John Denver posthumously received the 2,531st star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Friday, honoring a career of more than 30 years that included such memorable songs as “Rocky Mountain High” and “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”
Denver’s son, Zak Deutschendorf, and daughter, Jesse Belle Denver, accepted the star, which is located at 7065 Hollywood Blvd.
“I know he’d be very grateful to be here if he could, which he is in spirit,” Jesse Belle Denver said. “We will receive this honor with our hearts and with the best of our intentions of cementing his legacy into this earth.”
The ceremony coincided with the opening of a monthlong exhibition of Denver’s photographs at the Substrate Gallery in Hollywood, “Sweet, Sweet Life: The Photographic Works of John Denver.”
Born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. on Dec. 31, 1943, in Roswell, New Mexico, Denver began his artistic journey when he was given his grandmother’s guitar when he was 11 years old. He eventually took guitar lessons and joined a boys’ choir, which led him at age 20 to pursue his dream of a career in music.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1963 to be in the heart of the burgeoning music scene. He was urged by friends to change his name, taking his stage name from the capital city of his favorite state, Colorado. He would later settle in Aspen, Colorado, and his love for the Rocky Mountains inspired many of his songs.
Denver experienced his first major break in the music industry when he was chosen from among 250 other hopefuls as lead singer for the popular Mitchell Trio. He gained recognition when his song “Leaving On A Jet Plane” was recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary, becoming their first and only Number 1 hit.
When the Mitchell Trio disbanded, Denver became a solo act, recording such hit songs as “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Back Home Again,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and “Calypso.”
Denver’s honors include a Grammy in 1997 for best children’s album for “All Aboard!”; American Music Awards for favorite pop/rock male artist, favorite country artist and favorite country album; Country Music Association Awards for entertainer of the year and song of the year; and an Academy of Country Music Award for album of the year.
Denver was killed in a 1997 plane crash at the age of 53.
— City News Service
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