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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Storytelling through popular song

“I was never trying to write a hit.  I was just trying to write good songs and get a message out, and it was my great good fortune to be popular.” – John Denver

Born on this date in 1943, Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., best known by his recording name John Denver, wrote more than 200 songs and recorded more than 300 in his relatively short lifetime, becoming one of the world’s most popular folk/country/soft rock singers and performers.  Among his hits were the song known as Colorado’s “unofficial” anthem, Rocky Mountain High, and West Virginia's "unofficial" anthem Country Roads.

A great storyteller, both with his songs and while writing about his love for and activism on behalf of nature, he also wrote beautiful tales about people and relationships.  Among them are the very moving Poems, Prayers and Promises, often sung at funerals, and the beautiful Annie’s Song, sung at countless weddings.

And who couldn’t love his raucous Thank God I’m A Country Boy – which I always thought spoke to any kid who was raised on a farm or ranch.   In his lifetime, which ended in a tragic plane crash in 1997, Denver’s songs sold a remarkable 33 million copies and they continue to be re-recorded and listened to by new generations.
                          To put a little cheer into the end of the year, here is Denver’s happy-go-lucky Grandma’s Feather Bed.  Enjoy …. and Happy New Year!

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