The son of a US Air Force pilot, John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf on 31 December 1943 and raised all over the US before getting into music while at college in Texas.
After working for four years in the Chad Mitchell Trio, he signed with RCA in 1969. His first album, Rhymes and Reasons (1969) contained the song Leaving On A Jet Plane which became a million-seller for Peter, Paul and Mary.
Denver’s hit single Take Me Home Country Roads (1971) established his soft singing style.
Dedicated to his wife, Ann Martell, Denver wrote Annie’s Song (1974) in ten minutes on a skiing holiday in Switzerland while the couple were undergoing a trial separation. The song helped heal a temporary rift in their marriage but, unfortunately, the couple divorced in 1983.
Denver was arrested in 1993 for drunk driving in his hometown of Aspen, Colorado. He was caught committing the same offence a year later.
He died in a plane crash on 12 October 1997.