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A Lot Of People Didn’t Think John Denver Was Really A Country Boy Until He Told Them He Was

Was John Denver really a Country Music artist?  I mean, was this ‘Rocky Mountain High’ performer really Country?

Well, compared with what passes for Country Music today, yes, there’s not a doubt that John Denver was Country…waaaay Country.  But back in the day?  Well, that was a different story.

John Denver was one of the classic ‘country/pop’ crossover artist’s.  His song’s were huge Country hits, huge Pop hit’s and huge Adult Contemporary hit’s.  (By the way, ‘Adult Contemporary’ was where the easy, ballad type pop songs would land).

One of the most gifted songwriters of the last half of the twentieth century, songs like ‘Take Me Home (Country Roads)’, ‘Sunshine On My Shoulders’, ‘I’m Sorry’ and ‘Rocky Mountain High’ crossed over all genre’s of music.  And that was the rub.

A lot of people who considered themselves Country Music ‘purist’s’ didn’t think John was country enough.  And then a song came along that perhaps changed some minds.

It was originally released on his 1974 ‘Back Home Again’ album, but it was his 1975 live album ‘An Evening With John Denver’ album that introduced millions of us to ‘Thank God I’m A Country Boy’.

Despite the fact that John was a prolific songwriter himself, he didn’t write this one.  Nope.  ‘Thank God I’m A Country Boy’ was written by one of his band member’s, John Martin Sommers.  And it became one of John Denver’s signature hit’s.

The song topped the Country Music chart the week of May 31 in 1975, and followed up a week later by topping the Pop Music chart.

By the way, the song replaced Jessi Colter‘s ‘I’m Not Lisa’ on the country chart, and then was replaced after a week by Mickey Gilley and ‘Window Up Above’.

And let’s put that old debate to rest once and for all.  Yes, John Denver was country!


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