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John Denver & the Muppets

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Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., (John Denver) was born in Roswell, New Mexico, to Erma Louise Swope and Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr., an Air Force officer and flight instructor of German ancestry. At the age of 12, Denver received a 1910 Gibson acoustic jazz guitar from his grandmother. He learned to play well enough to perform at local clubs by the time he was in college. He adopted the surname “Denver” after the capital of his favorite state, Colorado. Attending high school in Fort Worth, Texas was a distressing experience for the alienated Denver. In his third year of high school, he took his father’s car and ran away to California to visit family friends and pursue a musical career. His father flew to California to retrieve him, and Denver returned to finish high school. Denver dropped out of the School of Engineering (Architecture) at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University) in Lubbock, Texas, in 1963, and moved to Los Angeles, California, where he sang in the smoky underground folk clubs. In 1965, Denver joined the Chad Mitchell Group, a folk group that had been renamed “The Mitchell Trio” prior to Chad Mitchell’s departure and before Denver’s arrival, and then “Denver, Boise, and Johnson” (John Denver, David Boise, and Michael Johnson). In 1969, Denver abandoned the band life to pursue a solo career, and released his first album for RCA Records, Rhymes and Reasons.

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