Singer John Denver died on this day in 1997. He was a folk singer, song writer, humanitarian and activist –advocating for the land and against war.
For many boomers, he was their voice, singing a little bit country, a little bit folk music about issues of the sixties and seventies as he strummed his acoustic guitar. He sold millions of records.
Denver married a woman from Minnesota, Annie Martell. The couple lived in my hometown for a few years and John performed at our high school in 1970. Students walked out in protest of proposed cuts in student activities and the teachers who supervised the activities. A student knew John Denver and asked Denver to play in support of our cause. He was not famous at the time; students loved his music and listened for hours.
Denver won an Emmy Award in 1974 for his live concert special “An Evening with John Denver.” He also made it to the big screen in 1977 when he played an everyday, working man in “Oh, God.” (George Burns played God.) Denver’s common-man persona endeared him to many.
John Denver died in a plane crash in 1997; the cause of the crash cited as his inability “to execute safely a switch of fuel tanks in flight.” Many of us remember where we were when we heard of his untimely death, a voice silenced. He was 53 years old.
Seventeen years later his music legacy continues with timeless messages and memories, sweet.
(S-R archive photo: Tumbleweeds cover a country road in Ordway, Colo)