2 on the Billboard charts despite the first pressings of the track being distorted.

In 1972, Denver scored his first Top Ten album with “Rocky Mountain High,” with its title track reaching the Top Ten in 1973.

Between 1974 and 1975, Denver experienced an impressive chart dominance, with a string of four #1 songs ("Sunshine on My Shoulders", "Annie's Song", "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and "I'm Sorry") and three #1 albums (“John Denver's Greatest Hits,” “Back Home Again” and “Windsong”). His live concert special, “An Evening with John Denver,” won the 1974–1975 Emmy for Outstanding Special, Comedy-Variety or Music.

In later years, Denver had a lower-profile career. He had a few more U.S. Top 30 hits as the 1970s ended, but nothing to match his earlier success. He began to focus more on humanitarian and sustainability causes, focusing extensively on conservation projects.

In 1996, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In the summer of 1997, Denver recorded a children's train album for Sony Wonder, entitled “All Aboard!,” produced by long-time friend Roger Nichols. The album consisted of old-fashioned swing, big band, folk, bluegrass, and gospel styles of music woven into a theme of railroad songs. This album won a posthumous Best Musical Album For Children Grammy for Denver, which was his only Grammy.

In 1996 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

On October 12, 1997, Denver was killed when his plane that he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California.