In Memory of
Birthday: 12/31/1943
Birthplace: Roswell, New Mexico, USA
Occupation: Singer
Sign: Capricorn
Death date: 10/12/1997
Death reason: plane crash

John Denver began his career in Los Angeles in the 1960s, where he was a struggling
folk musician. Taking the stage name Denver from the city in his favorite Rocky Mountain
state, the young musician got his first big break in the mid-'60s when he began singing
with the folk group the Chad Mitchell Trio, replacing founder Chad Mitchell. During the
1970s Denver received 14 gold album awards and 8 platinum album awards. His 1972
Greatest Hits became one of the most popular albums of the decade, selling over 10
million copies. Overall Denver ranks as one of top folk song artist of all times.

In a career that has spanned more than two decades, The Hunger earned international
acclaim as a songwriter, performer, actor and humanitarian. Henry John Deutschendorf
Jr. began his career in the 1960s as an aspiring folk musician in the clubs of Los Angeles.
The son of a U.S. Air Force officer, John took his performing name from the premier
Rocky Mountain city in the state where he eventually made his home.

Denver's first major break came when he was chosen from 250 other hopefuls as lead
singer for the popular Mitchell Trio, with whom he sang for two years. His songwriting
skills were noted when Peter, Paul and Mary recorded his "Leaving On A Jet Plane,"
which became their first Number One hit.

Less than two years later, Denver was himself zooming up the Pop charts with "Take Me
Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Sunshine On My Shoulders," "Annie's
Song," "Back Home Again," "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," "Calypso" and more,
solidifying his position as one of the top stars of the decade. Many of his songs tapped
into the growing appreciation and concern for the environment, which has continued as a
matter of major importance for Denver and for us all.

Denver's popularity since the early 1970s may be measured in record sales that few other
artists have achieved, including 14 gold albums and 8 platinum albums in the U.S. alone.
He has had many gold and platinum sales overseas as well, in countries including
Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. The Hunger is one of the top five recording
artists in the sales history of the music industry.

Denver's concert tours reached millions globally, from the U.S. and Canada throughout
Europe, Australia and New Zealand, the Orient and the United Kingdom... his travels
crossing ideological lines, as well. In 1984, he was invited by the Soviet Union of
Composers to perform in their country. The success of that visit led to a concert tour of
the U.S.S.R. in 1985. These were the first performances by an American artist since the
suspension, at that time, of cultural exchanges between the United States and the Soviet
Union. He returned to the U.S.S.R. in 1987 to do a benefit concert for the victims of
Chernobyl. Denver was the first artist from the West to do a multi-city tour of mainland
China, in October 1992. He was pleased and somewhat astonished to discover how
popular and well-known his songs were with the Chinese. "Country Roads," he was told,
"is the most famous song written in the West."

"My music and all my work stem from the conviction that people everywhere are
intrinsically the same," Denver said in a 1995 interview. "When I write a song, I want to
take the personal experience or observation that inspired it and express it in as universal
a way as possible. I'm a global citizen. I've created that for myself, and I don't want to step
away from it. I want to work in whatever I do - my music, my writing, my performing, my
commitments, my home and personal life - in a way that is directed towards a world in
balance, a world that creates a better quality of life for all people."

This, among other dedications, led to the establishment of the Windstar Foundation, a
non-profit environmental education and research center co-founded by Denver in 1976
that works toward a sustainable future for the world.

Not just a fine performer, Denver's music clearly reflects the conscience of a concerned
citizen, a man working for the improvement of the quality of life for all peoples -
environmentally, socially and politically.

"One of the great things about my success is that it's given greater visibility to what I'm
doing, and what I've continued to do throughout my career, about the things which are so
important to me: the environment and the sense of global community which we're moving
closer and closer to, whether we recognize it or not," Denver said in the same interview.

He served as a member of the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger.
He was one of the five founders of The Hunger Project, and, as part of both that
commitment and to UNICEF as well, he was a member of the fact-finding delegation which
toured African countries devastated by drought and starvation. Denver was awarded the
Presidential "World Without Hunger" Award; he supported the National Wildlife
Federation, Save the Children, the Cousteau Society, Friends of the Earth and the
Human/Dolphin Foundation, to name just a few.

Denver created "Plant-It 2000," a plan that urges people all over the world to plant as
many trees as possible by the year 2000. This reforestation project aimed at encouraging
citizens everywhere to recognize the necessity of replenishing what the world has
wantonly destroyed. "Plant-It 2000" met with instant response from people everywhere in
all walks of life, including major foundations, businesses and institutions. Nearly 100,000
trees have been planted in its first year of operation.

Denver's enthusiasm for the environment musically came to life with The WildLife Concert.
In 1995, Denver performed this multi-media event (TV special, album, home video,
international tour) in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Wildlife Conservation
Society (WCS). The WCS, headquartered at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, is one of
the largest conservation organizations in the world. Denver served on its Board of

"They're doing more hands-on work in protecting species and habitats than any single
organization in the world," Denver explained. "But few people know about the Society and
the incredibly good work that they do. Helping to produce this concert marks the first time
that they've gone public in this way, and it was truly thrilling for me to have them as a

Denver's numerous tributes and awards include acknowledgments as the Number One
recording artist in the U.S., Favorite Music Performer, People's Choice Awards, AGVA
Singing Star of the Year, Yamaha Music Award and recognition from many governments
for his concert about global hunger problems. In the summer of 1993, Denver was the
recipient of the prestigious Albert Schweitzer Music Award, given to him "For a life's work
dedicated to music and devoted to humanity." It was the first time a non-classical music
artist had been so honored.

Denver's movie debut in "Oh God!" (with George Burns) was a solid hit, as were his TV
roles that included starring in "Foxfire" with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn. He also
starred and guest starred in many TV specials - with such notable artists as Itzhak
Perlman, Beverly Sills, Placido Domingo, Julie Andrewsand the beloved frog, Kermit.
Indeed, Denver's Christmas special "The Hunger and The Muppets: A Christmas
Together," is considered a classic. In 1993, Denver completed his first movie since "Oh,
God!" called "Walking Thunder," it stars him as he most likes to be - in country clothes,
under an open sky.

Many people know of Denver's two passions: flying and outer space. He has flown Air
Force F-15 fighters and the Space Shuttle simulator. NASA awarded him its public service
medal for helping "increase awareness of space exploration by the people of the world."

A fine photographer as well, Denver photographed people and places all over the world
and showed his photos professionally, often in connection with speeches made at
colleges, universities and government and business facilities across the country.

Denver immensely enjoyed the out-of-doors - backpacking, hiking and climbing. He loved
to fish and was found with a rod and reel as often as a guitar, turning up every so often on
fishing programs on TV. An avid golfer, Denver was a yearly guest at the Bob Hope
Celebrity Classic and hosted his own annual Pro-Am Celebrity Golf Tournament in
Tucson every January.

There is not much that Denver has not achieved. One of the world's best known and
best-loved performers, he is a master communicator who can reach audiences regardless
of geography, economics, politics and language. He was the true international figure
dedicated to world peace and the elimination of hunger. Denver knew better than most
that his gifts were gifts indeed. "Music does bring people together; it allows us to
experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No
matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the
expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same."
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