I love John Denver. I think people get made fun of for liking music by John Denver, Barry Manilow, The Carpenters, Clay Aiken, and so on. I don’t care. I love all of their music. Most of my best childhood memories somehow involve John Denver music. I still own the 8-track of his greatest hits (the first one). My family would play that 8-track over and over each summer as we drove to North Dakota to see family. I’ll walk in the rain by your side. I’ll cling to the warmth of your hand. I’ll do anything to keep you satisfied. I’ll love you more than anybody can.
John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. on December 31, 1943. Thank god he changed his name. That should be the name of one of his songs. John moved all over the place as a kid because he was in a military family. It’s hard enough to move a lot as a kid but to have a name like Deutschendorf had to be the nail in the coffin. Poor kid.
Denver received an acoustic guitar from his grandmother when he was 11. I’m guessing music kind of became his place to go and to fit in when nothing else seemed to work. He learned to play well enough to be able to gig by the time he was in college. He changed his name to Denver when Deutschendorf wouldn’t fit on a marquee. That’s funny. He chose Denver after the capital of his favorite state. (That’s Colorado for you smort people.)
John Denver’s first success came when he wrote the song Leaving on a Jet Plane. It was originally titled Babe I Hate to Go which I kind of like better. Peter, Paul, and Mary recorded the song and it became a number one hit. The success of that song gave Denver kind of a foot in the door and people started to take him more seriously. He then went on to record many incredible albums.
In addition to his Greatest Hits album, another album of his with tons and tons of memories for me is the Christmas one he did with The Muppets. John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together was released in 1979 and has been a part of my holiday season ever since. I have so many great memories of my family sitting around the kitchen table listening to The TwelveDays of Christmas. Miss Piggy is awesome.
John Denver also became an actor. No, he didn’t portray Cousin Oliver on The Brady Bunch. That was look-a-like Robbie Rist. I think Denver’s biggest film was Oh, God! with George Burns. IMDB shows that John had 11 acting credits to his name. Not bad for a far out singer and songwriter.
John Denver died on October 12, 1997 when the plane he was piloting crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California. John had over 2,700 hours of experience as a pilot and held many different ratings. He was definitely a qualified pilot but it’s suspected that the experimental aircraft John was flying and the location of the fuel selector valve handle all played a part in the crash.
John Denver Trivia
- John Denver has sold more than 32 million albums.
- He composed Annie’s Song in only 10 minutes while on a ski lift in 1974.
- Denver was involved in many charitable and environmental causes. He was a good guy.
- John Denver was a painter and photographer.
- His ashes were spread over the Rocky Mountains in Colorado.
- He was cremated with his guitar that his grandmother gave him when he was 11.
- His final concert was in Corpus Christi, Texas. This was a week before the plane crash.
- Chad Lowe played him in Take Me Home: The John Denver Story. I’ve read where that movie was not very accurate.
John Denver’s music will live on forever.
It’s goodbye again, I’m sorry to be leaving you.