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John Denver’s Timeless Tribute to Wife “Annie’s Song” (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)

If there ever was a list of songs dedicated for a wife, John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” would be the crowning jewel among them. This song’s resonance is felt even today almost after a half a century since its release. Why? Because John Denver poured his true, raw emotions about his wife-Annie Denver into these song lyrics. There is little surprise that during the lifetime of this song, it has been the music to many weddings across the world.

“Annie’s Song” was released in June 1974 from John Denver’s eight studio album ‘Back Home Again.’ The song was written by John Denver in ode to his then-wife Annie Denver. John himself has spoken about the making of this song and what this song means to him;

“Annie’s Song” is my most popular song around the world, if not the most famous. It was written after we had been through a particularly difficult time and had come together again, in many ways closer then ever before. We really felt together and much closer from the experiences we’d been through. One day I was skiing, and I’d just finished a run that was totally exhilarating. I skied right down to the lift, got on the chair, and was off and up the mountains again, my thighs burning and still in the process of catching my breath. I looked out at the mountains I love, and the Colorado sky was a blue color you can only see from this altitude-my favorite color, I might add. The deep green of the trees against the white of the snow, the colorful outfits the people were wearing, the sounds if life as it goes over each tower, and birds singing, and laughter, and the smell of the clean, fresh air out there in the wilderness-all those things were going through my mind and it was all beautiful. It filled me completely.
I began thinking about other things that are like that for me, and my first thought was of the woman I had fallen in love with again, and how she filled me so completely. Then I stared thinking of other things-things in nature. And in the ten minutes it takes to go from the bottom of Bell Mountain lift to the top, I had written “Annie’s Song.” I had the melody in my head, and I knew the chords on the guitar. I skied down to the bottom, of the hill, raced home, picked up my guitar, and played it. Noel Stookey of Peter, Paul & Mary said sometimes he didn’t feel so much like the writer, but rather the instrument of that which wants to be written. That’s what this felt like to me. “Annie’s Song” is a song for all lovers and, in its deepest sense, a prayer to the love in us all.”

John Denver on “Annie’s Song”
John and Annie Denver on their wedding day (Image Credits:

Later, John Denver commented that “Annie’s Song” is not only for a wife, and that it could be dedicated to anybody: “Whatever meaning ‘Annie’s Song’ had for me on a personal level, there was also a larger context. It could just as easily have been about love for a brother. Or a father. Or a friend. It could just as easily have been a prayer.”

Listen to “Annie’s Song” by John Denver

Download “Annie’s Song” on iTunes and Amazon
Buy ‘The Essential John Denver’ Album with Greatest Hits on iTunes and Amazon

The song ranked #1 on Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks in 1974, and is one of the best works by John Denver.

Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Annie’s Song”

The entire song is a dedication to that wholesome feeling of love one person could inculcate in another. In this instance, John was thinking about his wife Annie. Often times, most difficult times make the relationships stronger. As John said in the above paragraph, they had been going through some trying times and this sparked an emotion within John to come up with this song in an instance.

The song draws examples from nature–how nature fits perfectly within itself–to equate the same feeling in his relationship. ‘A night in a forest’ is one of the most beautiful and eerie things there could be. But night time fills up the forest, much like how his wife fills up his life with love and affection. A mountain in springtime is filled with blossoming life and so does their love for each other grow. A storm in the desert could be the most difficult thing to survive; their relationship is not without difficulties. And sometimes like a sleepy blue ocean, everything is calm and quiet.

In the next verse, John Denver pleads his wife to give him the chance to love her and be loved. He asks to hold her forever and die in her arms.

The Story of John and Annie Denver

This pure magical flow of emotions was not enough to keep John and Annie Denver together till death do them apart. Their marriage lasted from 1968 to 1982. From 1971 the couple moved to Aspen, Colorado, where he composed the lyrics to “Annie’s Song.” In an interview in 1983, John confessed that his career demands drove them apart. Even Annie confirmed that they were too immature and young to have dealt with John’s growing success. After the divorce, the property settlements aggravated and drove John to a point of allegedly choking Annie Denver, and cut their marital bed in half with a chainsaw. And thus ends a love story that sparked an entire world for generations and generations.

John and Annie adopted two kids, a boy and a girl-Zachary and Anna.

John and Annie Denver in Aspen, Colorado. (Image Credits: Pinterest)

John Denver re-married an Australian actress Cassandra Delany in 1988 and this marriage lasted till 1991. They had a daughter named Jesse Belle.

John Denver with Cassandra Delany. (Image Credits: Pinterest)

John Denver passed away in a plane crash piloted by himself in 1997. He is believed to have been intoxicated at the time.

John Denver’s life may have not been the epic love saga that is “Annie’s Song.” However, we have to believe that the inspiration for the song came from a most real place in his heart at the time. Unfortunate how their story did not turn out to be as what is mentioned in the lyrics. But the true feelings and emotions of the song are forever trapped in these lyrics, and can be felt in John’s vocals in this song.

Let us know what you feel about “Annie’s Song” by John Denver. How can you relate to this song? Who makes you feel as John did when you hear this song? Drop a comment below.

Complete Lyrics to “Annie’s Song” by John Denver

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