Born John Deutschendorf into a military family in 1943, in the Air Force base located at Roswell, New Mexico, he arrived just four years before the infamous aliens' spacecraft crash is believed by many to have landed there. Denver had no interest in discussing the alien incident; rather, he began playing guitar and singing at age 12. He adopted the surname "Denver" for the capital of his favorite state, after he was told that Deutschendorf wouldn't fit comfortably on building marquees. In 1964, he dropped out of the architecture program at Texas Tech University and moved to LA to become a folk singer.
After four years and limited success with The Mitchell Trio, he launched his solo career. By the mid-1970s, Denver had sold over 20 million records, was the host of a popular TV variety series, had played countless sold out concerts around the world, and had begun a moderately successful career as a film actor. His biggest hits include "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Calypso," "Annie's Song," "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," and "Rocky Mountain High."
John Denver died tragically in a plane crash in October 1997, at the age of 53. In early 2007, "Rocky Mountain High" was declared the new state song of Colorado.
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