John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in 1943) was one of the most popular recording artists this country has ever known. Somewhere around the mid-’60s, he changed his name to John Denver, after the capital city of his favorite state. He later made his home in Aspen, where he lived until his death in 1997. An avid outdoorsman, photographer and environmentalist, Denver was able to indulge his passions in Colorado. In 2007, his “Rocky Mountain High” became the state’s second official song.
Denver’s lifelong friendship with Muppets puppeteer Jim Henson spawned two now-classic specials, A Christmas Together and Rocky Mountain Holiday. His movie debut in the comedy Oh God! alongside George Burns was a solid hit, and he starred in many television productions, including The Christmas Gift, which was filmed in the Rocky Mountains in 1986.
Denver’s father, a U.S. Air Force test pilot nicknamed “Dutch,” taught him how to fly, and their shared passion brought them closer together. Sadly, Denver, a licensed pilot, died at age 53 when his experimental aircraft crashed in the Pacific Ocean in October 1997.
The Colorado Music Hall of Fame was proud to induct John Denver on April 21, 2011.
Denver’s popularity was measured in record sales that few other artists have achieved, including eight platinum albums in the U.S. alone. John Denver’s Greatest Hits is still the biggest-selling album in the history of RCA Records. A cheerfully optimistic image marked Denver’s 1970s heyday, when he became one of the five top-selling recording artists in the history of the music industry.
Red Rocks Amphitheater
Nature’s prehistoric upthrust of the Red Rocks area began some 70 to 40 million years ago with a geological event called the Laramide orogeny.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre as we know it was constructed from 1936 to 1941 by Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) youths, with an assist from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which built roads and parking lots. The CCC was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s pet project in pushing anti-Depression New Deal legislation. The workers dynamited, dug, embedded structural steel, and then reshaped stone and tiers of concrete seats over it.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre is heralded as America’s most important outdoor music venue, and every star in the musical galaxy has aspired to play on this special and magical stage. Among the highlights are the legendary Beatles show in 1964, Bruce Springsteen’s first-ever outdoor concert in 1978, and U2’s career-making 1983 video shoot.