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Monday, January 18, 2021

Fort Worth’s John Denver to get 4-CD career retrospective

The late John Denver will get a career retrospective in November when All of My Memories: The John Denver Collection is released. The 90-song, 4-CD box set, represents virtually every one of the studio and live albums he recorded in his lifetime, encompasses hit singles and signature album tracks, demos, promotional rarities, limited edition and private pressings, and a total of six previously unreleased tracks. Special guests on the discs include the Mitchell Trio, Olivia Newton-John, Sylvie Vartan, Placido Domingo, Emmylou Harris, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the Muppets, and others. Denver was raised in Fort Worth, attending high school at Arlington Heights. Denver was all over the place in the 1970s, on the radio, on TV and in the movies. He has notched sales of over 33 million to date, including eight Billboard Top 10 RCA Albums in the U.S. (three of which hit #1).

These include seven RIAA multi-platinum, thirteen platinum and 20 gold album certifications. He charted more than 40 Billboard Hot 100, AC and Country songs from 1971 to 1988. His #1 hits from 1974-’76 included “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Back Home Again,” “Sweet Surrender,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (a rare live record to top the chart), “Calypso” (a monument to his close association with undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau), “Fly Away” featuring Olivia Newton-John, “Look­ing For Space,” and “Like A Sad Song.” These and his ‘campfire’ standards, “Leaving On A Jet Plane,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads” (designated in 2014 as the state song of West Virginia), and “Rocky Mountain High” (designated in 2007 as one of two state songs of Colorado) – not to mention his numerous recordings, movies and television appearances with Jim Henson’s Muppets – comprise a large body of work.

John Denver would have turned 70 on Dec. 31, 2013. In November 2013, the BBC Four documentary, John Denver: Country Boy, premiered in recognition of his 70th. The one-hour film featured interviews with many important figures who knew Denver best, including his widow Annie Denver, producer Milton Okun, manager Jerry Weintraub, musicians James Burton and Paul Prestopino, and many others. The 32-page booklet for All of My Memories will include a 2,600-word liner notes essay written by long-time John Denver chronicler G. Brown, former Denver Post music critic, and now Director at the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. Its first inductee was John Denver, in 2011.  

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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