Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997,
known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer-
songwriter, record producer, actor, activist, and humanitarian,
whose greatest commercial success was as a solo singer.
After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up
in his military family, Denver began his music career with folk
music groups during the late 1960s. Starting in the 1970s, he
was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the decade and
one of its best-selling artists. By 1974, he was one of
America's best-selling performers, and AllMusic has described
Denver as "among the most beloved entertainers of his era".
Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about
200 of which he composed, with total sales of over 33 million
records worldwide. He recorded and performed primarily with
an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his disdain
for city life, his enthusiasm for music, and his relationship
Denver's music appeared on a variety of charts, including country
music, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all
earning 12 gold and four platinum albums with his signature
songs "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Annie's Song", "Rocky
Mountain High", "Calypso", "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and
"Sunshine on My Shoulders".
Denver appeared in several films and television specials during
the 1970s and 1980s. He continued to record in the 1990s, also
focusing on environmental issues by lending vocal support to space
exploration and testifying in front of Congress in protest against
censorship in music. He lived in Aspen for much of his life where
he was known for his love of Colorado. In 1974, Denver was named
poet laureate of the state. The Colorado state legislature also
adopted "Rocky Mountain High" as one of its two state songs in 2007.
An avid pilot, Denver died at the age of 53 in a single-fatality
crash in the Monterey Bay California while piloting his recently
purchased light plane.
His death was attributed to an accident brought about by a poorly
positioned fuel switch and pilot error.
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