Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

More than Military

Award-winning Singer, Songwriter, Environmentalist

John Denver, American folk singer-songwriter and folk rock musician, was one of the most popular artists of the 1970s - a GI kid who went on to redefine the genre of folksongs. One of the world's best-loved performers, John Denver earned international acclaim as a songwriter, performer, actor, environmentalist and humanitarian. John's music has spanned three decades, outlasted countless musical trends, and won him numerous music awards and honors, including a 1996 Induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and the 1993 prestigious Albert Schweitzer Music award.

Born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in Roswell, NM, the son of U.S Air Force officer and flight instructor Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr., John was a typical military kid, with a military family that moved around the American Southwest and South while he was growing up.

John's artistic journey began after the family moved to Tucson, where at age eleven, he was given his grandmother's guitar. John eventually took up guitar lessons and joined a boy's choir, which led him at age 20 to pursue career in music.

In 1963, John moved to Los Angeles and the burgeoning music scene. Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. became John Denver, taking his is stage name from the beautiful Rocky Mountain capital city of Colorado.

Denver experienced his first major break in the music industry when he was chosen from 250 other hopefuls as lead singer for the popular Mitchell Trio. Two years and three albums later, John had his own song writing style. He gained national recognition when his song, Leaving On A Jet Plane, was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, becoming their first and only Number One hit.

Less than two years later, John was climbing up the Pop charts with songs like "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Rocky Mountain High," "Sunshine On My Shoulders," "Annie's Song," "Back Home Again," "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," and "Calypso."

Denver's concert tours reached millions globally. The world embraced John's talent which gained him 14 gold albums and 8 platinum albums in the U.S as well as gold and platinum sales overseas.

During his extensive career, Denver recorded and release some 300 songs, about half of which he composed. John Denver has been referred to as "The Poet For the Planet", "Mother Nature's Son" (based on The Beatles song he covered) and "A Song's Best Friend."

He was named Poet Laureate of Colorado in 1977.

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