JOHN DENVER


Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver.

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John was an American singer, songwriter, actor, activist, and humanitarian. He was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s and one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s. Throughout his life, Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed.

He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and his relationship trials. Denver’s music appeared on a variety of charts, including country and western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him twelve gold and four platinum albums with his signature songs “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, “Annie’s Song”, “Rocky Mountain High”, and “Sunshine on My Shoulders”.

Doris Day and John Denver
Doris Day and John Denver

Denver further starred in films and several notable television specials in the 1970s and 1980s. In the following decade, he continued to record, but also focused on calling attention to environmental issues, lent his vocal support to space exploration, and testified in front of Congress to protest against censorship in music. He was known for his love of the state of Colorado, which he sang about numerous times. He lived in Aspen, Colorado, for much of his life. He was named Poet Laureate of the state in 1974. The Colorado state legislature also adopted “Rocky Mountain High” as one of its state songs in 2007. Denver was an avid pilot, and died in a single fatality crash of his personal aircraft at the age of 53.

 

Biography

Early years

Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr., was born in Roswell, New Mexico, to Erma Louise Swope and Lt. Col. Henry John Deutschendorf, Sr. an Air Force officer (who set three speed records in the B-58 Hustler bomber and earned a place in the Air Force Hall of Fame).

 Henry Sr. was of German ancestry, and met and married his “Oklahoma Sweetheart”. Denver’s Irish Catholic and German maternal grandmother was the one who imbued Denver with his love of music. In his autobiography, Take Me Home, Denver described his life as the eldest son of a family shaped by a stern father who could not show his love for his children. He is also the nephew of singer Dave Deutschendorf of The New Christy Minstrels.

Because Denver’s father was in the military, the family moved often, making it difficult for Denver to make friends and fit in with people of his own age. Constantly being the new kid was agony for the introverted child, and he grew up always feeling as if he should be somewhere else, but never knowing where that “right” place was. While living in Tucson, Arizona, Denver was a member of the Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus for two years.

Denver was happy living in Tucson, but his father was transferred to Montgomery, Alabama, then in the midst of the Montgomery boycotts. The family later moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where Denver graduated from Arlington Heights High School. Attending high school in Fort Worth was a distressing experience for the disenfranchised Denver. In his third year of high school, he borrowed his father’s car and ran away to California to visit family friends and begin his music career. His father flew to California to bring him back, and Denver unhappily returned to finish high school.

At the age of 11, Denver received an acoustic guitar from his grandmother. He learned to play well enough to perform at local clubs by the time he was in college. He adopted the surname “Denver” after the capital of his favorite state, Colorado. He decided to change his name when Randy Sparks, founder of The New Christy Minstrels, suggested that “Deutschendorf” wouldn’t fit comfortably on a marquee.

 Denver studied Architecture at Texas Tech University in Lubbock and sang in a folk-music group called “The Alpine Trio” while pursuing architecture studies. He was also a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. Denver dropped out of the Texas Tech School of Engineering in 1963, and moved to Los Angeles, where he sang in folk clubs. In 1965, Denver joined the Chad Mitchell Trio, a folk group that had been renamed “The Mitchell Trio” prior to Chad Mitchell’s departure and before Denver’s arrival, and then “Denver, Boise, and Johnson” (John Denver, David Boise, and Michael Johnson).

In 1969, John Denver abandoned the band life to pursue a solo career and released his first album for RCA Records: Rhymes & Reasons. Two years prior, Denver had made a self-produced demo recording of some of the songs he played at his concerts. He included in the demo a song called “Babe I Hate to Go”, later renamed “Leaving on A Jet Plane”. Denver made several copies and gave them out as presents for Christmas.  Producer Milt Okun, who produced records for the Mitchell Trio and the high-profile folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, had become Denver’s producer as well. Okun brought the unreleased “Jet Plane” song to Peter, Paul and Mary. Their version of the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Although RCA did not actively promote Rhymes & Reasons with a tour, Denver himself embarked on an impromptu supporting tour throughout the Midwest, stopping at towns and cities as the fashion took him, offering to play free concerts at local venues. When he was successful in persuading a school, college, American Legion Hall, or local coffee-house to let him play, he would spend a day or so distributing posters in the town and could usually be counted upon to show up at the local radio station, guitar in hand, offering himself for an interview.[citation needed] With his foot-in-the-door for authoring “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, he was often successful in gaining some valuable promotional airtime, usually featuring one or two songs performed live. Some venues would let him play for the “door”; others restricted him to selling copies of the album at intermission and after the show. After several months of this constant low-key touring schedule, however, he had sold enough albums to persuade RCA to take a chance on extending his recording contract. He had also built a sizable and solid fan base, many of whom remained loyal throughout his career.

Denver recorded two more albums in 1970, Take Me to Tomorrow and Whose Garden Was This, including a mix of songs he had written and cover versions of other artists’ compositions.

Career peak

His next album, Poems, Prayers, and Promises (released in 1971), was a breakthrough for him in the U.S., thanks in part to the single “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, which went to number 2 on the Billboard charts despite the first pressings of the track being distorted. Its success was due in part to the efforts of his new manager, future Hollywood producer Jerry Weintraub, who signed Denver in 1970. Weintraub insisted on a re-issue of the track and began a radio-airplay campaign that started in Denver, Colorado. Denver’s career flourished from then on, and he had a series of hits over the next four years. In 1972, Denver scored his first Top Ten album with Rocky Mountain High, with its title track reaching the Top Ten in 1973.

 Between 1974 and 1975, Denver experienced an impressive chart dominance, with a string of four No.1 songs (“Sunshine on My Shoulders”, “Annie’s Song”, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”, and “I’m Sorry”) and three No.1 albums (John Denver’s Greatest Hits, Back Home Again, and Windsong).

In the 1970s, Denver’s onstage appearance included long blond hair, embroidered shirts emblazoned with images commonly associated with the American West (created by designer & appliqué artist Anna Zapp), and “granny” glasses. His manager, Jerry Weintraub, insisted on a significant number of television appearances, including a series of half-hour shows in England, despite Denver’s protests at the time, “I’ve had no success in Britain… I mean none.”

 Weintraub explained to Maureen Orth of Newsweek in December 1976, “I knew the critics would never go for John. I had to get him to the people.”

After appearing as a guest on many shows, Denver went on to host his own variety/music specials, including several concerts from Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Denver. His seasonal special, Rocky Mountain Christmas, was watched by more than 60 million people and was the highest-rated show for the ABC network at that time.[citation needed]

 

 

His live concert special, An Evening with John Denver, won the 1974–1975 Emmy for Outstanding Special, Comedy-Variety or Music.  When Denver ended his business relationship because of Weintraub’s focus on other projects, Weintraub threw Denver out of his office and called him a Nazi.

 Denver would later tell Arthur Tobier, when the latter transcribed his autobiography,[citation needed] “…I’d bend my principles to support something he wanted of me. And of course every time you bend your principles – whether because you don’t want to worry about it, or because you’re afraid to stand up for fear of what you might lose – you sell your soul to the devil.”

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Denver was also a guest star on The Muppet Show, the beginning of the lifelong friendship between Denver and Jim Henson that spawned two television specials with The Muppets.

He also tried his hand at acting, appearing in the The Colorado Cattle Caper episode of the McCloud television movie on February 24, 1974, and starring in the 1977 film Oh, God! opposite George Burns.

Denver hosted the Grammy Awards five times in the 1970s and 1980s and guest-hosted The Tonight Show on multiple occasions. In 1975, Denver was awarded the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award.

At the ceremony, the outgoing Entertainer of the Year Charlie Rich presented the award to his successor, but in protest of what he considered the inappropriateness of Denver’s selection, Rich set fire to the envelope containing the official notification of the award. However, Denver’s music was defended by country singer Kathy Mattea, who told Alanna Nash of Entertainment Weekly, “A lot of people write him off as lightweight, but he articulated a kind of optimism, and he brought acoustic music to the forefront, bridging folk, pop, and country in a fresh way… People forget how huge he was worldwide.”

In 1977, Denver cofounded The Hunger Project with Werner Erhard and Robert W. Fuller. He served for many years and supported the organization until his death.

Denver was also appointed by President Jimmy Carter to serve on the President’s Commission on World Hunger, writing the song “I Want to Live” as its theme song. In 1979, Denver performed “Rhymes & Reasons” at the Music for UNICEF Concert. Royalties from the concert performances were donated to UNICEF.

 His father taught him to fly in the mid-1970s, which led to a reconciliation between father and son.

T In 1980, Denver and his father, Lt. Col. “Dutch” Deutschendorf, co-hosted an award winning television special, “The Higher We Fly: the History of Flight”. It won the Osborn Award from the Aviation/Space Writers’ Association, and was honored by the Houston Film Festival.

Denver became outspoken in politics in the mid-1970s. He expressed his ecologic interests in the epic 1975 song “Calypso,” which is an ode to the exploration ship and team of environmental activist Jacques Cousteau. In 1976, he campaigned for Jimmy Carter, who became a close friend and ally. Denver was a supporter of the Democratic Party and of a number of charitable causes for the environmental movement, the homeless, the poor, the hungry, and the African AIDS crisis. He founded the charitable Windstar Foundation in 1976, to promote sustainable living. His dismay at the Chernobyl disaster led to precedent-setting concerts in parts of communist Asia and Europe.

During the 1980s, Denver was critical of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Administration, but he remained active in his campaign against hunger, for which Reagan awarded Denver the Presidential World Without Hunger Award in 1985.

Later years and humanitarian work

He had a few more U.S. Top 30 hits as the 1970s ended, but nothing to match his earlier success. He began to focus more on humanitarian and sustainability causes, focusing extensively on conservation projects. He made public expression of his acquaintances and friendships with ecological-design researchers such as Richard Buckminster Fuller (about whom he wrote and composed “What One Man Can Do”) and Amory Lovins, from whom he said he learned much. He also founded two environmental groups; the Windstar Foundation and Plant-It 2020 (originally Plant-It 2000).

Denver had a keen interest in solutions to world hunger. He visited Africa during the 1980s to witness first-hand the suffering caused by starvation and to work with African leaders toward solutions.

 

In 1983 and 1984, Denver hosted the annual Grammy Awards. In the 1983 finale, Denver was joined on stage by folk-music legend Joan Baez with whom he led an all-star version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Let The Sunshine In,” joined by such diverse musical icons as Jennifer Warnes, Donna Summer, and Rick James.

In 1984, Roone Arledge, president of ABC Sports, asked Denver to compose and sing the theme song for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Denver worked as both a performer and a skiing commentator. (Skiing was another avocation of Denver’s.) He had written and composed “The Gold and Beyond,” and he sang it for the Olympic Games athletes, as well as local venues including many schools.

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In 1985, Denver asked to participate in the singing of “We Are the World,” but he was turned down. According to Ken Kragen (who helped to produce the song), the reason Denver was turned down was that many people felt his image would hurt the credibility of the song as a pop-rock anthem. “I didn’t agree” with this assessment, Kragen said, but reluctantly turned Denver down anyway.

For Earth Day 1990, Denver was the on-camera narrator of a well-received environmental TV program, In Partnership With Earth, with then–EPA Administrator William K. Reilly.

With Denver’s innate love of flying, he was naturally attracted to NASA and became dedicated to America’s work in outer space. He conscientiously worked to help bring into being the “Citizens in Space” program. Denver received the NASA Public Service Medal, in 1985 for “helping to increase awareness of space exploration by the peoples of the world,” an award usually restricted to spaceflight engineers and designers. Also in 1985, Denver passed NASA’s rigorous physical exam and was in line for a space flight, a finalist for the first citizen’s trip on the Space Shuttle in 1986. But he was not chosen. After the Challenger disaster with teacher Christa McAuliffe aboard, Denver dedicated his song “Flying for Me” to all astronauts, and he continued to support NASA.

Denver testified before the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee on the topic of censorship during a Parents Music Resource Center hearing in 1985. Denver also toured Russia in 1985. His 11 Soviet Union concerts were the first by any American artist in more than 10 years, and they marked a very important cultural exchange that culminated in an agreement to allow other western artists to perform there.

 He returned two years later to perform at a benefit concert for the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. In October 1992, Denver undertook a multiple-city tour of the People’s Republic of China. He also released a greatest-hits CD, “Homegrown,” to raise money for homeless charities.

In 1994, he published his autobiography, Take Me Home, in which he candidly spoke of his marijuana, LSD, and cocaine use, his marital infidelities, and his history of domestic violence. In 1996, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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In early 1997, Denver filmed an episode for the Nature series, centering on the natural wonders that inspired many of his best-loved songs. The episode contains his last song, “Yellowstone, Coming Home,” which he composed while rafting along the Colorado River with his son and young daughter.

In the summer of 1997, Denver recorded a children’s train album for Sony Wonder, titled All Aboard! This was produced by long-time friend Roger Nichols.  The album consisted of old-fashioned swing, big band, folk, bluegrass, and gospel styles of music woven into a theme of railroad songs. This album won a posthumous Best Musical Album For Children Grammy for Denver, which was his only Grammy.

 

Personal life

Denver’s first marriage was to Annie Martell of St. Peter, Minnesota. Their wedding was held at the Christ Chapel at Gustavus Adolphus College. Annie was the subject of his hit Annie’s Song, which he composed in only ten minutes while on a ski lift in 1974.

 The couple lived in Edina, Minnesota, from 1968 to 1971. Following the success of “Rocky Mountain High”, Denver purchased a residence in Aspen, Colorado and owned one home in Aspen continuously until his death.  He and Annie adopted a son, Zachary, and daughter, Anna Kate, who John would say were “meant to be” theirs.[4] John once said, “I’ll tell you the best thing about me. I’m some guy’s dad; I’m some little gal’s dad. When I die, Zachary John and Anna Kate’s father, boy, that’s enough for me to be remembered by. That’s more than enough.”  Zachary was the subject of “A Baby Just Like You”, a song that included the line “Merry Christmas, little Zachary” and which he wrote for Frank Sinatra. Denver and Annie Martell divorced in 1982 and the ensuing property settlement caused Denver to become so enraged he nearly choked his ex-wife, then used a chainsaw to cut the marital bed in half. Martell continues to live in Aspen.

Denver

Denver married actress Cassandra Delaney in 1988, after a two-year courtship. Settling at Denver’s home in Aspen, the couple had a daughter, Jesse Belle. Denver and Delaney separated in 1991 and divorced in 1993.  Of his second marriage, Denver would later recall that “before our short-lived marriage ended in divorce, she managed to make a fool of me from one end of the valley to the other”.   In 1993, Denver pleaded guilty to a drunken driving charge, and was placed on probation.

 In August 1994, while still on probation, he was again charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence after crashing his Porsche into a tree in Aspen.  Though a jury trial in July 1997 resulted in a hung jury on the second DUI charge, prosecutors later decided to reopen the case, which was closed only after Denver’s accidental death in October 1997.  In 1996, the FAA decided that Denver could no longer fly a plane due to medical disqualification for failure to abstain from alcohol, a condition that the FAA had imposed in October 1995 after his prior drunk-driving conviction.

Denver’s talent extended beyond music. He was a painter as well, but because of his limiting schedule, he pursued photography. He once said that “photography is a way to communicate a feeling”. Denver was an avid skier and golfer. His love of flying was secondary only to his love for music. He collected vintage biplanes, and in 1974, he bought a Learjet, which he used to fly himself to concerts. He also bought a Christen Eagle aerobatic plane, two Cessna 210 and in 1997, an experimental, amateur-built Rutan Long-EZ.

 

On October 12, 1997, Denver was killed at the age of 53, when his experimental Rutan Long-EZ plane, aircraft registration number N555JD, crashed into the Pacific Ocean near Pacific Grove, California, while making a series of touch-and-go landings at the nearby Monterey Peninsula Airport.  The National Transportation Safety Board’s (NTSB) accident ID is LAX98FA008.  Denver was the only occupant of the aircraft.Image

 

 

In 2000, CBS presented the television movie Take Me Home: The John Denver Story loosely based on his memoirs, starring Chad Lowe. The New York Post observed, “An overachiever like John Denver couldn’t have been this boring.”

Denver’s music remains popular around the world. Previously unreleased and unnoticed recordings are now sought-after collectibles in pop, folk and country genres.[citation needed] Also in demand are copies of Denver’s many television appearances, especially his one-hour specials from the 1970s and his six-part series for Britain’s BBC, The John Denver Show. Despite strong interest in these programs, no sign of “official” release is evident for the vast majority of this material.[citation needed] An anthology musical featuring John Denver’s music, Back Home Again: A John Denver Holiday, premiered at the Rubicon Theatre Company in November 2006.

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On March 12, 2007, the Colorado Senate passed a resolution to make Denver’s trademark 1972 hit “Rocky Mountain High” one of the state’s two official state songs, sharing duties with its predecessor, “Where the Columbines Grow”.  The resolution passed 50–11 in the House, defeating an objection by Rep. Debbie Stafford (R-Aurora) that the song reflected drug use, most specifically the line, “friends around the campfire and everybody’s high”. Sen. Bob Hagedorn, the Aurora Democrat who sponsored the proposal, defended the song as nothing to do with drugs, but everything to do with sharing with friends the euphoria of experiencing the beauty of Colorado’s mountain vistas. Nancy Todd (D-Aurora) said that “John Denver to me is an icon of what Colorado is

On September 24, 2007, the California Friends of John Denver and The Windstar Foundation unveiled a bronze plaque near the spot where his plane went down near Pacific Grove. The site had been marked by a driftwood log carved (by Jeffrey Pine of Colorado) with the singer’s name, but fears that the memorial could be washed out to sea sparked the campaign for a more permanent memorial. Initially the Pacific Grove Council denied permission for the memorial, fearing the place would attract ghoulish curiosity from extreme fans. Permission was finally granted in 1999, but the project was put on hold at the request of the singer’s family. Eventually, over 100 friends and family attended the dedication of the plaque, which features a bas-relief of the singer’s face and lines from his song “Windsong”: “So welcome the wind and the wisdom she offers. Follow her summons when she calls again.”

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To mark the 10th anniversary of Denver’s death, his family released a set of previously unreleased recordings of Denver’s 1985 concert performances in the Soviet Union. This two-CD set, John Denver – Live in the USSR, was produced by Denver’s friend Roger Nichols, and released by AAO Music. These digital recordings were made during 11 concerts, and then rediscovered in 2002. Included in this set is a previously unpublished rendition of “Annie’s Song” in Russian. The collection was released November 6, 2007.

On October 13, 2009, a DVD box set of previously unreleased concerts recorded throughout Denver’s career was released by Eagle Rock Entertainment. Around the World Live is a 5-disc DVD set featuring three complete live performances with full band from Australia in 1977, Japan in 1981, and England in 1986. These are complemented by a solo acoustic performance from Japan in 1984, and performances at Farm Aid from 1985, 1987 and 1990. The final disc has two-hour-long documentaries made by Denver.

On April 21, 2011, John Denver became the first inductee into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame. A benefit concert was held at Broomfield’s 1stBank Center and hosted by Olivia Newton-John. Other performers participating in the event included Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lee Ann Womack and John Oates. Both of his ex-wives were in attendance, and the award was presented to his three children.

The John Denver “Spirit” statue is a 2002 bronze sculpture statue that was financed by Denver’s fans.

Henry John Deutschendorf Jr ( 31 Décembre 1943 – 12 Octobre 1997 ) connu sous le pseudo de JOHN DENVER

 

John Denver (31 décembre 1943 – 12 octobre 1997), né Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. , est un chanteur américain, également compositeur, musicien et acteur. Il est mort à l’âge de 53 ans près de la côte de Monterey en Californie en pilotant un avion Rutan modèle Long-EZ, un avion expérimental en fibre de verre.Image

 

Il est né à Roswell, au Nouveau-Mexique. Son père, Henry Deutschendorf, Sr, était instructeur dans l’Armée de l’air des États-Unis. Denver est né alors que son père était en poste au Roswell Army Air Field. Il a passé son enfance dans diverses bases militaires du Sud-ouest américain. Il fréquente le lycée de Fort Worth dans le Texas, et plus tard inscrit à Texas Tech où il était un membre de la fraternité « Delta Tau Delta ». Son goût pour jouer de la musique est venu à l’âge de douze ans lorsque sa grand-mère lui a donné une guitare acoustique Gibson de 1910. Denver a commencé à se produire dans des clubs locaux ainsi qu’à l’université. Il a laissé tomber l’université en 1964 et s’est déplacé à Los Angeles pour rejoindre le trio Chad Mitchell Trio, un groupe de musique folklorique. En 1966, il écrit la chanson Leaving on a Jet Plane, dont l’enregistrement le plus célèbre provient de Peter, Paul and Mary. Il quitte le groupe connu sous le nom de Denver, Boise et Johnson, en 1969 pour poursuivre une carrière solo. La même année il sort son premier album Rhymes and Reasons, (des rimes et des raisons). Durant les quatre années qui suivent, il sort des albums comme Whose Garden Was This, Take Me to Tomorrow, et Poems, Prayers and Promises et devient une célébrité de la chanson populaire en Amérique.

Une de ses chansons les plus connues Take me home, Country roads enregistrée en 1971 sera reprise en France d’abord par Marie Laforêt sous le titre « Mon pays est ici » puis par Claude François sous le titre « J’ai encore ma maison », et encore quelques années plus tard par Dick Rivers sous le titre « Faire un pont ». Cette même chanson connaîtra également une adaptation en japonais dans le film Si tu tends l’oreille (1995). Elle a pour nom Mimi o sumaseba (耳をすませば) au pays du soleil levant.

John Denver and Placido Domingo
John Denver and Placido Domingo

 Célèbre dans le chant et dans l’écriture de chanson, il connaît une carrière mineure en tant qu’acteur.

Ses films les plus connus étant en 1977 Oh, God! avec George Burns.

En 1994, Denver a écrit son autobiographie intitulée Take Me Home. Il se rend à Aspen dans le Colorado en 1970 suivant son premier succès solo avec la chanson Leaving on a Jet Plane (en partant sur un avion à réaction). Denver est connu non seulement pour ses capacités musicales mais également pour son travail humanitaire.

Il a travaillé intensivement sur des projets humanitaires et a aidé à créer un refuge national en Alaska. Il a également fondé son propre groupe environnemental appelé Windstar Foundation. Denver a montré un vif intérêt pour la lutte contre la famine, et s’est rendu en Afrique au cours des années 1980, œuvrant également avec des chefs africains à la recherche d’une solution.

Défiant toutes les étiquettes conventionnelles, John Denver a tenu un rôle singulier dans la musique américaine : un compositeur dont le travail immensément populaire s’est répandu avec une parenté profonde et en lien avec les gens. Ses chansons sont restées populaires dans le monde. Elles sont caractérisées par leurs mélodies douces, une guitare élégante et son interprétation soul du lyrique. Il est devenu un des quelques chanteurs occidentaux largement connus dans le monde non-européen comprenant l’Afrique, l’Inde et l’Asie du Sud-Est.

John Denver était passionné par deux choses : la musique et l’aviation. Pilote expérimenté, il pilotait ses propres Lear Jet et pratiquait le vol acrobatique. Cependant, c’est cette passion qui a causé sa mort : John Denver s’est abîmé en mer le 12 octobre 1997 aux commandes de son Rutan Long-EZ.

 

 

1969 : Rhymes and Reasons

1970 : Take Me To Tomorrow

1970 : Whose Garden Was This?

1971 : Poems, Prayers and Promises

1972 : Aerie

1972 : Rocky Mountain High

1974 : Farewell Andromeda

1974 : John Denver’s Greatest Hits

1974 : Back Home Again

1975 : An Evening With John Denver

1975 : Windsong

1975 : Calypso, un hommage musical à Jacques-Yves Cousteau et à sa cause

1975 : Rocky Mountain Christmas

1976 : Spirit

1977 : John Denver’s Greatest Hits, Volume 2

1977 : I Want To Live

1977 : John Denver

1979 : A Christmas Together

1980 : Autograph

1981 : Some Days Are Diamonds

1982 : Seasons Of The Heart

1982 : Rocky Mountain Holiday

1983 : It’s About Time

1984 : John Denver’s Greatest Hits, Volume 3

1985 : Dreamland Express

1986 : One World

1989 : Higher Ground

1990 : Earth Songs

1990 : The Flower That Shattered The Stone

1990 : A Christmas Together

1990 : Christmas, Like A Lullaby

1991 : Different Directions

1994 : John Denver – Country Roads

1996 : John Denver – Love Again

SOURCE : WIKIPEDIA 

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JOHN DENVER


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Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. (December 31, 1943 – October 12, 1997), known professionally as John Denver.

John was an American singer, songwriter, actor, activist, and humanitarian. He was one of the most popular acoustic artists of the 1970s and one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th century. After traveling and living in numerous locations while growing up in his military family, Denver began his music career in folk music groups in the late 1960s. His greatest commercial success was as a solo singer, starting in the 1970s. Throughout his life, Denver recorded and released approximately 300 songs, about 200 of which he composed.Image

He performed primarily with an acoustic guitar and sang about his joy in nature, his enthusiasm for music, and his relationship trials. Denver’s music appeared on a variety of charts, including country and western, the Billboard Hot 100, and adult contemporary, in all earning him twelve…

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Six-String Soldiers is a four-member acoustic group performing Americana, folk, bluegrass, and Irish music in an informal setting.

The group brings its signature style to the smallest, most intimate venues, the busiest public places, street festivals, and music festivals across the United States.

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Comment écouter de la belle musique en 2016


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Il fut une époque où les gens achetaient des albums…
Avant le CD, c’était les disques Vinyls dits “Long Play / LP ” ou 33 tous

Donc arriva l’époque où Polygram (Contraction de Phonogram et Polydor )( 2 marques d’éditions musicales de la maison mère PHILIPS) lança le CD ( vers 1980 )

Polygram étant le mariage des allemands ( Polydor ) et Phonogram (Pays bas)
Les japonais n’étaient pas en reste…A partir de leur île, ils ont lancé auss des tests via SONY MUSIC ( EX CBS Music ) rachetée aux USA

Donc acheter des albums en CD étaient “encore à la mode” même si d’aucuns préféraient le LP : Le plaisir d’avoir une couverture / pochette d’album ( belle photo ); les photographes et artistes pouvaient exprimer leurs désirs via de grandes belles images.. Chose que le CD a relegué au 2e plan… La couverture étant “trop petite pour être appréciée artistiquement”

 

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Par la suite, ce fut progressivement, l’explosion du dématérialisé : Le MP3

Nous passâmes de l’achat de l’album entier… Souvent pour 12 titres, seuls 4 ou 5 maxi nous interessaient…Les autres, c’était Kif kif… Juste parce qu’on aimait l’artiste qu’on achetait l’album

Donc, nous disions : Passage de l’album entier vers l’achat du/ des titres que nous voulions… Super… On disait.. c vrai… quelle économie d’argent !!

Ce qui était vrai. Oui.

Le petit bémol, que nous pouvons soulever…Nous,   producteurs de radios, les professionnels de la musique,  du moins, dans le domaine de la diffusion: Concernant cette méthode : Vis à vis des amateurs, des acheteurs de musique, des auditeurs lambda… Cette méthode a fait en sorte que les gens aient perdu une certaine culture musicale quant à l’artiste…. Ils connaissaient super bien le titre acheté et que “la radio ” leur a fait découvrir….Mais rien…aucune connaissance des autres titres du même chanteur… Rien.. Nada…Que dalle…

Du coup… Bien que le rôle des radios fut primordial, les années 50 60 70 80 et 90…. Ce rôle fut encore plus vital…Le citoyen auditeur ne pouvait découvrir les titres QUE si la radio passe CE titre…

A moins d’acheter tout l’album de l’artiste..Mais..Vous nous direz “Pourquoi acheter l’album entier? Si nous sommes interessés par 1 ou 2 titres”.. VRAI

Notre réponse: Comment sauriez-vous, si ces autres titres…Vous les aimerez? ou non? Si la / les radios ne vous permettent pas l’écoute et l’habitude…

Il faut préciser ici : Qu’écouter un extrait de titre est possible évidemment sur les plateformes de ventes.. Mais par expérience, lorsque l’acheteur de musique “passe à l’action” c’est après avoir écouté ce titre …4… 5 ou 10 fois …Le temps de bien assimiler ce nouveau titre découvert…Le temps aussi qu’il entende son entourage, les médias…en parler.. Donc c’est un tout…

Rares sont les achats qui se font suite à une seule écoute d’extrait ou sur coup de tête.

Du coup… L’explosion du numérique a engendré aussi l’explosion des RADIOS NUMERIQUES dont nous en faisons partie au sein de RADIO SATELLITE2

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Notre différence? Nos atouts? C’est tout BENEF pour vous, chers lecteurs / auditeurs de musique

1) Nous n’avons pas de limite Géographique: Contrairement aux ancêtres de la radio FM : Nous diffusons de la musique sur toute la planète… Sans aucune limite…Là où internet existe..Nous existons. D’ailleurs, même les radios FM ont crée par la suite,  leurs webradios aussi.

Donc pas d’antennes… Pas de contraintes musicales…

Résultat ? Nos musiques ( du moins au sein de RADIO SATELLITE2 ) : chansons francophones ( Belges, acadiennes,Suisses…) Américaines, Russes, turques…

Toutes les BELLES musiques sont diffusables pour nous. Peu importe la langue: Une belle orchestration, un super arrangement musical, une belle musique mélodieuse? On achète.. On diffuse.

2) Autre avantage? Notre INDEPENDANCE: Nous ne sommes PAS des radios commerciales. Donc pas d’actionnaires, pas de compte à rendre à des actionnaires, pas de publicités, pas de jeux SMS où la question est souvent simpliste…Donc réponse aussi facile…Le but étant juste de faire payer l’auditeur X euros via des SMS

Donc pas de tout ceci chez les webradios en général.

La radio étant une passion. Etant professionnels du monde de la radio certes, cependant, nos activités professionnelles ( pour vivre ) sont ailleurs.

La radio que nous vous proposons sert à offrir aux auditeurs un choix riche, haut en couleurs, sans frontières géographiques et sans langue unique ( Nos animations sont faites en Anglais et en Français )

Reste LA question que de nombreuses personnes pose : Comment vous écouter? 🙂

Facile: Si vous êtes dans votre bureau: face à l’ordi: Notre site:
http://radiosatellite.co

En cliquant sur le logo bleu , en haut , à droite…Vous êtes redirigés sur une autre site . Là, cliquez sur le lecteur et voilà la musique. RIEN A INSTALLER

Si vous êtes comme nous? Mobiles… Ne voulant pas être face à un ordi ( souvent en voiture…à pied… A la montagne.. Dans votre salle de gym/sport…Au lit, faisant une sieste ou juste allongé… En train de faire du rangement..)

Nous vous conseillons vivement d’installer sur votre téléphone (APPLE donc IPHONE ou IPAD ) ANDROID ( Samsung et bien d’autres marques) … BLACKBERRY si c’est la marque de votre smartphone/ mobile..

Installez GRATUITEMENT l’application à partir des APPLE STORE / GOOGLE STORE ou GOOGLE PLAY )

Comme vous avez déjà , sans doute, installé d’autres applications sur votre téléphone… Soit par la méthode de “recherche” ( search) donc saisir
RADIO SATELLITE2 ( le 2 collé )

Soit en cliquant sur ces liens ( via votre mobile…Par votre ordi, cela ne servira qu’à ouvrir le site mais en cliquant dessus via votre connection mobile, vous pourrez installer l’appli selon votre marque utilisée)

 

Si vous possédez un IPHONE / IPAD :
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/radio-satellite2/id975597379?mt=8

Si vous possédez un ANDROID ( SAMSUNG et certaines autres marques): Voir le store: ce doit être GOOGLE
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nobexinc.wls_80172696.rc

Si vous possédez un BLACKBERRY
https://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/59955997/?countrycode=FR&lang=en

Donc facile.. Simple de nous écouter en final…

N’hésitez pas surtout que grâce à Radio Satellite2, vous pourrez découvrir des horizons que les radios traditionnelles ne vous permettent pas.

En espérant vous retrouver parmi nos fidèles auditeurs (déjà plus de 300 000 fidèles auditeurs de par le monde, sans compter ceux qui nous écoutent de temps en temps… )

Country music on RS2


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Banjo and Bluegrass


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Superbe et fabuleux

Kids playing bluegrass / Des enfants jouant du Bluegrass

 

 

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John Denver …let’s listen


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THE STATLER BROTHERS


The Statler Brothers (sometimes referred to in country music circles as simply The Statlers) were an American country music, gospel, and vocal group. The quartet was founded in 1955 and began their career backing Johnny Cash.

 

The statler Brothers are DAILY played on RADIO SATELLITE2 ( click on Logo RS2, to listen) 

between 10h00 PM and Midnight Paris Time

 

 

 

Originally performing gospel music at local churches, the group billed themselves as The Four Star Quartet, and later The Kingsmen.

In 1963, when the song “Louie, Louie” by the garage rock band also called The Kingsmen became famous, the group elected to bill themselves as The Statler Brothers. Despite the name, only two members of the group (Don and Harold Reid) are actual brothers and none have the surname of Statler.

 

The band, in fact, named themselves after a brand of facial tissue they had noticed in a hotel room (they joked that they could have turned out to be the Kleenex Brothers).

Don Reid sang lead; Harold Reid, Don’s older brother, sang bass; Phil Balsley sang baritone; and Lew DeWitt sang tenor and was the guitarist of the Statlers before being replaced by Jimmy Fortune in 1983 due to DeWitt’s ill health.

DeWitt died on August 15, 1990, of heart and kidney disease, stemming from complications of Crohn’s disease.

The band’s style was closely linked to their gospel roots. “We took gospel harmonies,” said Harold Reid, “and put them over in country music.”

The group remained closely tied to their gospel roots, with a majority of their records containing at least one gospel song. They produced several albums containing only gospel music and recorded a tribute song to the Blackwood Brothers, who influenced their music. The Statler Brothers also wrote a tribute song to Johnny Cash, who discovered them. The song was called “We Got Paid by Cash”, and it reminisces about their time with Cash.

Very early on in the group’s history, before the group named themselves “The Statler Brothers,” Joe McDorman was their original lead singer.

The Statler Brothers started their career at a performance at Lyndhurst Methodist Church near their hometown of Staunton.

In 1964, they started to become Johnny Cash’s backing vocal for an 8 1⁄2-year run as his opening act.

This period of their career was memorialized in their song “We Got Paid by Cash”. They were featured regularly on Cash’s hit show The Johnny Cash Show on ABC. The show ran from 1969-1971. Due to their expanding career the Statlers left Cash’s entourage around the mid 1970s to pursue their own careers. They left Cash on good terms.

Two of their best-known songs are “Flowers on the Wall”, their first major hit that was composed and written by Lew DeWitt, and the socially conscious “Bed of Rose’s”. In the 1980s, the Statlers were a mainstay on The Nashville Network (TNN), where their videos were shown regularly. Also on TNN, between 1991 and 1998, they hosted their own show, The Statler Brothers Show, a weekly variety show which was the channel’s top-rated program for its entire run.

Their songs have been featured on several film soundtracks. These range from “Charlotte’s Web” in Smokey and the Bandit II, to “Flowers on the Wall” in the crime dramedy Pulp Fiction.

Throughout their career, much of their appeal was related to their incorporation of comedy and parody into their musical act, thanks in large part to the humorous talent of group member Harold Reid; they were frequently nominated for awards for their comedy as well as their singing. They recorded two comedy albums as Lester “Roadhog” Moran and the Cadillac Cowboys, and one-half of one side of the album Country Music Then and Now was devoted to satirizing small-town radio stations’ Saturday morning shows.

They earned the number one spot on the Billboard chart four times: for “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?” in 1978; “Elizabeth” in 1984; and in 1985, “My Only Love” and “Too Much on My Heart”.

 

Since forming, the Statler Brothers have released over 40 albums.

The Statler Brothers purchased and renovated their former elementary school in Staunton, and occupied the complex for several years.

The complex consisted of offices for the group, a small museum and auditorium, as well as an adjacent building which served as office space for unrelated businesses. A garage was built to store the two tour buses that the group had used for many years. The group has since sold the building which has been converted back into a school.[citation needed]

In 1970, the group began performing at an annual Independence Day festival in Gypsy Hill Park in Staunton. The event, known as “Happy Birthday USA”, lasted for 25 years and included many country music figures including Mel Tillis, Charley Pride and many others. The event drew as many as 100,000 fans each year. The group also honored their hometown with the song “Staunton, Virginia” on their 1973 album Do You Love Me Tonight.

 

 

Retirement

The group disbanded and retired after completing a farewell tour on October 26, 2002. Balsley and the Reid brothers continue to reside in Staunton, while Fortune relocated to Nashville, where he is continuing his music career as a solo artist. He has released three albums as a soloist. The Statlers continue to be one of the most awarded acts in the history of country music.

Since the Statlers’ retirement in 2002, Don Reid has pursued a second career as an author. He authored or co-authored three books: Heroes and Outlaws of the Bible, Sunday Morning Memories, and You’ll Know It’s Christmas When…. He and brother Harold co-wrote a history of the Statler Brothers titled Random Memories released in February 2008.

Grandstaff/Wilson Fairchild

Wil and Langdon Reid, the sons of Harold and Don respectively, formed a duo in the 1990s, originally performing under the name Grandstaff. In 2007, Grandstaff recorded “The Statler Brothers Song”, a tribute song to the Statler Brothers.

In an interview on Nashville’s WSM (AM) on March 25, 2010, Wil Reid said that they decided to change their name to Wilson Fairchild after many people got the name “Grandstaff” wrong during introductions. The name comes from “Wilson”, Wil’s middle name, and “Fairchild”, Langdon’s middle name.

 

FRENCH VERSION

Les Statler Brothers sont un groupe de musique country américain qui s’est formé en 1955 dans la ville de Staunton en Virginie.

Originellement chanteurs de gospel dans les églises de leur état, les membres du groupe se sont ensuite attribué le surnom de « Four Stars » (Quatre étoiles) puis de Kingsmen.

Mais étant donné que le groupe The Kingsmen portait déjà ce nom, le groupe prit finalement le nom de Statler Brothers.

Le groupe avoua par la suite avoir pris ce nom en référence à une marque de mouchoirs. En plaisantant, ils expliquèrent même qu’ils auraient tout aussi bien pu s’appeler les Kleenex Brothers.

Le groupe se compose bel et bien de deux frères, Don Reid (soliste) et Harold Reid (basse).

Les deux autres membres sont le baryton Phil Balsley et le tenor Jimmy Fortune, qui a remplacé Lew DeWitt, l’un des fondateurs du groupe, lorsqu’il prit sa retraite, en 1982, afin de soigner la Maladie de Crohn, dont il souffrait depuis son adolescence, et dont les complications provoquèrent son décès en 1990.

Le style musical du groupe est resté tout au long de sa carrière très proche de ses racines de gospel. Ainsi, Harold Reid expliqua que le groupe utilisa « les mélodies du gospel pour les transposer dans la musique country ».

 

Ainsi, la plupart des albums proposent des titres issus du gospel. Certains albums reposaient même intégralement sur du gospel.

Les chansons des Statler Brothers sont apparues dans de nombreuses bandes originales de films ou de jeux vidéo. Ainsi, la chanson Flowers on the wall apparaît dans Pulp Fiction de Quentin Tarantino, et les chansons Bed of Roses et New York City apparaissent dans le jeu vidéo Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, sur la station K-Rose.

La carrière du groupe a duré 47 ans, depuis 1955 jusqu’en 2002, où Don Reid, Harold Reid et Phil Balsley ont annoncé leur retraite au cours d’une tournée d’adieu. Jimmy Fortune (en) continue depuis sa carrière en solo.

La carrière du groupe a débuté dans la Lynhurst Methodist Church située dans leur ville d’origine, Staunton.

En 1963 débuta une série de huit années de premières parties dans les concerts de Johnny Cash. Cette première partie de carrière fut immortalisée dans leur chanson We were paid by cash (littéralement Nous étions payés cash).

Deux de leurs chansons les plus célèbres sont Flowers on the wall, leur premier gros titre, et Bed of Roses qui firent tous deux l’objet d’un album portant le même nom.

Dans les années 1980, les Statlers comptèrent parmi les groupes les plus importants de la chaîne câblée The Nashville Network où leurs vidéos étaient régulièrement diffusées. Entre 1991 et 1998, ils animèrent même leur propre émission, le The Statler Brothers Show, diffusé quotidiennement sur le TTN.

 

Le programme devint dès lors l’émission la plus regardée de l’émission durant toute la durée de sa diffusion.

Tout au long de leur carrière, leur succès reposa tant sur leurs talents musicaux que sur leur talent pour la comédie et la parodie qu’ils mettaient en œuvres lorsqu’ils chantaient.

Ils étaient ainsi souvent nominés pour des récompenses de comédiens, autant que de chanteurs. Deux de leurs albums, Lester Moran et Cadillac Cowboys se voulaient fondamentalement comiques, et la moitié de l’album Country Music Then and Now était consacré à une satire des émissions dominicales sur les petites radios locales.

Le groupe a atteint à quatre reprises la tête du Classement du Billboard avec leurs chansons Do You Know You Are My Sunshine? en 1978, Elizabeth en 1982, My Only Love en 1984, et Too Much on My Heart en 1985. Au cours de leur carrière, les Statler Brothers ont sorti plus de 40 albums.

 

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La carrière des Statler Brothers a été auréolée de trois Grammy Award : ceux de Best New Country and Western Artist, de Best New Country Music Artist et de Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance en 1965.

Le 29 octobre 2007, cinq années après sa dernière tournée, le groupe a été officiellement intronisé au Gospel Music Hall of Fame de Nashville dans le Tennessee. Le 12 février 2008, l’entrée du groupe dans le Country Music Hall of Fame a été officiellement annoncée.

 

SOURCES WIKIPEDIA

John Denver …let’s listen


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Enjoy music on RS2

John Denver country music

John Denver country music

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also about John Denver :  ALSO ABOUT JOHN DENVER

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MERLE HAGGARD , THE STAR


Merle Ronald Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is an American country and Western songwriter, singer, guitarist, fiddler, and instrumentalist.

MERLE HAGGARD

Merle Haggard

Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster and the unique mix with the traditional country steel guitar sound, new vocal harmony styles in which the words are minimal, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville sound recordings of the same era.

 

By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1994, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.  In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

 

Haggard’s parents, Flossie Mae Harp and James Francis Haggard,  moved to California from their home in Checotah, Oklahoma, during the Great Depression, after their barn burned in 1934.

 

They settled with their children, Lowell and Lillian, in an apartment in Bakersfield, while James Francis Haggard started working for the Santa Fe Railroad. A woman who owned a boxcar, which was placed in Oildale, a nearby town north of Bakersfield, asked Haggard’s father about the possibility of converting it into a house. He remodeled the boxcar, and soon after moved in, also purchasing the lot, where Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937.

 

The property was eventually expanded by building a bathroom, a second bedroom, a kitchen and a breakfast nook in the adjacent lot.

His father died of a brain hemorrhage in 1945, an event that deeply affected Haggard during his childhood, and the rest of his life.

 

To support the family, his mother worked as a bookkeeper. His brother, Lowell, gave Haggard his used guitar as a gift when he was 12 years old. Haggard learned to play alone, with the records he had at home, influenced by Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell and Hank Williams.

 

As his mother was absent due to work, Haggard became progressively rebellious. His mother sent him for a weekend to a juvenile detention center to change his attitude, which worsened.

Haggard committed a number of minor offences, such as thefts and writing bad checks. He was sent to a juvenile detention center for shoplifting in 1950.

Merle Haggard2

When he was 14, Haggard ran away to Texas with his friend Bob Teague.  He rode freight trains and hitchhiked throughout the state.  When he returned the same year, he and his friend were arrested for robbery. Haggard and Teague were released when the real robbers were found. Haggard was later sent to the juvenile detention center, from which he and his friend escaped again to Modesto, California.

 

He worked a series of laborer jobs, including driving a potato truck, being a short order cook, a hay pitcher, and an oil well shooter. His debut performance was with Teague in a Modesto bar named “Fun Center,” being paid US$5, with free beer.

 

He returned to Bakersfield in 1951, and was again arrested for truancy and petty larceny and sent to a juvenile detention center. After another escape, he was sent to the Preston School of Industry, a high-security installation. He was released 15 months later, but was sent back after beating a local boy during a burglary attempt.

 

After his release, Haggard and Teague saw Lefty Frizzell in concert. After hearing Haggard sing along to his songs backstage, Frizzell refused to sing unless Haggard would be allowed to sing first.

 

He sang songs that were well received by the audience. Due to the positive reception, Haggard decided to pursue a career in music. While working as a farmhand or in oil fields, he played in nightclubs. He eventually landed a spot on the local television show Chuck Wagon, in 1956.

 

Married and plagued by financial issues, he was arrested in 1957 shortly after he tried to rob a Bakersfield roadhouse. He was sent to Bakersfield Jail, and was later transferred after an escape attempt to San Quentin Prison, on February 21, 1958. While in prison, Haggard discovered that his wife was expecting a child from another man, which pressed him psychologically.

 

 

He was fired from a series of prison jobs, and planned to escape along with another inmate nicknamed “Rabbit”. Haggard was convinced not to escape by fellow inmates.

Haggard started to run a gambling and brewing racket with his cellmate. After he was caught drunk, he was sent for a week to solitary confinement where he encountered Caryl Chessman, an author and death row inmate.

Meanwhile, “Rabbit” had successfully escaped, only to shoot a police officer and return to San Quentin for execution. Chessman’s predicament, along with the execution of “Rabbit,” inspired Haggard to turn his life around. Haggard soon earned a high school equivalency diploma and kept a steady job in the prison’s textile plant, while also playing for the prison’s country music band, attributing a 1958 performance by Johnny Cash at the prison as his main inspiration to join it.

 

Merle haggard cover album

 

Upon his release in 1960, Haggard said it took about four months to get used to being out of the penitentiary and that, at times, he actually wanted to go back in. He said it was the loneliest he had ever felt.

According to Rolling Stone, “In 1972, then–California governor Ronald Reagan expunged Haggard’s criminal record, granting him a full pardon.”

 

Upon his release, Haggard started digging ditches and wiring houses for his brother. Soon he was performing again, and later began recording with Tally Records.

 

The Bakersfield Sound was developing in the area as a reaction against the over-produced honky tonk of the Nashville Sound. Haggard’s first song was “Skid Row”.

 

In 1962, Haggard wound up performing at a Wynn Stewart show in Las Vegas and heard Wynn’s “Sing a Sad Song”. He asked for permission to record it, and the resulting single was a national hit in 1964.

 

The following year he had his first national top ten record with “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers”, written by Liz Anderson (mother of country singer Lynn Anderson) and his career was off and running.

 

In his 1981 autobiography Merle Haggard: Sing Me Back Home, Haggard recalls having been talked into visiting Anderson—a woman he didn’t know—at her house to hear her sing some songs she had written. “If there was anything I didn’t wanna do, it was sit around some danged woman’s house and listen to her cute little songs. But I went anyway. She was a pleasant enough lady, pretty, with a nice smile, but I was all set to be bored to death, even more so when she got out a whole bunch of songs and went over to an old pump organ…There they were.

 

 

 

My God, one hit right after another. There must have been four or five number one songs there…” In 1966, Haggard recorded his first number-one song “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive”, also written by Liz Anderson, which Haggard acknowledges in his autobiography remains his most popular number with audiences.”

 

Haggard felt a connection to the song immediately and when it was released it became his first number one country hit. When Anderson played the song for Haggard, she was unaware about his prison stretch.

 

“I guess I didn’t realize how much the experience at San Quentin did to him, ’cause he never talked about it all that much,” Bonnie Owens, Haggard’s backup singer and then-wife, is quoted by music journalist Daniel Cooper in the liner notes to the 1994 retrospective Down Every Road. “I could tell he was in a dark mood…and I said, ‘Is everything okay?’ And he said, ‘I’m really scared.’ And I said, ‘Why?’ And he said, ‘Cause I’m afraid someday I’m gonna be out there…and there’s gonna be some convict…some prisoner that was in there the same time I was in, stand up – and they’re gonna be about the third row down – and say, ‘What do you think you’re doing, 45200?'”

Cooper notes that the news had little effect on Haggard’s career:

“It’s unclear when or where Merle first acknowledged to the public that his prison songs were rooted in personal history, for to his credit, he doesn’t seem to have made some big splash announcement.  In a May 1967 profile in Music City News, his prison record is never mentioned. But in July 1968, in the very same publication, it’s spoken of as if it were common knowledge.”

The 1966 album Branded Man kicked off an incredible artistic run for Haggard; in 2013 Haggard biographer David Cantwell states, “The immediate successors to I’m a Lonesome Fugitive – Branded Man in 1967 and, in ’68, Sing Me Back Home and The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde – were among the finest albums of their respective years.” Haggard’s new recordings largely centered around Roy Nichols’s Telecaster, Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar, and the harmony vocals provided by Bonnie Owens.

Merle_Haggard_1975

M HAGGARD

At the time of Haggard’s first top-ten hit “(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers” in 1965, Owens was actually the better known performer, a fixture on the Bakersfieldclub scene who had recorded and appeared on television. Bonnie, who had been married to Buck Owens, won the new Academy of Country Music’s first ever award for Female Vocalist after her 1965 debut album, Don’t Take Advantage of Me, hit the top five on the country albums chart. However, there were no more hit singles, and although Owens recorded six solo albums on Capitol between 1965 and 1970, she became mainly known for her background harmonies on Haggard hits like “Sing Me Back Home” and “Branded Man.”

 

Producer Ken Nelson took a hands-off approach to producing Haggard. In the episode of American Masters dedicated to him, Haggard remembers: “The producer I had at that time, Ken Nelson, was an exception to the rule. He called me ‘Mr. Haggard’ and I was a little twenty-four, twenty-five year old punk from Oildale…

 

He gave me complete responsibility. I think if he’d jumped in and said, ‘Oh, you can’t do that,’ it would’ve destroyed me.”  In the documentary series Lost Highway, Nelson recalls, “When I first started recording Merle, I became so enamored with his singing that I would forget what else was going on, and I suddenly realized, ‘Wait a minute, there’s musicians here you’ve got to worry about!’ But his songs – he was a great writer.”

 

Towards the end of the decade, Haggard went on a songwriting tear, composing several #1 hits as “Mama Tried,” “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde,” “Hungry Eyes,” and “Sing Me Back Home.” Daniel Cooper calls “Sing Me Back Home,” “a ballad that works on so many different levels of the soul it defies one’s every attempt to analyze it.”

 

In a 1977 interview inBillboard with Bob Eubanks, Haggard reflected, “Even though the crime was brutal and the guy was an incorrigible criminal, it’s a feeling you never forget when you see someone you know make that last walk. They bring him through the yard, and there’s a guard in front and a guard behind – that’s how you know a death prisoner.

 

They brought Rabbit out…taking him to see the Father,…prior to his execution. That was a strong picture that was left in my mind.” In 1968, Haggard’s first tribute LP Same Train, Different Time: A Tribute to Jimmie Rodgers, was released to acclaim.

 

 

Okie From Muskogee”, 1969’s apparent political statement, was, according to some Merle Haggard interviews decades later, actually written as a humorous character portrait. In one such interview, Haggard called the song a “documentation of the uneducated that lived in America at the time

 

 

However, he said later on the Bob Edwards Show that “I wrote it when I recently got out of the joint. I knew what it was like to lose my freedom, and I was getting really mad at these protesters.

 

They didn’t know anything more about the war in Vietnam than I did. I thought how my dad, who was from Oklahoma, would have felt. I felt I knew how those boys fighting in Vietnam felt.” In the country music documentary series Lost Highway, he elaborates: “My dad passed away when I was nine, and I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about somebody you’ve lost and you say, ‘I wonder what so-and-so would think about this?’ I was drivin’ on Interstate 40 and I saw a sign that said “19 Miles to Muskogee.”

 

Muskogee was always referred to in my childhood as ‘back home.’ So I saw that sign and my whole childhood flashed before my eyes and I thought, ‘I wonder what dad would think about the youthful uprising that was occurring at the time,  On December 19, 2006, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a citizen-led resolution to rename a portion of 7th Standard Road in Oildale as Merle Haggard Drive, which will stretch from North Chester Avenue west to U.S. Route 99.

 

The first street travelers will turn onto when they leave the new airport terminal will be Merle Haggard Drive.

In 2006, Haggard was honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards. During his songwriting career, Haggard has earned 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI “Million-Air” awards, all from a catalog of songs that adds up to over 25 million performances.

Merle Haggard accepted the prestigious award for lifetime achievement and “outstanding contribution to American culture” from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 4, 2010. At a December 5, 2010 gala in Washington, D.C. he was honored with musical performances by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley. This tribute was featured on the December 28, 2010 CBS telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors.

 

On June 14, 2013, the California State University, Bakersfield, honored Merle Haggard for his contributions to the arts with the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts. Haggard stepped to the podium and said, “Thank you. It’s nice to be noticed.” On January 26, 2014, Haggard performed his 1969 song “Okie from Muskogee” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards along with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton

Gary Keck, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah and an ardent fan of Haggard, introduced a series of chemical analogues of a biologically active natural product called bryostatin 1 and named them “Merle compunds” to honor his idol’s legacy….I understood them, I got along with it, but what if he was to come alive at this moment?

And I thought, what a way to describe the kind of people in America that are still sittin’ in the center of the country sayin’, ‘What is goin’ on on these campuses?’

 

” In the American Masters episode about his life and career, however, a more defiant Haggard states that the song was more than a satire: ”

 

That’s how I got into it with the hippies…I thought they were unqualified to judge America, and I thought they were lookin’ down their noses at something that I cherished very much, and it pissed me off. And I thought, ‘You sons of bitches, you’ve never been restricted away from this great, wonderful country, and yet here you are in the streets bitchin’ about things, protesting about a war that they didn’t know any more about than I did.

 

Merle_Haggard_in_1971

They weren’t over there fightin’ that war anymore than I was.” Haggard began performing the song in concert in the fall of 1969 and was astounded at the reaction it received. As David Cantwell notes in his 2013 book Merle Haggard: The Running Kind, “The Haggard camp knew they were on to something.

 

Everywhere they went, every show, ‘Okie’ did more than prompt enthusiastic applause. There was an unanticipated adulation racing through the crowds now, standing ovations that went on and on and sometimes left the audience and the band-members alike teary-eyed.

 

Merle had somehow stumbled upon a song that expressed previously inchoate fears, spoke out loud gripes and anxieties otherwise only whispered, and now people were using his song, were using him, to connect themselves to these larger concerns and to one another.”

 

The studio version, which is far mellower than the usually raucous concert versions, topped the charts in the fall of 1969, where it remained for a month, and also hit number 41 on the pop charts, becoming Haggard’s all-time biggest hit (until his 1973 crossover Christmas smash “If We Make It Through December”) and signature tune.

Haggard was beginning to attract attention from artists outside the country field, such as crooner Dean Martin, who recorded “I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am” for his album of the same name in 1969.

 

In addition, the Gram Parsons incarnation of the Byrds had performed “Sing Me Back Home” on the Grand Ole Opry and had recorded Haggard’s “Life in Prison” for their album Sweetheart of the Rodeo the same year.

 

In 1969 the Grateful Dead began performing Haggard’s tune “Mama Tried”, which appeared on their 1971 eponymous live album. The song became a staple in their repertoire until the band’s end in 1995.

 

Singer-activist Joan Baez, whose political leanings could not be more different from those expressed in Haggard’s above-referenced songs, nonetheless covered “Sing Me Back Home” and “Mama Tried” in 1969. The Everly Brothers also used both songs in their 1968 country-rock album Roots.

 

 

In the original Rolling Stone review for Haggard’s 1968 album Mama Tried, Andy Wickham wrote, “His songs romanticize the hardships and tragedies of America’s transient proletarian and his success is resultant of his inherent ability to relate to his audience a commonplace experience with precisely the right emotional pitch…Merle Haggard looks the part and sounds the part because he is the part. He’s great.”

 

However, his next single, 1970’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, was so unapologetically right wing that it left no doubt as to where Haggard stood politically.

 

It became his fourth consecutive #1 country hit and also made an appearance on the pop chart, but any ideas that Haggard was a closeted liberal sympathizer were irretrievably squashed.

 

 

In the song, Haggard allows that he doesn’t mind the counterculture “switchin’ sides and standin’ up for what they believe in” but resolutely declares, “If you don’t love it, leave it!” In May 1970, Haggard explained to John Grissom of Rolling Stone, “I don’t like their views on life, their filth, their visible self-disrespect, y’ know. They don’t give a shit what they look like or what they smell like…What do they have to offer humanity?”

 

Ironically, Haggard had wanted to follow “Okie from Muskogee” with “Irma Jackson,” a song that dealt head-on with an interracial romance between a white man and an African-American woman.

 

His producer Ken Nelson discouraged him from releasing it as a single.

 

As Jonathan Bernstein recounts in his online Rolling Stone article “Merle Haggard Reluctantly Unveils ‘The Fightin’ Side of Me'”, “Hoping to distance himself from the harshly right-wing image he had accrued in the wake of the hippie-bashing “Muskogee,” Haggard wanted to take a different direction and release “Irma Jackson” as his next single…

 

 

When the Bakersfield, California native brought the song to his record label, executives were reportedly appalled.

 

In the wake of ‘Okie,’ Capitol Records was not interested in complicating Haggard’s conservative, blue-collar image.”After “The Fightin’ Side of Me” was released instead, Haggard later commented to the Wall Street Journal, “People are narrow-minded.

 

Down South they might have called me a nigger lover.. In an interview in 2001, Haggard stated that Nelson, who was also head of the country division at Capitol at the time, never interfered with his music but “this one time he came out and said, ‘Merle…I don’t believe the world is ready for this yet’…And he might have been right. I might’ve canceled out where I was headed in my career..

 

 

“Okie From Muskogee”, “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, and “I Wonder If They Think of Me” were hailed as anthems of the Silent Majority and presaged a trend in patriotic songs that would reappear years later with Charlie Daniels’ “In America”, Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA”, and others. Haggard’s next LP was A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World, dedicated to Bob Wills, which helped spark a permanent revival and expanded audience for western swing.

 

By this point, Haggard was one of the most famous country singers in the world, having enjoyed an immensely successful artistic and commercial run with Capitol accumulating twenty-four #1 country singles since 1966.

 

On Tuesday, March 14, 1972, shortly after “Carolyn” became another number one country hit, then-California governor Ronald Reagan granted Haggard a full pardon for his past crimes. In the fall of 1972, “Let Me Tell You about A Song,” the first TV special starring Merle Haggard, was nationally syndicated by Capital Cities TV Productions.

 

It was a semi-autobiographical, musical profile of Haggard, akin to the contemporary “Behind The Music,” produced and directed by Michael Davis. The 1973 recession anthem “If We Make It Through December” furthered Haggard’s status as a champion of the working class.

 

“If We Make It Through December” turned out to be Haggard’s last pop hit. Haggard appeared on the cover of TIME on May 6, 1974. He also wrote and performed the theme song to the television series Movin’ On, which in 1975 gave him another number one country hit. During the early to mid-1970s, Haggard’s chart domination continued with songs like “Someday We’ll Look Back”, “Grandma Harp”, “Always Wanting You”, and “The Roots of My Raising”.

 

Between 1973 and 1976, Haggard scored 9 consecutive #1 country hits. In 1977, he switched to MCA Records and began exploring the themes of depression, alcoholism, and middle age on albums like Serving 190 Proof and The Way I Am. Haggard sang a duet cover of Billy Burnette’s What’s A Little Love Between Friends with Lynda Carter in her 1980 television music special Lynda Carter: Encore!

 

 

He also scored a #1 hit in 1980 with “Bar Room Buddies,” a duet with movie star Clint Eastwood that appeared on the Bronco Billy soundtrack.

In 1981, Haggard published an autobiography, Sing Me Back Home. That same year, he alternately spoke and sang the ballad “The Man in the Mask”. Written by Dean Pitchford (whose other output includes “Fame”, “Footloose”, “Sing”, “Solid Gold”, and the musical Carrie), this was the combined narration/theme from the movie The Legend of the Lone Ranger, a box-office flop.

 

Haggard also jumped record labels again in 1981, moving to Epic and releasing one of his most critically acclaimed albums, Big City. Between 1981 and 1985, Haggard scored twelve Top 10 country hits, with nine of them reaching #1, including “My Favorite Memory,” “Going Where the Lonely Go,” “Someday When Things Are Good,” and “Natural High.”

 

In addition, Haggard recorded two chart topping duets with George Jones (“Yesterdays’ Wine” in 1982) and Willie Nelson (“Pancho and Lefty” in 1983).

 

Nelson believed the 1983 Academy Award-winning film Tender Mercies, about the life of fictional singer Mac Sledge, was based on the life of Merle Haggard. Actor Robert Duvall and other filmmakers denied this and claimed the character was based on nobody in particular. Duvall, however, said he was a big fan of Haggard. He won a Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his 1984 remake of “That’s The Way Love Goes.” Haggard and third wife Leona Williams divorced in 1983 after five stormy years of marriage and the split, which took Haggard by surprise, served as a license to party for Haggard, who spent much of the next decade becoming mired in alcohol and drug problems. Haggard has often stated that he was in the stages of his own mid-life crisis, or “male menopause,” around this time. In the documentary Learning to Live With Myself, the singer is quoted in an interview from around the time: “Things that you’ve enjoyed for years don’t seem nearly as important, and you’re at war with yourself as to what’s happening. ‘Why don’t I like that anymore? Why do I like this now?’ And finally, I think you actually go through a biological change, you just, you become another…

Your body is getting ready to die and your mind doesn’t agree.” By the mid-eighties he was addicted to cocaine but managed to kick the habit. However, he was hampered by financial woes well into the 1990s as his presence on the charts continued to diminish as newer singers had begun to take over country music, and singers like George Strait and Randy Travis had taken over the charts. Haggard’s last number one hit was “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” from his smash album Chill Factor in 1988.

 

In 1989, Haggard recorded a song, “Me and Crippled Soldiers Give a Damn”, in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow flag burning under the First Amendment. After CBS Records Nashville avoided releasing the song, Haggard bought his way out of the contract and signed with Curb Records, which was willing to release the song.

 

Of the situation, Haggard commented, “I’ve never been a guy that can do what people told me…It’s always been my nature to fight the system.”

 

 

In 2000, Haggard made a comeback of sorts, signing with the independent record label Anti and releasing the spare If I Could Only Flyto critical acclaim.

 

He followed it in 2001 with Roots, vol. 1, a collection of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson covers, along with three Haggard originals.

 

The album, recorded in Haggard’s living room with no overdubs, featured Haggard’s longtime bandmates The Strangers as well as Frizzell’s original lead guitarist, Norman Stephens.

 

In December 2004, Haggard spoke at length on Larry King Live about his incarceration as a young man and said it was “hell” and “the scariest experience of my life”.

Haggard’s number one hit single “Mama Tried” is featured in the 2003 film Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris as well as in Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler. In addition, his song “Swingin’ Doors” can be heard in the 2004 film Crash and his 1981 hit “Big City” is heard in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film “Fargo” and in the 2008 Larry Bishop film “Hell Ride”.

 

In October 2005, Haggard released his album Chicago Wind to mostly positive reviews. The album contained an anti-Iraq war song titled “America First,” in which he laments the nation’s economy and faltering infrastructure, applauds its soldiers, and sings, “Let’s get out of Iraq, and get back on track.”

Merle_Haggard_in_concert_2013

 

This follows from his 2003 release “Haggard Like Never Before” in which he includes a song, “That’s The News”. Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions, on October 2, 2007.

 

In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19.

 

In April 2010, Haggard released a new album, I Am What I Am. Released to strong reviews, Haggard performed the title song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2011. His 2014 and 2015 tour schedule has been aggressive, including over 30 cities in 2015 alone, suggesting the kind of performing stamina usually characterized by artists half Haggard’s age.

 

 

In 2000, Haggard made a comeback of sorts, signing with the independent record label Anti and releasing the spare If I Could Only Flyto critical acclaim.

 

He followed it in 2001 with Roots, vol. 1, a collection of Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, and Hank Thompson covers, along with three Haggard originals.

 

The album, recorded in Haggard’s living room with no overdubs, featured Haggard’s longtime bandmates The Strangers as well as Frizzell’s original lead guitarist, Norman Stephens.

In December 2004, Haggard spoke at length onLarry King Live about his incarceration as a young man and said it was “hell” and “the scariest experience of my life”.

Haggard’s number one hit single “Mama Tried” is featured in the 2003 film Radio with Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris as well as in Bryan Bertino’s “The Strangers” with Liv Tyler.

 

In addition, his song “Swingin’ Doors” can be heard in the 2004 film Crash and his 1981 hit “Big City” is heard in Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 film “Fargo” and in the 2008 Larry Bishop film “Hell Ride”.

 

In October 2005, Haggard released his album Chicago Wind to mostly positive reviews. The album contained an anti-Iraq war song titled “America First,” in which he laments the nation’s economy and faltering infrastructure, applauds its soldiers, and sings, “Let’s get out of Iraq, and get back on track.” This follows from his 2003 release “Haggard Like Never Before” in which he includes a song, “That’s The News”.

 

Haggard released a bluegrass album, The Bluegrass Sessions, on October 2, 2007. In 2008, Haggard was going to perform at Riverfest in Little Rock, Arkansas, but the concert was canceled because he was ailing, and three other concerts were canceled as well; however, he was back on the road in June and successfully completed a tour that ended on October 19.

 

In April 2010, Haggard released a new album, I Am What I Am. Released to strong reviews, Haggard performed the title song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in February 2011.

 

His 2014 and 2015 tour schedule has been aggressive, including over 30 cities in 2015 alone, suggesting the kind of performing stamina usually characterized by artists half Haggard’s age.

 

Haggard has been married five times, first to Leona Hobbs from 1956 to 1964. They had four children: Dana, Marty, Kelli, Noel. They divorced, and in 1965 he married singer Bonnie Owens, former wife of Buck Owens, and a successful country singer at the time. Haggard has credited her with helping him make his big break as a country artist. Haggard shared the writing credit with Owens for his hit “Today I Started Loving You Again”, and has acknowledged, including on stage, that the song was about a sudden burst of special feelings he experienced for her while they were touring together.

 

She also helped care for Haggard’s children from his first wife and was the maid of honor for Haggard’s third marriage. Haggard and Owens divorced in 1978. In 1978 Haggard married Leona Williams; they divorced in 1983.

 

In 1985 Haggard married Debbie Parret, but they divorced in 1991. He married his current wife, Theresa Ann Lane, on September 11, 1993. They have two children, Jenessa and Ben.

 

On December 19, 2006, the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a citizen-led resolution to rename a portion of 7th Standard Road in Oildale as Merle Haggard Drive, which will stretch from North Chester Avenue west to U.S. Route 99. The first street travelers will turn onto when they leave the new airport terminal will be Merle Haggard Drive.

In 2006, Haggard was honored as a BMI Icon at the 54th annual BMI Pop Awards. During his songwriting career, Haggard has earned 48 BMI Country Awards, nine BMI Pop Awards, a BMI R&B Award, and 16 BMI “Million-Air” awards, all from a catalog of songs that adds up to over 25 million performances.

Merle Haggard accepted the prestigious award for lifetime achievement and “outstanding contribution to American culture” from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on December 4, 2010. At a December 5, 2010 gala in Washington, D.C.

 

he was honored with musical performances by Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Jamey Johnson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert and Brad Paisley.

 

Merle_Haggard_2010

 

This tribute was featured on the December 28, 2010 CBS telecast of the Kennedy Center Honors. On June 14, 2013, the California State University, Bakersfield, honored Merle Haggard for his contributions to the arts with the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts.

 

Haggard stepped to the podium and said, “Thank you. It’s nice to be noticed.” On January 26, 2014, Haggard performed his 1969 song “Okie from Muskogee” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards along with Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton

 

Gary Keck, a chemistry professor at the University of Utah and an ardent fan of Haggard, introduced a series of chemical analogues of a biologically active natural product called bryostatin 1 and named them “Merle compunds” to honor his idol’s legacy.

 

SOURCES : WIKIPEDIA

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