When John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997, then Governor Roy Romer ordered that all the flags in Colorado be lowered to half-staff in his honor. So it only makes sense that the singer (born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.) has been chosen to be the first person inducted into Colorado's Music Hall of Fame this Thursday, April 21 at Broomfield's 1STBANK Center.
After all, Denver wasn't just a denim-clad music legend -- he was also heavily involved in environmental conservation and politics, and spent his later life working on behalf of and giving to such causes (not to mention, anyone who's performed with the Muppets is aces in our book).
But it's his musical legacy that will be celebrated this Thursday at 1STBANK as he's honored by Olivia Newton-John, with members of John Denver's Band and the Boulder Philharmonic, conducted by Lee Holdridge, plus Lee Ann Womack, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Michael Martin Murphey, Richie Furay and John Oates (of Hall & Oates -- no word on whether Oates's famous mustache will make an appearance). Here's a little taste of our favorite ditties by this Colorado genius.
5. "Rocky Mountain High" We live in Colorado, so of course this baby is going to be on the list. But this was more than just a love song to the good ole' Rocky Mountains -- it was actually quite controversial because of the use of the word "high." Folks from Colorado today probably don't get that the "high" he's referring to is more of the around-the-campfire type, and not a result of all the medical marijuana dispensaries springing up like Starbucks. But no matter your personal high, this song will go down in history as one of Colorado's greatest anthems.
4. "Take Me Home, Country Roads" Thank you 1971 for creating the type of environment that a cheesy song likes this could be popular and loved so much. In 1972, it became the theme song of West Virginia University and has been performed at every football game ever since. It topped charts and has been covered a bazillion times. Most importantly, this song takes us to West Virginia without us being forced to actually go there. Nobody really wants to go there.
3. "Annie's Song" This song has been ruining relationships since 19-fucking-74. Apparently, he wrote this little ditty on a ski lift while thinking of his then-wife Annie Martell. (It makes you wonder if he ever got sick of singing a love song to his ex.) Fine, it's cheesy and kind of repeats itself over and over again, but let us tell you...sing this to your date at karaoke one night and BOOM! sexy time for you. Forever.
2. "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" I know he's passed on, but seeing his goofy ass singing this song in his rad polyester shirt will make any frowny-faced asshole turn into a smiling country boy. WOOO! This 1974 Billboard Hot Country Singles hit is one of Denver's more upbeat, face-paced (for Denver) hits. And, with baseball season fast approaching, we can all start tapping our toes at seventh inning stretches all over this fabulous United States of America. TAP! TAP!
1. "Sunshine on My Shoulders" If sunshine on your shoulders doesn't make you happy...you hate America.
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