Former New York City radio cowboy Denver Darling is best remembered for his patriotic World War II songs. Darling -- his real name -- was born in Whopock, Illinois, and raised in Jewett. When he was twelve, a neighbor introduced him to the guitar. Seven years later, he began working at a radio station in Terre Haute, Indiana. Over the next six years, Darling sang at several Midwestern radio stations, and at the end of 1937 came to New York City, where he would spend most of his career. When not appearing on the radio two or three times daily, he would perform at the well-known country nightclub the Village Barn, from which performances were occasionally broadcast nationally.
In November 1941, Darling made his recording debut; in the midst of his second session, World War II erupted. His subsequent patriotic songs, such as "Cowards Over Pearl Harbor," "The Devil and Mr. Hitler," and "When Mussolini Laid His Pistol Down," were designed to inspire troops and provide comfort for their families back home. Over the next five years, he released 36 singles, not all of them were patriotic; Darling also recorded under the name of Tex Grande and his Range Riders. His final sessions were in 1947 when he cut 12 singles for MGM, after which he began having throat problems and grew uncomfortable with big city life. He and his family moved back to Jewett, where Darling lived as a farmer for the next 30 years. Although his war songs were very popular at the time, they have largely faded into obscurity.