Our country boy

October 14, 1997

THEY SAID that John Denver, the country music star of the 1970s, went out of style. Not in Baltimore. His bond to seventh-inning music lovers in this region was as strong at his death Sunday as in 1975 when his great hit, "Thank God, I'm a Country Boy," came out.

John Henry Deutschendorf was a more sophisticated artist than the songs he wrote and sang under his shorter name implied. He was also concerned about the resources of the planet and the frontiers of technology. He died off California's coast, age 53, in a crash piloting his experimental plane.

"Country Boy" is the public address anthem of the seventh-inning stretch at Orioles games. Baseball being a game of tradition and ritual, managements tempted to replace it with trendier fare faced fan rebellion. "Country Boy" came back, like Harold Baines, and as dependable as Cal Ripken. It will replay as long as baseball is performed professionally in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 10/14/97

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