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Denver wrote this and recorded it as a duet with Placido Domingo. It was not expected to be a commercial success; a radio station played it on the air as a way to preview the song because none of the office turntables were working at the time. The call-in response from listeners was overwhelming and convinced them to release it. It received considerable radio airplay.
Denver was so impressed by the way that Placido Domingo sang his lyrics that it changed the way Denver sang his own songs from then on.
John Denver, born Henry John Deutschendorf, was a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio from 1964 to 1969, becoming the group's lead singer. He left the group to go solo and record his first album, Rhymes And Reasons. In the 1970's Denver worked hard to help preserve what later became the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR) in Alaska. Said Denver: "I experienced one of the most fulfilling days of my life when I stood with President Jimmy Carter, Secretary of Interior Cecil Andrus, and conservationist Margaret Murie as the President signed the Alaska Land Conservation Act into law." That Act was signed in 1980.
Denver sang this at his induction into the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1996. (thanks, Garry - Anchorage, AK, for all above)
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