“Annie’s Song” was released as a single from John Denver’s album Back Home Again. It went on to become his second No. 1 song in the United States, dominating that spot for two weeks in July 1974.
The song also reached No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart as well as in the United Kingdom, while Billboard ranked it as the No. 25 song for 1974.
A Song Written As An Ode To His Wife
Written by John Denver himself, “Annie’s Song” was an ode to Denver’s then-wife Annie Martell Denver after their first separation and the impending break up of their marriage in 1974.
“You fill up my senses. Like a night in a forest. Like the mountains in springtime. Like a walk in the rain. Like a storm in the desert. Like a sleepy blue ocean. You fill up my senses. Come fill me again,” the song goes.
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Denver once revealed that “Annie’s Song” was one of the fastest songs he has ever written, composing it in about ten minutes while riding on a ski lift in Aspen, Colorado. During the ride, he reflected on all the joy he found in his marriage and his relief that they were back together.
“Suddenly, I’m hypersensitive to how beautiful everything is,” Denver wrote. “All of these things filled up my senses, and when I said this to myself, unbidden images came one after the other. All of the pictures merged, and I was left with Annie. That song was the embodiment of the love I felt at that time.”
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Annie has also recalled the day Denver wrote the song. “It was written after John and I had gone through a pretty intense time together, and things were pretty good for us,” Annie said. He left to go skiing, and he got on the Ajax chair on Aspen mountain, and the song just came to him. He skied down and came home and wrote it down… Initially, it was a love song, and it was given to me through him, and yet for him, it became a bit like a prayer.”
“Annie’s Song” has received positive reviews from music critics. Shawn M. Haney of Allmusic, for instance, noted the song’s expressive emotionality. He called it an “ever so romantic tearjerker,” and praised it as “one of Denver’s finest achievements.” Billboard, on the other hand, called it a “fine love song.”
Watch this unforgettable performance of John Denver in the video below.