In 1975, John Denver had two singles that hit number one, one record that reached #2, and a duet with Oliva Newton-John that got as high as #13. followed by a Christmas single. Looking For Space only got as high as #29 in 1976 and was his highest-charting single for the rest of his career.
The song was inspired by John’s experiences with est, a group seminar that he attended in the early seventies. Erhard Seminars Training (est) was designed, founded, and initially taught by Werner Erhard beginning in 1971. The seminars have had their share of controversy including claims that the meetings were cult-like and included some types of mind control. Others have written that the course is derived in part from Zen Buddhism.
John was the guest host for the Tonight show on September 24, 1973. One of his guests that night was Werner Erhard. During the show, the two discussed and demonstrated the concept of “space” as it was later used in John’s song in 1976.
The est training events took place from 1971 to 1984, after which the course was modified and offered as The Forum training. Werner retired and the Forum seminars were discontinued In 1991. A group of Forum trainers purchased the rights to the training and formed Landmark. Landmark modified and continued offering trainings based on the concepts of the Forum and est and still exists today.
If you watched the television series The Americans, you may remember Phillip attending est seminars and being impacted by its teachings.