John Denver's Greatest Hits

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John Denver's Greatest Hits
Greatest hits album by
ReleasedNovember 1973
GenreFolk, Country, Pop
ProducerMilton Okun
John Denver chronology
Farewell Andromeda
John Denver's Greatest Hits
Back Home Again
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[2]
Rolling Stone Record Guide2/5 stars[3]

John Denver's Greatest Hits was American singer-songwriter John Denver's first compilation album, released in late 1973 for the holiday shopping season. A version known as The Best of John Denver with the same track listing[4] was released in some countries.


The collection included material from his earlier days as a songwriter (going back to 1965 on "For Bobbie") to his later hit "Rocky Mountain High". Indeed, many of these tracks were not hits per se, but as Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote for Allmusic, "the[se] were [the] songs that defined him."

Moreover, Greatest Hits is important historically because it contained new, revisionist recordings of several songs. Notable new versions included "Leaving on a Jet Plane", "Starwood in Aspen", "Follow Me", "Rhymes and Reasons", "The Eagle and the Hawk", "Sunshine On My Shoulders" and "Poems, Prayers, and Promises".

Denver explained this himself in the liner notes by saying that he had picked the numbers most requested in his concerts, but that "I felt that some of these songs had grown a bit, that I am singing better than I was four or five years ago, and that I would like to treat some of the songs a little differently than I had in the original recordings."

After its release these versions were used for airplay despite differing in subtle but important ways from the original versions; generally, they were more polished, featured a more mature-sounding Denver, included strings, and were extended somewhat.

Within a few months of its release, Greatest Hits climbed to the top of the Billboard 200 pop albums chart, went platinum, and was one of the first albums worldwide to sell over 10 million copies. Overall it is easily the best-selling album of his career in the United States, being certified 9-times platinum by the RIAA.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks produced by Milton Okun; all tracks written by John Denver except where noted.

Side one
1."Take Me Home, Country Roads" (from Poems, Prayers & Promises, 1971)3:08
2."Follow Me" (new recording; from Take Me to Tomorrow, 1970) 2:56
3."Starwood in Aspen" (new recording; from Aerie, 1971) 3:10
4."For Baby (For Bobbie)" (from Rocky Mountain High, 1972) 2:58
5."Rhymes and Reasons" (new recording; from Rhymes & Reasons, 1969) 3:11
6."Leaving on a Jet Plane" (new recording; from Rhymes & Reasons) 4:00
Side two
1."The Eagle and the Hawk" (new recording; from Aerie)
  • Denver
  • Mike Taylor
2."Sunshine on My Shoulders" (from Poems, Prayers & Promises)
  • Denver
  • Dick Kniss
  • Taylor
3."Goodbye Again" (from Rocky Mountain High) 3:36
4."Poems, Prayers and Promises" (new recording; from Poems, Prayers & Promises) 4:34
5."Rocky Mountain High" (from Rocky Mountain High)
  • Denver
  • Taylor

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
Billboard Top LPs 1


For the newly recorded tracks:


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Christgau review
  3. ^ [1979 Rolling Stone Record Guide review]
  4. ^ Original LP label as seen at (Note that the back cover shows songs in a different order, but the label itself has them in the same order as Greatest Hits)

See also[edit]