The Rise and Sudden Fall of Country Boy John Denver

Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.

He was born in Roswell, New Mexico, as Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. on December 31, 1943. His interest in airplanes stemmed directly from his father, who was a United States Air Force pilot and flying instructor. Denver learned how to fly at a young age through his father, and it was a passion he held on to his whole life.


John Denver. Photo By Associated Newspapers/Shutterstock

During the late 1940s and ‘50s, his family moved around a lot – to Oklahoma, Arizona, Alabama, and Texas – which wasn’t easy on the boy. When he turned 11, Denver got a 1910 Gibson acoustic guitar as a gift from his grandmother. The guitar was his one constant in his unstable upbringing.