- Title: John Denver: Mother Nature's Son
- Author: John Collis
- Released: 2005-08-16
- Pages: 192
- ISBN: 1840187794
- ISBN13: 978-1840187793
- ASIN: 1840187794
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From Kirkus Reviews
Shallow survey of the sandy-haired pop singer whose airy nature-loving ballads hid a darker life of drunkenness, emotional turmoil, and spousal violence. In his introduction, British music journalist Collis (Van Morrison: Inarticulate Speech of the Heart, not reviewed) confesses that he has ``always harboured some reservations'' about Denver's music, and later dismisses such chart-topping hits as ``Sunshine on My Shoulders'' as ``irredeemably banal.'' Born Henry J. Deutschendorf Jr. in Roswell, New Mexico, on New Year's Eve 1943, the future pop star chafed against the severity of domestic life with his father, an Air Force pilot whose frequent postings took his family all over the world but gave the youngster a feeling of homelessness. At the age of 13, Henry Jr. received his first guitar (from his grandmother) and five years later left home for Los Angeles to become a folk singer. After some false starts, he became a fixture in the folk clubs, where he changed his name and eventually joined the Chad Mitchell Trio. His ``Leaving on a Jet Plane'' became a hit for Peter, Paul and Mary. He was later signed to RCA as a solo act andthanks to a likable stage presence, a songbook promoting nature appreciation over drugs, and several cleverly placed TV appearancesDenver became an international star in the 1970s, while secretly indulging in drugs, booze, and violent acts (some involving chainsaws) against his wife. After co-starring with the Muppets and George Burns in movies, Denver championed environmental issues and EST founder Werner Erhard's ill-fated Hunger Project. He was in the midst of a comeback when he died in 1997 while flying an experimental airplane off the California coast. Because Collis has relied almost exclusively on published sources and has done comparatively little original research, he falls back too heavily upon speculation about Denver's hidden personality and private demons. As a biography, this book has about as much depth as Denver's songs. (6 photos) -- Copyright ©2000, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Say it ain't so. Could it be that pop star John Denver--a bard of love and life and American's best-selling solo star of the 70s--abused his wife? That the hard-core environmentalist was a private-plane-flying air polluter?...While discussing the dark sides that may...have lurked beneath Denver's grin, Collis also gives a nod to the positive impact of the singer's ecological activism and wholesome music."