On Music: My Top 10 Favorite John Denver Songs

Patricia Racette’s cover of Leaving on a Jet Plane, as heard in Great Voices Sing John Denver.

I was born in the early 1960s; growing up in South Florida in the 1970s and ’80s, the music of singer/songwriter/environmental activist John Denver was (until 1982 or so) part of the soundtrack of my life.

Like all great music superstars, Denver’s popularity had an arc, and he peaked around the time I was in middle school (which was then called junior high) and high school.

By the time I was a junior in high school, only a few of my friends really liked John Denver. I liked his music just fine, but I wasn’t a devoted fan. I only had his 1976 John Denver: Greatest Hits album on eight-track tape at the time, and when I changed formats from LP/eight-track to cassettes and later CDs, I didn’t bother replacing my sole Denver eight-track and basically just forgot about his music for the longest time.

That changed in 2017 after I heard the Great Voices Sing John Denver tribute album (2013) on Amazon Music. For a limited time, I could listen to the album for free, and even though at first I only liked three of the songs in it, the album grew on me until I finally bought the MP3 version, then the film version, then finally the CD.

My appreciation of Great Voices Sing John Denver led me to buy a few more albums since 2017, this time performed by the late Mr. Denver himself. I have the double CD compilation album from Sony/Legacy Records, The Essential John Denver, plus a live concert album he recorded back in 1974, another greatest hits collection, plus two DVDs of John Denver concerts.

Here are my 10 Favorite John Denver Songs, in order of preference:

1. Perhaps Love

2. Annie’s Song

3. Take Me Home, Country Roads

4. Sunshine (On My Shoulders)

5. Seasons of the Heart

6. Goodbye Again

7. Leaving on a Jet Plane

8. For You

9. Sweet Surrender

10. Like a Sad Song

To demonstrate Denver’s enduring appeal nearly 30 years after his death, I have included covers along with the original versions of my 10 favorite John Denver songs. I tried to highlight performers from different age groups and countries because John’s music had global appeal. I’m sure he would have enjoyed hearing his songs being performed by these wonderful singers.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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