Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Day John Denver Visited 1968

In December of 1968, only a few week's before his 25th birthday, John Denver visited his old high school sweetheart, my stepmother, at our Iowa farmhouse. Dad brought out the movie camera and tape recorder. I sloppily edited all the footage to his rendition of "When I'm 64". Just before lunch Denver also played "Mr Bojangles", his own "Circus" and Leonard Cohen's "Sisters of Mercy" ("Now THIS is a great song" he said).

After lunch they rode a bit on the shetland ponies and John took a few photos.

This cover version of The Beatles "When I'm 64" would appear on his 1969 album Rhymes and Reasons. which also featured a song called "Leaving on a Jet Plane". Peter Paul and Mary had already recorded the song in 1967 for Album 1700 but didn't release "Jet Plane" as a single until late 1969.It would hit #1.

Denver spent 1969 performing on the college circuit all over the Midwest. He'd put up his own posters and show up at radio stations, guitar in hand, ready to do interviews. His home base was an apartment he shared with his newlywed wife Annie in Edina, Minnesota.

The next time we saw John he was a big star, selling out The New Haven Coliseum.

I always thought he should have recorded an album with just his guitar, like Johnny Cash did on the American Recordings. Maybe the music snob in me would have appreciated him --and getting to meet him--a lot more.

1 comment: