Music

The 15 Best John Denver Songs

American singer-songwriter John Denver plays his guitar circa 1980's. (Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images)

John Denver songs are a pillar of pop culture. He is one of the world's most beloved performers and songwriters. Denver prided himself in his environmentalist and humanitarian work and traveled the world throughout his career. By the mid-'70s, Denver was one of the best-selling performers.

Let's take a look back at his greatest hits.

15. "Calypso"

Denver wrote "Calypso" in 1975 to tribute Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his research ship, the Calypso. The song was released on Denver's 1975 album Windsong. Released as the B-side of "I'm Sorry," "Calypso" charted on the Billboard Hot 100. After "I'm Sorry" fell out of the No. 1 spot, "Calypso" received more airplay and eventually landed in the No. 2 spot on the Hot 100 chart.

14. "Poems, Prayers, and Promises"

This song is from Denver's fourth studio album, Poems, Prayers & Promises. The album was released in 1971 and is responsible for Denver's commercial breakthrough to success with songs like "Poems, Prayers, and Promises," "My Sweet Lady," "I Guess He'd Rather Be in Colorado," "Sunshine on My Shoulders," and "Take Me Home, Country Roads," which became Denver's signature song.

13. "Take Me to Tomorrow"

This song is the title track of Denver's second studio album, Take Me to Tomorrow, which was released in 1970.

12. "Back Home Again"

Denver released "Back Home Again" as a single from his album of the same name in 1974. The song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was his fifth Top 10 hit on the pop chart! The song topped the country music chart and won Denver a CMA for Song of the Year. He was also named CMA Entertainer of the Year- where Charlie Rich famously set the envelope on fire in protest of Denver's win.

11. "Some Days Are Diamonds"

Originally a song written and recorded by singer-songwriter Dick Feller, Denver covered this song and took it to No. 36 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

10. "The Eagle and The Hawk"

Denver wrote this song for a TV special he filmed in the Rocky Mountains. The special never aired, but Denver released the song on his 1971 album Aerie.

9. "Looking For Space"

Released as a single from his album Windsong, the song peaked at No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in April 1976. It reached No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, his seventh single to top the chart.

8. "This Old Guitar"

Denver wrote this song about a 1910 Gibson "F-hole" acoustic jazz guitar his grandmother gave him when he was 12 years old.

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7. "Sweet Surrender"

"Sweet Surrender" was originally recorded for Denver's 1974 album Back Home Again but was chosen as the lead single for the concert album An Evening with John Denver.  The song reached No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in February 1975, remaining in the Top 40 for eight weeks. The song was covered by the folk-rock band The Seekers.

6. "Sunshine On My Shoulders"

From Denver's 1971 album Poems, Prayers, & Promises, "Sunshine On My Shoulders," was Denver's first No. 1 hit.

5. "Take Me Home, Country Roads"

"Take Me Home Country Roads" is Denver's platinum single about Clopper Road in Gaithersburg, Maryland!

4. "Annie's Song"

From his 1974 record Back Home Again, this song written about his wife of the time, Annie Martell Denver. The song reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

3. "Rocky Mountain High"

"Rocky Mountain High" was written by Denver and his friend Mike Taylor. The song is one of the two official state songs of Colorado. It peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1973.

2. "Leaving On A Jet Plane"

Denver originally released this song as "Oh Babe I Hate to Go" on his 1966 record, John Denver Sings. Peter, Paul, and Mary released the song as "Leaving On A Jet Plane" in 1969. The song was the band's only No. 1 hit.

1. "Thank God I'm A Country Boy"

This song was written by John Martin Sommers and released by Denver on his 1974 album Back Home Again. The song was re-released after it was recorded live on August 26, 1974, at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles and was released on Denver's 1975 album An Evening with John Denver. The live version hit No. 1 on both the Billboard Magazine Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts. Thank God I'm a Country Boy also became the name of a variety show hosted by Denver in 1977.

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You can watch John Denver perform many of these songs from his 1995 The Wildlife Concert that aired on A&E.

Honorable Mentions:

"Follow Me"

?"I Want to Live"

?"Fly Away"

?"Flying for Me"

"Goodbye Again"

 

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The 15 Best John Denver Songs