posted March 04, 2012 04:53 PM
I still can't understand
how he could of possibly
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Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.
December 31, 1943
Roswell, New Mexico
October 12, 1997 (aged 53)
(53 years, 285 days)
Pacific Grove, California
Country, folk, pop
Singer-songwriter, Instrumentalist, Record producer, Composer, Activist, Actor
Vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards, violin
Mercury, RCA, BMG, Windstar, Sony Wonder
The John Denver Band, The Back Porch Majority, The New Christy Minstrels, Chad Mitchell Trio, The Muppets, Olivia Newton-John, Plácido Domingo, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, Glen Campbell
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver, was an American singer/songwriter, activist, and humanitarian. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer. Throughout his life Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed. He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and relationship trials. Denver's music appeared on a variety of charts including country & western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him 12 gold and 4 platinum albums with his signature songs "Sunshine on My Shoulders", "Take Me Home, Country Roads", "Leaving on a Jet Plane", "Rocky Mountain High", "Annie's Song" and "Calypso".
Denver further starred in films and several notable television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In the following decades he continued to record, but also focused on calling attention to environmental issues, lent his vocal support to space exploration, and testified in front of Congress to protest censorship in music. He is known for his love of the state of Colorado, which he sang about numerous times. He lived in Aspen, Colorado for much of his life, and influenced the governor to name him Poet Laureate of the state in 1974. The Colorado state legislature also adopted "Rocky Mountain High" as one of its state songs in 2007. He was an avid pilot, and died while flying his personal aircraft at the age of 53. Denver was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s.
[hide] 1 Biography 1.1 Early years
1.2 Solo career
1.3 Career peak 1.3.1 Political activism
1.4 Later years and humanitarian work
1.5 Personal life
2 Posthumous recognition
3 Related artists
4 Awards and recognition 4.1 Other recognition
7 Selected writings
10 External links
 Early years
Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was born in Roswell, New Mexico, to Erma Louise Swope and Lt. Col. Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr., an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (who set three speed records in the B-58 Hustler bomber and earned a place in the Air Force Hall of Fame). Henry Sr. was of German ancestry, and met and married his "Oklahoma Sweetheart". Denver's Irish Catholic and German maternal grandmother was the one who imbued Denver with his love of music. In his autobiography, Take Me Home, Denver described his life as the eldest son of a family shaped by a stern father who could not show his love for his children.
Because Denver's father was in the military, the family moved often, making it difficult for young John to make friends and fit in with people of his own age. Constantly being the new kid was agony for the introverted child, and he grew up always feeling as if he should be somewhere else, but never knowing where that "right" place was. While living in Tucson, Arizona, Denver was a member of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus for two years. Denver was happy living in Tucson, but his father was transferred to Montgomery, Alabama, then in the midst of the Montgomery boycotts. The family later moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Denver graduated from Arlington Heights High School. Attending high school in Fort Worth was a distressing experience for the disenfranchised Denver. In his third year of high school, he borrowed his father's car and ran away to California to visit family friends and begin his music career. His father flew to California to bring him back, and Denver unhappily returned to finish high school.
At the age of 11, Denver received an acoustic guitar from his grandmother. He learned to play well enough to perform at local clubs by the time he was in college. He adopted the surname "Denver" after the capital of his favorite state, Colorado. He decided to change his name when Randy Sparks, founder of The New Christy Minstrels, suggested that "Deutschendorf" wouldn't fit comfortably on a marquee. Denver attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock and sang in a folk-music group called "The Alpine Trio" while pursuing architecture studies. He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Denver dropped out of the Texas Tech School of Engineering in 1963, and moved to Los Angeles, California, where he sang in the smoky underground folk clubs. In 1965, Denver joined the Chad Mitchell Trio, a folk group that had been renamed "The Mitchell Trio" prior to Chad Mitchell's departure and before Denver's arrival, and then "Denver, Boise, and Johnson" (John Denver, David Boise, and Michael Johnson).
 Solo career
In 1969, John Denver abandoned the band life to pursue a solo career and released his first album for RCA Records: Rhymes & Reasons. Two years prior Denver had made a self-produced demo recording of some of the songs he played at his concerts. He included in the demo a song called "Babe I Hate to Go," later renamed "Leaving on A Jet Plane." Denver made several copies and gave them out as presents for Christmas. Mitchell Trio manager Milt Okun brought the unreleased "Jet Plane" song to the high-profile folk group Peter, Paul and Mary. Their version of the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
Although RCA did not actively promote Rhymes & Reasons with a tour, Denver himself embarked on an impromptu supporting tour throughout the Midwest, stopping at towns and cities as the fashion took him, offering to play free concerts at local venues. When he was successful in convincing a school, college, American Legion Hall, or local coffee-house to let him play, he would spend a day or so postering the town and could usually be counted upon to show up at the local radio station, guitar in hand, offering himself for an interview. With his foot-in-the-door of having authored "Leaving on a Jet Plane", he was often successful in gaining some valuable promotional airtime, usually featuring one or two songs performed live. Some venues would let him play for the "door"; others restricted him to selling copies of the album at intermission and after the show. After several months of this constant low-key touring schedule, however, he had sold enough albums to convince RCA to take a chance on extending his recording contract. He had also built a sizable and solid fan base, many of whom remained loyal throughout his career.
Denver recorded two more albums in 1970, Take Me to Tomorrow and Whose Garden Was This, featuring songs he had composed while driving the roads of the American Midwest. Although these albums were not as successful as those that followed, they would all be certified gold by the RIAA and would generally be considered some of his best work.
 Career peak
His next album, Poems, Prayers, and Promises (released in 1971), was a breakthrough for him in the U.S., thanks in part to the single "Take Me Home, Country Roads", which went to No.2 on the Billboard charts despite the first pressings of the track being distorted. Its success was due in part to the efforts of his new manager, future Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub, who signed Denver in 1970. Weintraub insisted on a re-issue of the track and began a radio-airplay campaign that started in Denver, Colorado. Denver's career flourished from then on, and he had a series of hits over the next four years. In 1972, Denver scored his first Top Ten album with Rocky Mountain High, with its title track reaching the Top Ten in 1973. Between 1974 and 1975, Denver experienced an impressive chart dominance, with a string of four No.1 songs ("Sunshine on My Shoulders", "Annie's Song", "Thank God I'm a Country Boy", and "I'm Sorry") and three No.1 albums (John Denver's Greatest Hits, Back Home Again, and Windsong).
In the 1970s, Denver's onstage appearance included long blond hair, embroidered shirts emblazoned with images commonly associated with the American West (created by designer & appliqué artist Anna Zapp), and "granny" glasses. His manager, Jerry Weintraub, insisted on a significant number of television appearances, including a series of half-hour shows in England, despite Denver's protests at the time, "I've had no success in Britain...I mean none." Weintraub explained to Maureen Orth of Newsweek in December 1976, "I knew the critics would never go for John. I had to get him to the people."
After appearing as a guest on many shows, Denver went on to host his own variety/music specials, including several concerts from Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. His seasonal special, Rocky Mountain Christmas, was watched by more than 60 million people and was the highest-rated show for the ABC network at that time.
John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together.
His live concert special, An Evening with John Denver, won the 1974–1975 Emmy for Outstanding Special, Comedy-Variety or Music. When Denver ended his business relationship because of Weintraub's focus on other projects, Weintraub threw Denver out of his office and called him a Nazi. Denver would later tell Arthur Tobier, when the latter transcribed his autobiography, "...I'd bend my principles to support something he wanted of me. And of course every time you bend your principles – whether because you don't want to worry about it, or because you're afraid to stand up for fear of what you might lose – you sell your soul to the devil."
Denver was also a guest star on The Muppet Show, the beginning of the lifelong friendship between Denver and Jim Henson that spawned two television specials with The Muppets. He also tried his hand at acting, appearing in the The Colorado Cattle Caper episode of the McCloud television movie on February 24, 1974, and starring in the 1977 film Oh, God! opposite George Burns. Denver hosted the Grammy Awards five times in the 1970s and 1980s and guest-hosted The Tonight Show on multiple occasions. In 1975, Denver was awarded the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award. At the ceremony, the outgoing Entertainer of the Year Charlie Rich presented the award to his successor, but in protest of what he considered the inappropriateness of Denver's selection, Rich set fire to the envelope containing the official notification of the award. However, Denver's music was defended by country singer Kathy Mattea, who told Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly, "A lot of people write him off as lightweight, but he articulated a kind of optimism, and he brought acoustic music to the forefront, bridging folk, pop, and country in a fresh way.... People forget how huge he was worldwide."
In 1977, Denver cofounded The Hunger Project with Werner Erhard and Robert W. Fuller. He served for many years and supported the organization until his death. Denver was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the President's Commission on World Hunger, writing the song "I Want to Live" as its theme song. In 1979, Denver performed "Rhymes & Reasons" at the Music for UNICEF Concert. Royalties from the concert performances were donated to UNICEF. His father taught him to fly in the mid-1970s, which led to a reconciliation between father and son. In 1980, Denver and his father, Lt. Col. “Dutch” Deutschendorf, co-hosted an award winning television special, "The Higher We Fly: the History of Flight." It won the Osborn Award from the Aviation/Space Writers’ Association, and was honored by the Houston Film Festival.
 Political activism
Denver became outspoken in politics in the mid-1970s. In 1976, he campaigned for Jimmy Carter, who became a close friend and ally. Denver was a supporter of the Democratic Party and of a number of charitable causes for the environmental movement, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, and the African AIDS crisis. He founded the charitable Windstar Foundation in 1976, to promote sustainable living. His dismay at the Chernobyl disaster led to precedent-setting concerts in parts of communist Asia and Europe.
During the 1980s, Denver was critical of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Administration, but he remained active in his campaign against hunger, for which Reagan awarded Denver the Presidential World Without Hunger Award in 1985. Denver's criticism of the conservative politics of the 1980s was expressed in his autobiographical folk-rock ballad "Let Us Begin (What Are We Making Weapons For)." Denver was also critical of the Republican-dominated Congress and American Conservatism of the 1990s. He denounced the National Rifle Association (NRA) as a corrupt political machine that could buy off politicians, and in an open letter to the media, he wrote that he opposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Denver had battled to expand the refuge in the 1980s, and he praised President Bill Clinton for his opposition to the proposed drilling. The letter, which he wrote in the midst of the 1996 presidential election, was one of the last he ever wrote. Denver was also on the Board of Governors of the National Space Society for many years.
 Later years and humanitarian work
He had a few more U.S. Top 30 hits as the 1970s ended, but nothing to match his earlier success. He began to focus more on humanitarian and sustainability causes, focusing extensively on conservation projects. He made public expression of his acquaintances and friendships with ecological-design researchers such as Richard Buckminster Fuller and Amory Lovins, from whom he said he learned much. He also founded two environmental groups; the Windstar Foundation and Plant-It 2020 (originally Plant-It 2000). Denver had a keen interest in solutions to world hunger. He visited Africa during the 1980s to witness first-hand the suffering caused by starvation and to work with African leaders toward solutions.
John Denver testifies before the US Senate, 1985
In 1983 and 1984, Denver hosted the annual Grammy Awards. In the 1983 finale, Denver was joined on stage by folk-music legend Joan Baez with whom he led an all-star version of "Blowin' in the Wind" and Let The Sunshine In, joined by such diverse musical icons as Jennifer Warnes, Donna Summer, and Rick James.
In 1984, Roone Arlidge, president of ABC Sports, asked Denver to compose and sing the theme song for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Denver worked as both a performer and a skiing commentator (skiing was another avocation of Denver's). He had written "The Gold and Beyond", and sang it for the Olympic Games athletes, as well as local venues including many schools.
In 1985, Denver asked to participate in the singing of "We Are the World" but was turned down. According to Ken Kragen (who helped to produce the song), the reason that John Denver was turned down was that many people felt his image would hurt the credibility of the song as a pop-rock anthem. "I didn't agree" with this assessment, Kragen said, but reluctantly turned Denver down anyway.
For Earth Day 1990, Denver was the on-camera narrator of a well-received environmental TV program, "In Partnership With Earth," with then–EPA Administrator William K. Reilly.
With Denver's innate love of flying he was naturally attracted to NASA and became dedicated to America’s work in outer space. He conscientiously worked to help bring into being the “Citizens in Space” program. Denver received the NASA Public Service Medal, in 1985 for “helping to increase awareness of space exploration by the peoples of the world,” an award usually restricted to spaceflight engineers and designers. Also in 1985, Denver passed NASA’s rigorous physical exam and was in line for a space flight, a finalist for the first citizen’s trip on the Space Shuttle in 1986. He was not chosen. After the Challenger disaster with teacher Christa McAuliffe aboard, John dedicated his song “Flying for Me”, to all astronauts, and he continued to support NASA.
Denver testified before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on the topic of censorship during a Parents Music Resource Center hearing in 1985. Denver also toured Russia in 1985. His 11 Soviet Union concerts were the first by any American artist in more than 10 years, and they marked a very important cultural exchange that culminated in an agreement to allow other western artists to perform there. He returned two years later to perform at a benefit concert for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. In October 1992, John undertook a multiple-city tour of the People's Republic of China. He also released a greatest-hits CD, "Homegrown," to raise money for homeless charities.
In 1994, he published his autobiography, Take Me Home, in which he candidly spoke of his marijuana, LSD, and cocaine use, his marital infidelities, history of domestic violence, and a suicide attempt in a London hotel room. In 1996, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In early 1997, Denver filmed an episode for the Nature series, centering on the natural wonders that inspired many of his best-loved songs. The episode contains his last song, "Yellowstone, Coming Home," which he composed while rafting along the Colorado River with his son and young daughter.
In the summer of 1997, Denver recorded a children's train album for Sony Wonder, entitled All Aboard!, produced by long-time friend Roger Nichols. The album consisted of old-fashioned swing, big band, folk, bluegrass, and gospel styles of music woven into a theme of railroad songs. This album won a posthumous Best Musical Album For Children Grammy for Denver, which was his only Grammy.
 Personal life
Denver's first marriage was to Annie Martell of St. Peter, Minnesota. Their wedding was held at the Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College. Annie was the subject of his hit Annie's Song, which he composed in only ten minutes while on a ski lift in 1974. The couple lived in Edina, Minnesota from 1968 to 1971. Following the success of "Rocky Mountain High," Denver purchased a residence in Colorado and owned one home in Colorado continuously until his death. He and Annie adopted a son, Zachary, and daughter, Anna Kate, who John would say were “meant to be” theirs. John once said, "I'll tell you the best thing about me. I'm some guy's dad; I'm some little gal's dad. When I die, Zachary John and Anna Kate's father, boy, that's enough for me to be remembered by. That's more than enough." Zachary was the subject of "A Baby Just Like You," a song that included the line "Merry Christmas, little Zachary" and which he wrote for Frank Sinatra. Denver and Annie Martell divorced in 1982 and the ensuing property settlement caused Denver to become so enraged he nearly choked his ex-wife, then used a chainsaw to cut the marital bed in half. Martell continues to live in Aspen, Colorado.
John Denver married Australian actress Cassandra Delaney in 1988, after a two-year courtship. Settling in Aspen, the couple had a daughter, Jesse Belle. Denver and Delaney separated in 1991 and divorced in 1993. Of his second marriage, Denver would later recall that "before our short-lived marriage ended in divorce, she managed to make a fool of me from one end of the valley to the other." In 1993, Denver pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge in 1993, and was placed on probation. In August 1994, while still on probation, he was again charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence after crashing his Porsche into a tree in Aspen, Colorado. Though a jury trial in July 1997 resulted in a hung jury on the second DUI charge, prosecutors later decided to reopen the case, which was only closed after Denver's untimely death in October 1997. In 1996, the FAA decided that Denver could no longer fly a plane due to medical disqualification for failure to abstain from alcohol, a condition that the FAA had imposed in October 1995 after his prior drunk driving conviction.
Denver's talent extended beyond music. He was a painter as well but because of his limiting schedule, he pursued photography. He once said that "photography is a way to communicate a feeling." Denver was an avid skier and golfer. His love of flying was secondary only to his love for music. He collected vintage biplanes, and in 1974, he bought a Learjet, which he used to fly himself to concerts. He also bought a Christen Eagle aerobatic plane, two Cessna 210 and in 1997, an experimental, amateur-built Rutan Long-EZ.
A Long-EZ two seat canard plane similar to Denver's
On October 12, 1997, Denver was killed at the age of 53 when his experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane, aircraft registration number N555JD, crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California while making a series of touch-and-go landings at the nearby Monterey Peninsula Airport. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident ID is LAX98FA008. As the crash badly disfigured Denver's head and body, making identification by dental records impossible, records of his fingerprints taken from his arrests for intoxicated driving were used to confirm that the fallen pilot was indeed the singer.
A pilot with over 2,700 hours of experience, Denver had single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, glider, and instrument ratings. He also held a type rating in his Learjet. He had recently purchased the Long-EZ aircraft, and had taken a half-hour checkout flight with the aircraft the day before the accident. However, Denver did not possess a valid FAA medical certification. Denver was the sole occupant of the aircraft.
In 1996, nearly a year before the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration had learned of Denver's failure to abstain entirely from alcohol after his drunk driving arrests, and had previously revoked his medical certification. Since Denver was required by the FAA to have at least a third-class medical certification in order to exercise the privileges of his pilot certificate, he was not legally able to fly at the time of the accident. However, there was no trace of alcohol or drugs in Denver's body at autopsy.
Post-accident investigation by the NTSB showed that the experimental Rutan as built had an unusual reconfiguration of the fuel selector valve handle, which had been moved from the instrument panel to behind the left shoulder of the pilot. Wreckage examination by NTSB investigators revealed that the selector handle was not placarded or marked for any operating position. According to a pilot who had flown the aircraft in a prior checkout flight, the handle in the right position was for the left tank, the handle in the down position was for the right tank, and the off position was up. An NTSB interview with the aircraft mechanic servicing Denver's plane revealed that he and Denver had discussed the inaccessibility of the cockpit fuel selector valve handle and its resistance to being turned. Before the flight, Denver and the mechanic had attempted to extend the reach of the handle, using a pair of vice grip pliers. However, this did not solve the problem as the pilot could still not reach the handle while strapped into his seat. When investigators attempted to switch fuel tanks in a similar Long EZ, each time while an investigator turned his body the 90 degrees required to reach the valve, his natural tendency was to extend his right foot against the right rudder pedal to support his body as he turned in the seat, causing the aircraft to yaw and pitch up.
After the mechanic noted that the fuel sight gauges were only visible to the rear cockpit occupant, Denver asked him about the quantity of fuel shown. The mechanic told Denver that he had "less than half in the right tank and less than a quarter in the left tank". The mechanic then provided Denver with a shop inspection mirror so that he could look over his shoulder at the fuel sight gauges; the mirror was later recovered in the wreckage. Denver told the mechanic that he would use the autopilot inflight, if necessary, to hold the airplane level while he turned the fuel selector valve. Denver declined an offer to take on additional fuel, telling the mechanic that he would only be flying for about one hour.
Twenty witnesses to the accident were interviewed by the NTSB, some of whom observed the plane's crash into the ocean near Point Pinos. Four of the witnesses indicated that the airplane was originally heading west; five of them observed the airplane in a steep bank, with four of those five reporting the bank was to the right (north). Twelve witnesses saw the airplane in a steep nose-down descent, and 6 of them saw the airplane hit the water. Witnesses estimated the plane's height at 350 to 500 feet while heading toward the shoreline. Eight of the witnesses said that they heard a "pop" or "backfire," along with a reduction in the engine noise level just before the airplane descended into the water.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined the probable cause of the crash was the pilot's diversion of attention from the operation of the airplane and his inadvertent application of right rudder that resulted in the loss of airplane control while attempting to manipulate the fuel selector handle, resulting in a crash into the ocean. The Board also determined that the pilot's inadequate transition training, lack of total flight experience in type, and inadequate preflight planning and preparations, specifically his failure to refuel the airplane, were causal. The Board also singled out the aircraft builder's decision to locate the unmarked fuel selector handle in a hard-to-access position along with installing unmarked fuel quantity sight gauges as factors in the accident.
Upon announcement of Denver's death, Colorado governor Roy Romer ordered all state flags to be lowered to half staff in his honor. Funeral services were held at Faith Presbyterian Church in Aurora, Colorado, on October 17, 1997, being officiated by Pastor Les Felker, a retired Air Force chaplain. Later, Denver's ashes were scattered in the Rocky Mountains. Further tributes were made at the following Grammys and Country Music Association Awards. On September 23, 2007, nearly ten years after his death, his brother Ron witnessed the dedication of a plaque placed near the crash-site in Pacific Grove, California, commemorating the singer.
 Posthumous recognition
In 2000, CBS presented the television movie Take Me Home: The John Denver Story loosely based on his memoirs, starring Chad Lowe. Denver's brother, Ron Deutschendorf, voiced the feelings of many of the singer's fans when he wrote a letter to the Los Angeles Times criticizing the film's many inaccuracies: multiple chronological errors, exaggerated difficulties in his relationship with his father, and a completely superficial treatment of Denver's commitment to his various causes. As the New York Post observed, "An overachiever like John Denver couldn't have been this boring."
Denver's music remains extremely popular around the world. Previously unreleased and unnoticed recordings are now sought-after collectibles in pop, folk and country genres. Also in demand are copies of Denver's many television appearances, especially his one-hour specials from the 1970s and his six-part series for Britain's BBC, The John Denver Show. Despite strong interest in these programs, no sign of "official" release is evident for the vast majority of this material. An anthology musical featuring John Denver's music, Back Home Again: A John Denver Holiday, premiered at the Rubicon Theatre Company in November 2006.
On March 12, 2007, Colorado's Senate passed a resolution to make Denver's trademark 1972 hit "Rocky Mountain High" one of the state's two official state songs, sharing duties with its predecessor, "Where the Columbines Grow." The resolution passed 50–11 in the House, defeating an objection by Rep. Debbie Stafford (R-Aurora) that the song reflected drug use, most specifically the line, "Friends around the campfire and everybody's high." Sen. Bob Hagedorn, the Aurora Democrat who sponsored the proposal, defended the song as nothing to do with drugs, but everything to do with sharing with friends the euphoria of experiencing the beauty of Colorado's mountain vistas. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) said that "John Denver to me is an icon of what Colorado is." Similar proposals have also been made to the West Virginia House of Delegates to make "Take Me Home Country Roads" the official song of that particular state, so far without success.
The lyrics to "Rocky Mountain High", one of Colorado's official state songs, in Rio Grande Park near Denver's hometown of Aspen, Colorado.
On September 24, 2007, the California Friends of John Denver and The Windstar Foundation unveiled a bronze plaque near the spot where his plane went down near Pacific Grove. The site had been marked by a driftwood log carved (by Jeffrey Pine of Colorado) with the singer's name, but fears that the memorial could be washed out to sea sparked the campaign for a more permanent memorial. Initially the Pacific Grove Council denied permission for the memorial, fearing the place would attract ghoulish curiosity from extreme fans. Permission was finally granted in 1999, but the project was put on hold at the request of the singer's family. Eventually, over 100 friends and family attended the dedication of the plaque, which features a bas-relief of the singer's face and lines from his song "Windsong": "So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers. Follow her summons when she calls again."
To mark the 10th anniversary of Denver's death, his family released a set of previously unreleased recordings of Denver's 1985 concert performances in the Soviet Union. This two-CD set, John Denver – Live in the USSR, was produced by Denver's friend Roger Nichols, and released by AAO Music. These digital recordings were made during 11 concerts, and then rediscovered in 2002. Included in this set is a previously unpublished rendition of "Annie's Song" in Russian. The collection was released November 6, 2007.
On October 13, 2009, a DVD box set of previously unreleased concerts recorded throughout Denver's career was released by Eagle Rock Entertainment. "Around the World Live" is a 5-disc DVD set featuring three complete live performances with full band from Australia in 1977, Japan in 1981, and England in 1986. These are complemented by a solo acoustic performance from Japan in 1984, and performances at Farm Aid from 1985, 1987 and 1990. The final disc has two hour-long documentaries made by Denver.
On April 21, 2011, John Denver became the first inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. A benefit concert was held at Broomfield's 1STBANK Center and hosted by Olivia Newton-John. Other performers participating in the event included Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lee Ann Womack and John Oates. Both of his ex-wives were in attendance, and the award was presented to his three children.
 Related artists
Main article: The John Denver Band
Denver began his recording career with a group that had started as the Chad Mitchell Trio; his distinctive voice can be heard where he sings solo on Violets of Dawn, among other songs. He recorded three albums with the Mitchell Trio, replacing Chad Mitchell himself as high tenor. The group Denver, Boise and Johnson, which had evolved from the Mitchell Trio, released a single before he moved on to a solo career.
Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert, credited as co-writers of Denver's song "Take Me Home, Country Roads", were close friends of Denver and his family, appearing as singers and songwriters on many of Denver's albums until they formed the Starland Vocal Band in 1976. The band's albums were released on Denver's Windsong Records (later known as Windstar Records) label. Denver's solo recording contract resulted in part from the recording by Peter, Paul and Mary of his song "Leaving on a Jet Plane", which became the sole number 1 hit single for the group. Denver recorded songs by Tom Paxton, Eric Andersen, John Prine, David Mallett, and many others in the folk scene. His record company, Windstar, is still an active record label today. Country singer John Berry considers Denver the greatest influence on his own music and has recorded Denver's hit "Annie's Song" with the original arrangement.
Olivia Newton-John, an Australian singer whose across-the-board appeal to pop, MOR, and country audiences in the mid-1970s was similar to Denver's, lent her distinctive backup vocals to Denver's 1975 single "Fly Away"; she performed the song with Denver on his 1975 Rocky Mountain Christmas special. She also covered his "Take Me Home, Country Roads", and had a hit in the United Kingdom (#15 in 1973) and Japan (#6 in a belated 1976 release) with it. In 1976, John Denver appeared as a guest star, along with Olivia Newton-John, who made a cameo appearance, on The Carpenters Very First Special, a one-hour TV special broadcast on the ABC television network. A highlight of the program was John singing a duet with Karen Carpenter of a medley of "Through the Rye" and "Good Vibrations", although the medley was never released commercially as a single or on an album.
September 2008 saw the premiere of the musical Whisper the Wind in New Zealand, a tribute presentation covering highlights of Denver's life and career, with the younger Denver played by 21-year-old Dunedin musician Bevan Gardiner, whose vocal impersonation of the late singer was considered so accurate Denver's business manager Harold Thau could not tell them apart.
I often wonder about it. ...
All my love, with all my Heart