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John Denver died 20 years ago today, and to commemorate the anniversary, the famed singer/songwriter’s estate has released a previously unheard cover of the 1990 Judy Collins tune “The Blizzard.” The track, which Denver recorded in the early ’90s, is available now as a digital single and via streaming services. You also can listen to the song online at Billboard.com and on SoundCloud.
Denver sent Collins a demo of his rendition, but never released his version of the song. A master recording of the track was discovered last year by his estate, which decided to put the tune out in tribute to John.
“It’s a very John Denver song,” Brian Schwartz, the estate’s director, tells Billboard. “We’re honoring his music and his life by releasing this track that we found in the archives. We mixed it, we mastered it. John Denver fans are rabid. They’re going to freak out when they hear this.”
Schwartz reports that a few other unreleased songs were discovered at the same time as “The Blizzard” that also eventually may see the light of day. In addition, he reveals that the estate is planning to issue some previously unreleased live recordings next year.
In other news, a new Denver compilation called The Windstar Greatest Hits will be released as a vinyl LP and digital download on December 1, while a limited-edition blue-vinyl version of the album will be sold exclusively at Cracker Barrel stores. The 11-track collection includes such memorable songs as “Rocky Mountain High,” “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders” and “Annie’s Song.”
Denver died on October 12, 1997, in a plane crash. He was 53.
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