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John Denver

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Biography

Born: December 31, 1943; Roswell, NM   Died: October 12, 1997; Pacific Grove, CA  
One of the most popular recording artists of the 1970s, country-folk singer/songwriter John Denver's gentle, environmentally conscious music established him among the most beloved entertainers of his era; wholesome and clean-cut, his appeal extended to fans of all ages and backgrounds, and led to parallel careers as both an actor and a humanitarian. Born Henry John Deutschendorf in Roswell, New Mexico on December 31, 1943, he was raised in an Air Read more Force family, and grew up in various regions of the southwestern U.S. As a teen, his grandmother presented him with a 1910 Gibson acoustic guitar, and while attending Texas Tech University he began performing local clubs. Adopting the stage surname "Denver" in tribute to the Rocky Mountain area he so cherished, he dropped out of college in 1964 to relocate to Los Angeles; there he joined the Chad Mitchell Trio, a major draw on the hootenanny circuit of the early '60s but in the twilight of their career at the time of Denver's arrival. Over time, however, Denver helped resuscitate the group on the strength of his songwriting skills; signed to Mercury, the Trio recorded a number of tracks, which the label repackaged in 1974 as Beginnings with the Chad Mitchell Trio.

Upon the departure of the last remaining founding member, the Chad Mitchell Trio became known as Denver, Boise and Johnson; the new group proved short-lived, however, when Denver exited in 1969 to pursue a solo career. That same year he recorded his debut LP, Rhymes and Reasons; while not a hit, it contained one of his best-loved compositions, "Leaving On a Jet Plane," an international chart-topper for Peter, Paul & Mary. Still, neither of Denver's follow-up albums, 1970's Whose Garden Was This and Take Me to Tomorrow, launched him as a solo performer; finally, with 1971's Poems, Prayers and Promises, he achieved superstardom, thanks to the million-selling hits "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and "Sunshine On My Shoulders." In the years to follow, Denver also scored with "Annie's Song" (penned for his wife) and "Back Home Again," and by 1974 was firmly established as America's best-selling performer; albums like 1975's An Evening With John Denver and Windsong were phenomenally popular, and he continued to top the singles charts with efforts including "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry." Additionally, his 1974 best-of collection sold over ten million copies worldwide, and remained on the charts for over two years.

At the peak of his success, Denver was everywhere -- the governor of Colorado proclaimed him the state's poet laureate, his label Windsong was responsible for hits like the Starland Vocal Band's mammoth "Afternoon Delight," and he appeared in a number of ratings-grabbing television specials. In 1977, he even moved into film, co-starring with George Burns in the comedy hit Oh, God! During this time, however, he dramatically curtailed his recording output, and after 1977's I Want to Live issued no new material until 1980's Autograph. The following year, he performed with opera star Placido Domingo, but as the decade progressed, Denver's popularity waned as he turned his focus more towards humanitarian work, focusing primarily on ecological concerns and space exploration; he also toured Communist-led Russia and China, and in 1987 performed in Chernobyl in the wake of that city's nuclear disaster. While maintaining a solid cult following, by the 1990s Denver had largely fallen off the radar, and he made more news for a 1993 drunk-driving arrest than he did for records like 1991's Different Directions. In 1994, he published an autobiography, Take Me Home. Tragedy struck on October 12, 1997 when his experimental aircraft suddenly crashed, killing him instantly. Denver was 53. Read less
Browse 1-14 of 14 Available Recordings
  • 1.
    James Galway - The Complete RCA Album Collection
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 302633 Release Date: 09/16/2014   Number of Discs: 73
    Composer:  Arthur Smith,  Various,  Traditional,  Stan Lebowsky  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Sylvia,  Marisa Robles,  Phillip Moll  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Scimone,  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jörg Faerber,  Eduardo Mata  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Solisti Veneti,  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Galway Pops Orchestra  ... 
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  • 2.
    111 More Classic Tracks [6-CD Set - Limited Edition]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001483202 Release Date: 11/09/2010   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Georges Bizet,  Dmitri Shostakovich,  Franz Liszt,  Franz Joseph Haydn  ... 
    Performer:  Géza Anda,  Maurice André,  Stefan Askenase,  Martha Argerich  ... 
    Conductor:  Claudio Abbado,  Karel Ancerl,  Hans Stadlmair,  John Nelson  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,  Munich Chamber Orchestra  ... 
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  • 3.
    Feelings / Roger Whittaker
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 61984 Release Date: 07/28/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bobby Russell,  Stephen Sondheim,  Roger Whittaker,  John Denver  ... 
    Performer:  Roger Whittaker
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  • 4.
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 2732796 Release Date: 03/23/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Antonín Dvorák,  Robert Browne Hall,  Henry Francis Lyte,  Katie Moss  ... 
    Performer:  Dinnington Colliery Band
    Conductor:  Jonathan Beatty
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dinnington Colliery Band
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  • 5.
    The Arthur Fiedler Legacy - Superstars & Songbooks - Pops By Arrangement
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001006102 Release Date: 11/13/2007   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Melanie Safka,  Neil Diamond,  Joseph Raposo,  Paul Williams  ... 
    Conductor:  Arthur Fiedler
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Boston Pops
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  • 6.
    Moments Of Passion / Placido Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 700600 Release Date: 10/03/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Domingo, Placido, Jr.,  Giacomo Puccini,  Agustín Lara,  Giuseppe Verdi  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo,  Jeff Kaye,  Orlando Hernández,  Mark Shubert  ... 
    Conductor:  Leonid Grin,  Luis Cobos,  Bebu Silvetti,  Zubin Mehta  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Saarland State Theater Opera Choir,  Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus  ... 
    CD: $11.99
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  • 7.
    The Essential James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 80318 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Henry Mancini,  Elton John,  Alan Menken,  Traditional  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
    CD: $18.99
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  • 8.
    The Essential Placido Domingo
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 92845 Release Date: 10/26/2004   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Lee Holdridge,  John Denver,  Leonard Bernstein,  Patrick Doyle  ... 
    Performer:  Maureen McGovern,  Placido Domingo,  John Denver,  Boje Skovhus  ... 
    Conductor:  Lee Holdridge,  Robert Ziegler,  Paul Gemignani,  Julio Salazar  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestra,  American Theater Orchestra,  Royal Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $18.99
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  • 9.
    James Galway - Wings Of Song
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 4775085 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Vincenzo Bellini,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Johann Sebastian Bach,  Joaquin Rodrigo  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway,  Moray Welsh,  Jeanne Galway
    Conductor:  Klauspeter Seibel
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
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  • 10.
    Serenity - Music For Flute And Harp / Martinez-mouilleseaux
    Label: Music Pizzazz   Catalog: 5637451353 Release Date: 03/06/2002   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Paul Simon,  Larry Henley,  Vincent Persichetti,  Charles Gounod  ... 
    Performer:  Rochele Martinez-Mouilleseaux,  Nancy Waring
    CD: $23.99
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  • 11.
    The Telarc Collection Vol 6
    Label: Telarc   Catalog: 89106 Release Date: 09/29/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  P.D.Q. Bach,  Sir Edward Elgar,  Bert Kaempfert,  John Denver  ... 
    Performer:  Doc Severinsen,  Hilton Ruiz,  Dizzy Gillespie,  Clifford Jordan  ... 
    Conductor:  Peter Schickele,  David Zinman,  Erich Kunzel,  Martin Pearlman  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Turtle Mountain Naval Base Tactical Wind Ensemble,  Baltimore Symphony Orchestra,  Cincinnati Pops  ... 
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  • 12.
    The Domingo Songbook
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 48299 Release Date: 03/10/1992   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Jule Styne,  John Kander,  Ernesto Lecuona,  Henry Mancini  ... 
    Performer:  Placido Domingo
    CD: $8.99
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  • 13.
    Annie's Song & Other Galway Favorites / James Galway
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 60747 Release Date: 03/08/1991   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Traditional,  John Denver,  Heitor Villa-Lobos,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
    Conductor:  Charles Gerhardt
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 14.
    James Galway's Greatest Hits
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 7778 Release Date: 10/25/1990   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Johann Pachelbel,  Barry Gibb,  Traditional,  John Denver  ... 
    Performer:  James Galway
    CD: $9.99
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