John Denver

“Country roads take me home, to the place where I belong, West Virginia, mountain momma, take me home, country roads”

A country song’s core lies in the soulful music of the soil and carefully crafted words that glorify the nature. Imagine yourself sinking in memories as you drive through a steep mountain way flanked by Pines and Rhododendron flowers, with John Denver playing in the CD player. With his “Country roads take me home” you can always relate your journey homebound. Or perhaps his ‘Sunshine on my shoulder’ may make your winter mornings. Such is his charisma, his music weaved with magic won a million hearts and counting no matter his unfortunate death.

Denver entered the country music scene in 1920s’way before Country music gained fame in America. The Rock and Pop lovers however didn’t quite bond with his music as it was straightforward and not psychedelic. They however later had to give in as Denver without any doubt carried on with his campaign to cast nature as the hero in his songs. As someone quite rightly said, if you give 50s’ to Elvis, 60s’ to Beatles, then you will have to admit John Denver dominated the 70s’.

Denver’s wide wings were brought into popularity in the year 1943 and it remained unchanged till 1997. He was born to a Mexican father, a U.S Air force pilot who didn’t approve of his son’s heed to start a career in music. Denver, however, after many clashes with his father took him on board to pursue a career in music. His grandmother was his guiding angel in his musical career who herself was a great fan of country music. Denver received his first Gibson guitar as a gift from his grand mom which had him over the moon. He would spend hours listening to country music of that era in his grandmother’s farm in Oklahoma, United States. Later on, when his family shifted to Forth Worth, Texas, he attended Texas Tech University (Dept of Architecture) in Lubbock and joined a folk music group called Alpine trio which helped him find his feet in the music scene.

Nature’s spirituality and its gifts were never missed by Denver’s watchful eyes; they always had a key role each in its platter when it came to Denver’s music. Denver later cut out a dash and grew a huge fan of pop, adult contemporary music contrary to his ‘Annie’s song’ and “Thank god I’m a country boy’ always being at the receiving point of ridicule. He dedicated ‘Annie’s song’ to his first wife and made no bones about making it distinctly romantic and warm. I still get ripples in my heart when Annie’s song is turned on.

“You fill up my senses, like a night in the forest, like the mountains in spring time, like a walk in the rain, like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean, you fill up my senses, come fill me again”

Although a little mushy, but both the songs became household names for the country purists.

Then there was “Rocky Mountain high” which was considered as the most important song of Denver. It gave a leg up to the generation that came out off the Woodstock era, who wanted to raise families, and who solely liked peaceful and less chaotic music.

His music always had a message of saving the earth, and as for that he mixed song, poetry to make it appear more interesting in his concerts. The music he created was a refuge for the people who found it suffocating in chaotic city life, a gush of rejuvenating breeze so to say.


About the author: Shreyashi Das

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