Archive for September 19th, 2008

On The Fence: John Denver’s Greatest Hits

19 September 2008

John Denver had three of the 100 best-selling albums of the 1970’s. To put that in context, it’s the same number achieved by The Rolling Stones, and one more than a singer/songwriter by the name of Bob Dylan. John Denver! I’m not sure if this reflects poorly on the taste-makers of that decade, or if it means that Denver is wildly underappreciated and forgotten in an era of irony. Let’s find out…

THUMBS UP: John Denver is such a benign musical character that working up an active dislike for him is sort of like despising the Muppets or someone’s kindly grandparents. Two songs on this collection stand out, and cannot be denied as musical bellweathers of the 1970’s – ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ and ‘Rocky Mountain High’. Love ’em or hate ’em, those songs – and much of the rest of this album – represent the authentic sound of their times. It might sound like macrame, bell bottoms, and peaceful easy feelings, but John Denver’s Greatest Hits would be one of the most appropriate albums you could pull out of a time capsule from the 1970’s.

THUMBS DOWN: My wife is visibly annoyed with me for having the audacity to drop John Denver’s Greatest Hits on the turntable. In between grunts, snorts, and rolling of the eyes, she has asked me if I’m feeling ok and if I’m depressed. Next she’ll probably be taking my temperature and calling the doctor. I can hardly blame her. Like anything else, good cheer and sunshine can be administered in lethal doses, and John Denver takes happiness to an extremely uncomfortable level. I can appreciate the spirit behind his music, and one or two songs at a time is OK, but an album side? Well, that’s enough to get you banished to the sofa for the night…

[How does John Denver rate with you? Good times or bad flashback? Enquiring minds want to know…]