Song of the Day #3,632: ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ – John Denver

John Denver made the interesting decision to release a greatest hits album just four years into his solo career. To be fair, he had released seven studio albums by that time, including one just a few months earlier, but he wasn’t exactly a hit machine. Only three of his songs had reached Billboard’s top ten.

Denver re-recorded more than half of the songs, believing he had grown as an artist and a singer over the years and owed these tracks a revisit. One of those new recordings was ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane.’

This is a lovely version, and yes, probably a better vocal take than the Rhymes and Reasons version featured yesterday. But I prefer the less polished, more heartfelt, earlier take.

Incidentally, Denver’s decision to release a possibly premature greatest hits collection was a good one. It went on to sell more than 10 million copies, becoming his most successful album by far.

[Verse 1]
All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go
I’m standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breaking, it’s early morn
The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome I could die
[Chorus]
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

[Verse 2]
There’s so many times I let you down
So many times I’ve played around
I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing
Every place I go, I’ll think of you
Every song I sing, I’ll sing for you
When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring

[Chorus]
So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

[Verse 3]
Now the time has come to leave you
One more time, let me kiss you
Then close your eyes, I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won’t have to leave alone
About the times I won’t have to say

[Chorus]
Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leaving on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

[Outro]
I’m leaving on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,632: ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ – John Denver

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I think I like this version a bit more than yesterday’s. One interesting thing I’ve been following with this week’s study of this song is the different ways the line “don’t know when I’ll be back again” is sung. In the version from yesterday, Denver takes a less expected approach. PP&M sang the line in the more straight forward progression. Then, in today’s greatest hits version, Denver goes the more expected route, by then probably far more familiar to the listener given PP&M’s hit, save for the last time the line is sung, in which he reverts to the original notes.

  2. Amy says:

    Since Daniel is toying with making his first album a “Greatest Hits,” I particularly like this story. This is the version of the song I know best, so it’s immediately familiar and comforting. Makes me so sad to think about John Denver. As I hear the song right now, just as any time I do, I tear up. Only Denver’s version, and it’s, of course, because he died so young. I’m dutifully listening to all the versions in order to vote in today’s poll, but I can’t fathom any will top this, the version I’ve always loved.

  3. Amy says:

    Just went back through the week’s posts and have to say that this is the definitive version… and it’s the one that’s truly poignant. He may have only been a few years older, but he sings the lyrics with a gravity here that do justice to the intention behind them. Such a beautiful song. Thanks for the deep dive.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.