Colorado Music Hall of Fame Inductee
From a success standpoint – John Denver rivals only Fort Morgan, Colorado’s Glenn Miller as a chart topper artist grounded within our State. Like Miller, Judy Collins and many other Colorado acts – Denver was a transplant to the Rockies. He was born in Roswell, New Mexico to a military family – and naturally moved around the U.S. as he was growing up.
Denver ran away from home as a teenager in Texas – headed for California to seek his musical call but was quickly retrieved by the family – returning to Texas to complete high school. He entered college briefly in Texas but soon dropped out to continue his musical pursuits. In 1965 he joined the Mitchell Trio (minus Chad) and eventually was joined by Colorado native Michael Johnson in the trio which changed names to “Denver, (David) Boise and Johnson”.
Denver’s big breakthrough was his composition “Leaving on a Jet Plane” which folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary took all the way to number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. His move to Colorado came in 1971 when he and his wife Annie (Martell) moved to the western slope ski town of Aspen. Denver’s life was not all roses as he testified in his autobiography. John Denver died in a self-piloted air crash in 1997 over the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California. He was 53 years old.