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1970s / John Denver Rocky Mountain High
In 1972, Denver scored his first top ten album, with Rocky Mountain High, while its title track reached the Top Ten in 1973. In 1974, "Sunshine on My Shoulders" and "Annie's Song" both went to number one, and "Back Home Again" made it to number five. In 1975, he again had two number ones, "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" and "Calypso/I'm Sorry," and a top twenty hit, "Sweet Surrender." Key to Denver's success were his many appearances on television, which in the pre-MTV era of the 1970s, with his long blond hair, embroidered 'western' shirts, affable manner & granny glasses, made him one of the first truly "tele-genic" pop stars. In subsequent years, Denver had a lower-profile career. He had a few more U.S. Top 30 hits as the 1970s ended, but nothing to match the success he enjoyed earlier. As his career slowed down, Denver focused more on humanitarian and sustainability work. He worked extensively on conservation projects and helped to create the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. On October 12, 1997, Denver was killed when the Long-EZ aircraft he was piloting crashed just off the coast of California at Pacific Grove, shortly after taking off from the Monterey Peninsula Airport.