John Denver’s passing more than two decades ago left the entire music industry in shock and mourning. Time, perhaps, has somehow healed this pain and many of his fans have already moved on. Thanks to the therapeutic effect of his numerous songs, that somehow heal and comfort us each time we listen to them. But we’ll not be tackling the sad death of Denver because today is meant for celebration as it marks the singer’s supposed 75th birthday.
The Birth of a Music Icon
John Denver was born on December 31, 1943, in Roswell, New Mexico. He attended college at the now Texas Tech University, but before completing his studies, he dropped out. Maybe his burning passion for music got that strong and wanting to be released. That’s why shortly after leaving school, Denver began a music career in New York City. While performing with the Chad Mitchell Trio, he also wrote songs. One of his compositions that catapulted him to prominence was the song “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
Although we are completely aware that this is Denver’s penned tune, it was not him who first popularized it. The folk-pop group named Peter, Paul, and Mary released the song as a single in 1969 and became the biggest hit of their career. Their record topped the music charts in the U.S. and Canada. It was also a runner-up both on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles chart in 1970. Denver recorded his version of the song twice, one in 1969 for his debut solo album Rhymes &Reasons and another in 1973 for his John Denver’s Greatest Hits release.
Another song that Denver wrote which cemented his reputation as a songwriter was “Rocky Mountain High.” It became the state of Colorado’s official song.
The Flourishing of His Career
It’s not only Denver’s musical skills that brought him to fame but also his wholesome good looks and sensible appeal. He eventually rose to become folk music’s golden boy. Most of his concerts were sold-out as the crowd began to get fascinated with his shows. These performances resonated well with the quote,
“My purpose in performing is [to] communicate the joy I experience in living.”– John Denver
Denver’s career flourished further in the early ‘70s following the tremendous success that his records had achieved. Among the singer-songwriter’s successful albums were Poems, Prayers, and Promises (1971), Rocky Mountain High (1972), and BackHome Again (1974). These albums spawned hits that propelled further Denver to fame, including “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s song,” and “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.”
We can spend the whole day listening to John Denver’s classic hits but let’s not forget to greet him a happy birthday in heaven.