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John Denver Deserves to Be in the Country Music Hall of Fame

John Denver
Eagle Rock via YouTube

The year was 1975. At the Country Music Association Awards that year the most coveted award, ‘Entertainer Of The Year’, went to John Denver.

Denver was on the road touring that night and Charlie Rich was the presenter. On stage Charlie announced the nominees (which included 4 eventual Hall of Fame members: Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap).

When Charlie announced that John Denver was the winner, John couldn’t see the stage and accepted the award via satellite, thanking Charlie and giving his acceptance speech.

What he didn’t see was Charlie Rich, apparently and allegedly inebriated, take out his lighter and burn the envelope after reading the name ‘John Denver.’ Apparently Charlie (and many of the ‘mainstream’ country fans) didn’t think John Denver was ‘country enough’ to have earned the honor.

(On a personal note, I always found that interesting since I’ve always loved Charlie Rich music, but I don’t consider it what might be called traditional country.)

Such was the musical career of John Denver.

In the 1970′s he was too ‘country’ for pop/rock radio stations and listeners, and he was too ‘pop/rock’ for country radio stations and listeners.  So what did he do?

Well, he didn’t change and sold millions and millions of albums to country and pop/rock fans.  And he did it with songs like ‘Take Me Home Country Roads’.

John Denver took his songs around the world, and in the process brought country music to millions of people who, otherwise, would never have ‘discovered’ artists like Waylon, Willie, Buck, Conway, Loretta, Dolly and, yes, Charlie Rich.

One of John’s ‘signature’ songs was ‘Rocky Mountain High’.  Really, you don’t think this is Country?

Whether singing about his beloved Rocky Mountains, about the pure joy of going ‘Back Home Again’ or saying I Love You to his wife Annie, it’s all rings Country Pure now.

With several Top Ten Country hit’s, including three #1′s..Two #1 Country albums (1974′s ‘Back Home Again’ and 1975′s ‘Windsong’) and multiple CMA Awards, it’s time now to extinguish that infamous flame from Charlie Rich’s lighter and induct the great John Denver into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Yes, and Thank God He Was A Country Boy!

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