John Denver: Five things you may not know
As the song goes, John Denver was born in the summer of his 27th year. That was1970, when the singer, who hadn't yet gained a huge amount of fame, moved to Aspen with his wife, Annie, and began writing the songs that we all know by heart.
Over the next decade, John Denver became synonymous with Colorado, dressing in his own version of Western wear and singing about the mountains. By the time he died in a plane crash in 1997, there was no better known Colorado celebrity, so it's only fitting that he will be the first person inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame this Thursday, April 21, at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield. Yesterday we took a look at Denver's top five songs. Today we present five things you may not have known about him.
Take me home: A lot of people thought John Denver was "far out," because of his style and his smile (not to mention his battle with drugs and alcohol), but Denver could have been out there for another reason, as well. He was born in Roswell, New Mexico, on New Year's Eve 1943, just four years before UFO believers say an alien ship crashed nearby.
Haters gonna hate: In 1975, Denver was named Entertainer of the Year at the annual Country Music Association awards show, but during the televised ceremony, country star Charlie Rich took out a lighter and burned the envelope with Denver's name on it. At the time, there were a lot of bad feelings between the old Nashville guard and some of the new country pop stars like Denver. Denver accepted the award via satellite.
Name game: Born as Henry John Deutschendorf, Denver actually began using his stage name in 1964 or 1965 -- long before he moved to Colorado -- because he liked its association with the mountains and the countryside.
Rocky Mountain highs: In just two years, 1974 and 1975, John Denver had four number-one hits: "Sunshine on My Shoulders," "Annie's Song," "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry." His best-selling album was John Denver's Greatest Hits, which sold more than nine million copies.
Prayers and poetry: In 1919, Colorado was the second state in the country, after California, to name a poet laureate. And although John Denver was supposedly appointed to the post in 1977, his name was not included by the state among the seven previous poet laureates when the most recent, David Mason, was named in 2010.