Born in the U.S.A.: Top 50 Stars of the 50 States
Colorado: John Denver was born (as Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr.) in Roswell, New Mexico. Still, his name and smashes as "Rocky Mountain High" have made him as much a part of Colorado as Coors beer. Redferns

Each Tuesday, we revisit Billboard's archives for a look at what notable titles were climbing the charts on this date.

This week, we travel back to this week in 1974.

NO. 1 'SONG': Of John Denver's first eight Billboard Hot 100 entries, two ascended to the top 10: his 1971 debut "Take Me Home, Country Roads" (No. 2) and 1973's "Rocky Mountain High" (No. 9). His other chart singles peaked between Nos. 47 and 89.

Beginning with his ninth charted title, Denver began a run in which four of six Hot 100 hits reached No. 1. In March 1974, "Sunshine on My Shoulders" became his first topper. This week 35 years ago, the follow-up, "Annie's Song," became his second leader, rising 2-1 in its ninth chart week. Denver reached No. 1 again with "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry" in 1975.

In a special feature in the Billboard issue this week in 1974 entitled "Colorado: Music From a Pure Sky," Billboard's Nat Freedland spotlighted Denver. He wrote, "Atop a ridegetop meadow, Denver's house looks like a futuristic barn and has the most commanding view over the 8,900-foot-high skiing utopia below. 'When I get to the mountains, I'm happy,' (Denver) says. 'That's all there is to it.' "

The music of the late legend lives on. "Playlist: The Very Best of John Denver" last week spent its 35th week on Country Albums. The collection peaked at No. 39 in January.

'SWEET,' SOUL MUSIC: This week in 1974, two eventual classics debuted on the lower rungs of the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Soul Singles (now known as R&B/Hip-Hop Songs), respectively.

At No. 93 on the former list, the seventh-highest of 11 debuts marked the first Hot 100 appearance for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The group's signature song, "Sweet Home Alabama," began a 17-week chart life, peaking at No. 8 that October to become the band's sole top 10. The iconic rock act releases its new album, "God & Guns," Sept. 29.

On Hot Soul Singles this week 35 years ago, 11 songs also debuted, with the track at No. 90 becoming the eventual second No. 1 for Barry White. "Can't Get Enough of Your Love, Babe" went on to spend three weeks at No. 1 in September 1974.

CHICAGO(S): Here is the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week in 1974. While the group Chicago soared 23-10, a song with the Windy City's name in its title charged toward the top 10. Paper Lace's "The Night Chicago Died" darted 32-14, eventually topping the chart dated Aug. 17, 1974.

No. 1, "Annie's Song" John Denver
No. 2, "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Elton John
No. 3, "Rock and Roll Heaven "The Righteous Brothers
No. 4, "Rock Your Baby" George McRae
No. 5, "Rikki, Don't Lose That Number" Steely Dan
No. 6, "Feel Like Makin' Love" Roberta Flack
No. 7, "The Air That I Breathe" The Hollies
No. 8, "Rock the Boat" The Hues Corporation
No. 9, "Please Come to Boston" Dave Loggins
No. 10, "Call On Me" Chicago

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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