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This time, others will be shouldering the sunshine.
ATO Records plans a February release for The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver, a star-studded homage to the ’70s hitmaker. The album features a clutch of rock, country and pop acts playing the bespectacled singer-songwriter’s biggest hits as well as lesser-known songs. A portion of its profits will benefit environmental initiatives in Denver’s name.
Highlights include Dave Matthews covering “Take Me to Tomorrow,” the title track of Denver’s sophomore album, which peaked at No. 197 on the Billboard 200 in 1970; Brandi Carlile’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Denver’s breakout single from 1971; and My Morning Jacket’s take on the Denver-penned “Leaving, on a Jet Plane,” a No. 1 hit for Peter, Paul and Mary in 1969.
Also contributing to the record are Lucinda Williams, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Amos Lee, Mary Chapin Carpenter, J Mascis, ex-Lemonhead Evan Dando and others.
Born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr. in Roswell, N.M. — but closely associated with Colorado, where he lived for decades and was named its poet laureate — Denver enjoyed a run of eight Top 10 singles from 1971-75. Four of those (“Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “I’m Sorry”) topped the Billboard Hot 100 during a span of 19 months. His “Rocky Mountain High” is the state song of Colorado.
He also had a string of hit LPs, including three No. 1s. He has sold more than 33 million albums in the U.S. alone, including 9 million-plus copies of John Denver’s Greatest Hits.
Denver hosted the Grammy Awards five times, including four consecutive from 1982-85; won a posthumous Grammy in 1997; scored an Emmy in 1975 for his special An Evening With John Denver; was named entertainer of the year by the Country Music Association in 1975; guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson several times; and co-starred with George Burns in the 1977 comedy hit Oh, God! and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The announcement of The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver comes 15 years after Denver died when the light plane he was piloting crashed in the ocean off Monterey, Calif. He was 53.
The full track list of The Music Is You: A Tribute to John Denver follows. Watch Denver perform an acoustic solo version of “Annie’s Song” below.
1. “Take Me To Tomorrow” by Dave Matthews
2. “Leaving, on a Jet Plane” by My Morning Jacket
3. “Sunshine on My Shoulders” by Train
4. “Wooden Indian” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
5. “Some Days are Diamonds” by Amos Lee
6. (Song selection TBA) by Lucinda Williams
7. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by Brandi Carlile
8. “Back Home Again” by Old Crow Medicine Show
9. “Darcy Farrow” by Josh Ritter and Barnstar
10. “All of My Memories” by Kathleen Edwards
11. “Prisoners” by J Mascis and Sharon Van Etten
12. “Annie’s Song” by Brett Dennen and Milow
13. “Looking for Space” by Evan Dando
14. “Eagle and the Hawk” by Blind Pilot
15. “I Guess He’d Rather Be In Colorado” by Mary Chapin Carpenter
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