John Denver

The Layne Yost Trio will play the music of John Denver as a fundraiser for Hayward’s Park Center. (Contributed photo)

In 1974, John Denver was American music’s best-selling artist. Between 1974 and 1975, he had four number-one singles. His “John Denver’s Greatest Hits” album was a staple in American homes, selling 9 million copies. His songs had a decided country flair, including “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads.” But he was also a pop music phenomenon, selling more than 33 million albums in his career. He was a prolific songwriter, composing two-thirds of his 300-plus song catalog.

His folksy sound and his country look came to pop music about a decade after the era of 1960s folk-pop, yet people loved him for his cheery attitude and his optimistic lyrics. Denver died in 1997 at the age of 53 when the experimental aircraft he was piloting crashed into Monterey Bay near Pacific Grove, California.

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