John Denver: America's Favorite Country Boy In The '70s

By | August 19, 2018

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Left: John Denver on 'Saturday Night Live With Howard Cosell' on September 20, 1975. (Photo by Ann Limongello/ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images) Right: Denver in 'Oh God!' (1977). Source: IMDB

Country and folk singer John Denver achieved massive fame with hits like "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," and "Annie's Song," yet always had a low-key and unassuming way about him. Fans were able to identify with him because he exuded the aura of an ordinary man; not someone caught up in fame and show business. His look was that of a small-town guy -- even when he was performing on the biggest TV shows and concert stages. Denver was most comfortable in denim, flannel and the style of a working man’s clothes.

Like many celebrities, Denver had some personal problems that his success only exacerbated -- despite reaching the pinnacle of stardom, he battled alcoholism for years, and there are documented stories of his low-points that aren't pretty. When his life came to a premature end, alcohol wasn't the culprit -- Denver, an enthusiastic pilot, died in a planecrash.

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Denver was born in New Mexico as Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. As many artists and performers will do, Deutschendorf adopted a stage name; something catchy that would be easy to remember. He chose the name “Denver” because Denver, Colorado was his happy place and truly resonated with his soul. John Denver embraced the simple way of life and made it his life’s work to bring it to all of us in song.