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The Essential John Denver CD

4.6 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

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The Essential John Denver
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Audio CD, CD, February 27, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

The best 2-CD set ever compiled, 36 tracks that capture the essence of John's glittering recording career. Includes Leaving on a Jet Plane; Thank God I'm a Country Boy; Take Me Home Country Roads; Annie's Song; I'm Sorry; Sunshine on My Shoulders; Rhymes and Reasons; Poems, Prayers and Promises; I Guess He'd Rather Be in Colorado; Friends with You; Rocky Mountain High; Goodbye Again; Farewell Andromeda (Welcome to My Morning); Back Home Again; Matthew , and more.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 27, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000MM0Y8Y
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (145 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,208 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
So, i'm a John Denver nut. The same is true when it comes to Elvis, CCR, and Steely Dan. But Denver's catalog is the most elusive of all. His current catalog of music goes from fresh 21st Century remixes all the way down to echo-chamber, muffled CD masters created in 1987. Because i'm a stickler for sound quality, i will give every Denver fan a quick lesson in the remastering history of JD's catalog...

There are 3 distinct remastering periods of John Denver's music on CD. I know this because being a stickler for high-quality audio, i did a lot of research of liner notes, and online sources to find out when, where, and by whom John Denver's catalog was remastered.

1.) 1987-1991. This is the first period in which John Denver's music was mastered for CD, and with few exceptions, they sound awful. The more acoustic ones sound better than the ones with lush string orchestras, but still not great. Without proper mastering, those strings become one big mess of sound. Unless you are a completist, i urge you to stay away from any CD's originally released in this time period.

2.) 1996-2001. This is the second period, in which John's music was given a much needed overhaul. Unfortunately, it wasn't the entire catalog, but mostly various box sets, single-disc compilations, and the remaining albums that were oerlooked the first time around. Lucky for those albums that got passed over in the '80s, because the ones done during this period sound far better (Spirit, JD, and Autograph). Nearly every disc mastered in this period was done by the team of Paul Williams, Bll Lacey, and Mike Hartry. Their names can usually be found on the liner notes of these CD's.

3.) 2004-2008. This is the newest and best period of JD's remasters.
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6 Comments 210 of 213 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
Denver's run of signature hits made him both one of the 1970s most beloved country-folk singers and one of the decade's most lampooned. His earnest "Far Out!" trademark was at once a echo of the '60s hippie vibe, and a good fit for the mainstream of the '70s. RCA/Legacy celebrates Denver's rich catalog with this 2-CD anthology that spans his biggest pop hits, lower-charting singles, album tracks and a few odds and ends. It's a perfect overview for those who love Denver's hits and want a collection that offers a bit more. Yes, this set reiterates material that's already been reissued many times, but that's the nature of the retail music industry - new reissues garner new reviews, renew shelf space and spur sales. And that's the point of this release - to preserve the artistic relevance of Denver's core catalog by promoting its commercial vitality among new generations of fans.

Denver debuted as a solo artist in 1969 with his "Rhyme and Reason" LP, the title track of which is included here alongside Denver's original recording of his own "Leaving on a Jet Plane." Though neither were a hit, they showed Denver to be a songwriter whose words could provide a personal touch in a mass market. "Leaving on a Jet Plane" was a memorable, emotion-drenched hit for Peter, Paul & Mary, but as rendered here without Mary Travers' gut-wrenching vocal it's equally poignant, with Denver's bittersweet delivery backed by an arrangement of high-hat, guitar, bass and organ that's as light as the dawn underlying the lyrics.

Two albums in 1970 ("Whose Garden Was This" and "Take Me to Tomorrow") failed to generate any hits, and are left off this anthology.
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2 Comments 69 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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A Kid's Review on April 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD
You're never going to find a better valued John Denver collection than this. Sure there are other best-of's and sorts but this "Essential" has ALL of John's best songs.Everyone thought his "Definitive Greatest Hits" that came out a few years ago was good but this is SO MUCH BETTER!!! Hats off to RCA for relasing this, I've been waiting for a real good John Denver collection with the original versions and finally I now have it! 5 STARS ALL THE WAY!
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Format: Audio CD
Here's a genuine guilty pleasure... John Denver was part of the musical aether when I was a kid, and his hit songs like "Thank God I'm a Country Boy," "Rocky Mountain High" and "Take Me Home Country Roads" are burned into my DNA. Heck, I even like the super-sentimental "Annie's Song," and will sing along whenever I hear it... This 2-CD set gathers all those chart-toppers, along with dozens of other tracks taken from Denver's career... There are even rarities that include collaborations with opera legend Placido Domingo and country-rock pioneer Emmylou Harris... All that's missing is his work with Sesame Street's Muppets! Although Denver's crunchy-granola faux-hippieism became something of a pop culture punchline during the 1970s, he proved a durable artist, working in a mellow folk-pop mode... This collection should fill the bill for longtime fans and newcomers alike... Personally, I'm just glad I can cuddle up with "Annie's Song" again, in the privacy of my own home. (Don't tell anyone, though!)
8 Comments 11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
First of all, I own the CD, "The Essential John Denver, Limited Edition 3.0" (2009). Amazon's title for it is "The Essential 3.0 John Denver (Eco-Friendly Packaging)." It is IDENTICAL to this CD I'm reviewing, "The Essential John Denver" (2007), EXCEPT that it includes a 3rd Disc with 8 songs on it. I'm including this review here as there are very few reviews under the Limited Edition 3.0 version. The 3-Disc version does include 2 more Hot 100 Pop Singles than this standard 2-Disc version. They are "Everyday" (a Buddy Holly remake) and "It Makes Me Giggle."
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This is the most comprehensive John Denver compilation CD (that isn't a Box Set) to date (As of 7/16/14) if you want John Denver's big Hits, his "not so big" hits & most of his really popular songs that weren't hits at all! ! Having said that, it's ALMOST the perfect compilation CD, but not quite! Here are some facts you might want to know before you purchase this CD:

1. This 2-Disc CD Contains 28/33 Pop Hits that entered the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Chart (where the Top 40 Pop Singles Chart got its Top 40 Hits from at the time). I realize that John Denver was a crossover artist who had many crossover hits on the Country Chart. Admittedly, I am NOT an expert with John's songs relating to the Country chart. However, I am an expert with John's songs relating to the Pop charts. The 5 missing Hot 100 Pop Hits from this "Essential" CD are:

a. Everyday (a Buddy Holly Remake) (Peaked at #81 Pop in 1972)
b. Please, Daddy (Peaked at #69 Pop in 1973/1974) (A Christmas song)
c. Christmas for Cowboys (Peaked at #58 Pop in 1975) (A Christmas song)
d. It Makes Me Giggle (Peaked at #60 Pop in 1976)
e.
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Not to quibble with the reviewers, but..
Denver's 2-CD set "Rocky Mountain Collection" is a much better compilation and more inclusive, but if you don't own a lot of his albums and want just about everything he recorded than go for the 4-CD "Country Roads" collection. You'll get ALL the hits plus a few gems that I'm... Read More
Aug 14, 2007 by David Procsal |  See all 3 posts
Which airline used John Denver's "Fly Away"? Be the first to reply
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The Essential John Denver
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