Song: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” by John Denver
Reached #1: June 7, 1975 (his third, 1 week)
Previously: Day 90
While John Denver was known as a singer/songwriter, he didn’t write this single, one of his most memorable.
His fiddle player, John Martin Sommers, wrote this song. The story is that he was driving from Colorado to California and started writing notes about his life – notes that quickly developed into the song.
Almost all of Denver’s major pop hits came in a very short period in 1973-75, including his four #1 singles. He was able to ride that short burst of popularity to help humanitarian and environmental causes – a “career” that always seemed to be more fulfilling to him than the music career.
He took up flying in the mid-‘70s in part to make his schedule easier, and in part to get closer to his estranged father. In fact, he loved flying so much that he pushed for – and joined – the ill-fated Citizens In Space program. At one point, he was on the short list for the Challenger flight that went so badly wrong.
Sadly, it was that love of flight that killed him – he was flying an experimental plane that apparently had some critical design flaws, and one of those flaws is believed to have led to his fatal crash in 1997. What’s worse is that he shouldn’t have been flying at all – the FAA had revoked his medical clearance.
Tomorrow, we switch gears from American country to Britpop.
Other songs that reached #1 on June 7:
1986 – “Live To Tell” by Madonna (her third, 1 week)