Who Blogs about John Denver Anyway?

on March 13, 2009

Tonight as I was flipping through the channels and came across the PBS Beg-a-thon.  Normally I would just keep on surfing but the music stopped me.  It was a familiar tune that strummed on my heart strings.  It was a show on the music of John Denver.  Call me a geek!  Call me a 70’s throw back!  I don’t care — it’s John and I’m not ashamed to admit that I love him.  Go ahead – name a John Denver song and I can sing it to you.  Really – I can!  There really is only one John Denver song I dislike – actually I loathe it.  It’s “Sunshine on my Shoulders”.  I even made up alternate lyrics once . . . “Suuuuunshine on my shouuuulers gives me sunburn . . . ”  But I digress.

When I was younger and my brother Dennis was a teenager he learned to play the guitar — and he learned John Denver songs.  I still remember the first time that music moved me to tears.  We were camping as a family and it was cold and rainy outside all of us kids and mom and dad were all huddled together in our old green tent and Dennis took out his guitar and started to sing “cold nights in Canada and icy blue winds, the man and the mountains are brothers again.”   Sitting in my sleeping bag in the wet chill, the smell of the mountain air, and the melody swirling around in my tired head and suddenly tears were streaming down my cheeks.  One of my brothers pointed out “DeAnn’s crying”, which really wasn’t unusual for me as a child.  My mom said “she must be really cold.”  I didn’t say anything because I couldn’t explain why the music made me feel so peaceful but still made me cry.  It was the first time I remember music reach a part of my spirit like a warm almost-memory of a perfect place of being.

John has stayed with me through the years.   I listened to his records, his 8-track in my brothers (then sister’s) Buick, his cassettes, CD’s, and now he lives on my I-Pod.  John spent every summer with me when I worked at Oakcrest in the kitchen.  I introduced many kitchen staff’s to John and probably tortured many others with the constant playing of JD while I sang ever so dramatically into the whisk.  My first concert was a John Denver concert at the then Park West outdoor amphitheater.  It was incredible.  Even my mission song was to a John Denver song.  “Almost Heaven, West Virginia . . . ”  and after living in West Virginia for a year and half all the words to that song made perfect sense to me.  John wrapped up their culture perfectly in “country roads, take my home, the the place I belong . . .”

As a teenager I sang to myself his relatively unknown 60 Second Street Song for a Bank

Oh I love the changing seasons
Green and growing all around
Smiling faces laughing children
Making such a joyful sound
In my dreams I see tomorrow
Time and children of my own
Someone who will stand beside me
Helping me to make ourselves a home
If your eyes can see tomorrow
Though it might seem far away
If you have some dreams to build on
May we help you today

That song spoke of the simple things I wanted when I grew up.

He also had songs that were funny like “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio is like being nowhere at all . . .” and “You dun stomped on my heart, and you mashed that sucker flat – you just sorta – stomped on my aeorta.”  Can anything explain a broken heart better than that?

Sometimes I think John knew more than I think he knew he knew.  A few years before his death he wrote . . .

Though the body in passing must leave us
There is one who remains to receive us
There are those in this life
Who are friends from our heavenly home
So I listen to the voices inside me
For I know they are there just to guide me
And my faith will proclaim it is so
We are never alone

(On the Wings of a Dream)

I know just like John did, that there ARE “those in this life who are friends from our Heavenly Home.”  So John, thanks for opening my heart to music.   Save me a ticket for your concert in the Millennium.


“Though the singer is silent, there still is the truth of the song.”

7 responses to “Who Blogs about John Denver Anyway?

  1. Kelly Loggins says:

    You have brought back a ton of memories from when we were kitchen staff together in the 80’s.
    I think I lost some of my hearing during that time because John was so loud in the kitchen. Thanks for the fun memories. It was good to see you at the reunion last summer.

  2. Tasha says:

    My JD memories, 12 years old babysitting for my aunt mary… she had every VINYL RECORD he made. Her house was the one house i felt SAFE in, therefore JD was safe for me! fast forward 3 years new friend DeAnn, JD in the blue car… safe for me!
    fast forward um 25 years DeAnn, JD, safe again.
    Love you!

  3. Laurel says:

    i have a john denver memory too.
    love this.

  4. Heide says:

    You never cease to make me smile. You really are the best and one day you are going to make a lucky man very very happy! Love You!

  5. Heather says:

    I love John Denver. Especially Grandma’s Feather Bed. For that I blame my dad. But I also love Country Roads, for that I blame you. 😉

  6. Debbie says:

    I stumbled across this blog entry of yours when doing a search for John Denver. I first started paying attention to him back in 1996 when I was in 8th grade, the year he died, because Time Life started offering a record/cd collection of his greatest hits.

    In high school I bought all of his albums at the thrift store, and spent many hours listening to his records in my parents living room. They bring back good memories. I always loved the songs Yellow Cat, Poems Prayers and Promises, and his cover of the Beatles’ Junk.

  7. My first date with my husband was a John Denver concert. But I am so old it actually was a Chad Mitchell Trio concert. John played with them for awhile – and stood out even then. I too saw that special and 2 things struck me.

    1. How well his music has held up over the years

    2. The memorial park they kept showing. It appeared to be in Colorado, and consisted of many large rocks with his lyrics carved on them. Children were playing in the park. It looked like a fun and peaceful place to be. I think John is happy with his memorial.

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