Greatest Country Hits (John Denver) – Compilation Album

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on August 7, 2009

The Front Cover Of The CD

The Front Cover Of The CD

John Denver (1943 – 1997) was one of the best loved country musicians ever, and deservedly so. He was a compassionate man that was incredibly gifted as a performer, and this compilation (released in 1998) highlights that fact. The title is not 100 % accurate in the sense that not all of the compositions were hits – they were all released as singles, and some flopped like “The Cowboy & The Lady”, arguably the weakest thing on offer here. But regardless of the current performance on the charts, every song is imbued with the characteristics that made John Denver legendary – a great singing voice, an eminent set of melodies and a rush of emotions when one listens to them.

The album includes his mega hits “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Annie’s Song” and “Sunshine On My Shoulders”. That alone justifies its acquisition, but the remaining tunes do not lag behind in any sense. Maybe there is a tonal uniformity that makes the first listens to it not the most rewarding task (for example, “Fly Away” and “How Can I Leave You Again” are so similar in terms of melody in several places that it is startling), but after you have given it a few tries it all clicks.

Other highlights include the lovable “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” (with Denver playing fiddle) and the delectable “Dreamland Express”, included because it was a hit on the country charts notwithstanding the fact that it is as poppy as it can get. It closes the album so dreamily that it has any listener wondering what other Denver pop songs are like. Since the album is arranged chronologically, its placement as the last song was not something deliberate but rather something preordained. And it ended playing an incredible motivational role.

This was the second country album I ever bought. The first was Emmylou Harris’ “Duets”, and one of the tracks I loved the most was precisely the Denver duet “Wild Montana Skies” (the penultimate track here). It was so engaging that I picked this one up. Although it is missing some tunes like “Leaving On A Jet Plane” and “Calypso”, it gives anybody a good sampling of the man who stood as one of country’s most affable and talented performers. And on a personal note, it motivated me to continue buying country records. So it fits the bill on every score.

Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes

Do I feel like digging deeper into his catalog after listening to it: Yes

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