John Denver: Age 53 | Cause Of Death: AIRPLANE CRASH/ HELICOPTER

John Denver

(b. Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., 31 December 1943, Roswell, NM, d.12 October 1997, CA)

One of America’s most popular performers during the ’70s, Denver’s rise to fame began when he was ‘discovered’ in a Los Angeles night club. He initially joined the Back Porch Majority, a nursery group for the renowned New Christy Minstrels but, tiring of his role there, left for the Chad Mitchell Trio where he forged a reputation as a talented songwriter.  One of his compositions, Leaving On A Jet Plane, provided an international hit for Peter, Paul And Mary, and this evocative song was the highlight of Denver’s debut album, RHYMES AND REASONS.  He continued to enjoy a high profile throughout the rest of the decade and forged a concurrent acting career with his role in the film comedy OH, GOD with George Burns.  However, although Denver became an unofficial musical ambassador with tours to Russia and China, his recording became less prolific as increasingly he devoted time to charitable work and ecological interests. A San Francisco television station reported  that Denver may have crashed while trying to switch from one fuel tank to another. Both tanks were empty, KRON reported.  Denver was killed instantly in the crash of the Long-EZ experimental airplane he was piloting on October 12 , in Monterey Bay shortly after take off.  Denver, an experienced pilot, had taken delivery of the Y-shaped, futuristic looking plane just a day before the crash.    link to:   John Denver Books