John Denver facts: Country singer’s wife, children, career and tragic death

What was John Denver’s real name and where was he from?

John Denver was born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr, on December 31, 1943, in Roswell, New Mexico.

His parents were Captain Henry John ‘Dutch’ Deutschendorf Sr (1920–1982), a United States Army Air Forces pilot stationed at Roswell Army Air Field, and Erma Louise (née Swope; 1922–2010).

Later in life, John explained that his stern father did not show love for his children, with John being the eldest.

As his father was in the military and his family moved around often, it was difficult for John to make friends and fit in with other children, as he was constantly the ‘new kid’.

Aged 11, John Denver received an acoustic guitar from his grandmother. He learned to play so he could perform at local clubs by the time he was in college.

At first, he changed his name when Randy Sparks, founder of the New Christy Minstrels, suggested that ‘Deutschendorf’ would not fit well on a marquee.


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