Song of the Day #3,633: ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ – Gail Sophicha

I want to dedicate a full week to ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane,’ but I’ve run out of official releases, so today I leave you with a cover version by 8-year-old Thai YouTuber Gail Sophicha.

One last fun fact about this song: In the late 80s, New Order released a song called ‘Run’ which they later remixed for a 12″ single titled ‘Run 2.’ Either John Denver or his publishing company (depending on which source you read) believed ‘Run 2’ closely resembled ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ in parts. They successfully sued, preventing the re-release of the single and earning Denver songwriting credit on the track.

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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.’

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Song of the Day #3,631: ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ – John Denver

Peter, Paul and Mary scored their only #1 hit with ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ in 1969, but John Denver released his own version that year as well. Nestled on Side B of his sophomore album Rhymes & Reasons, it was one of only three original compositions on the record.

This version of the song was recently used for the opening of an episode of Barry, a dark HBO comedy starring Bill Hader as a hitman trying to succeed in Hollywood. That scene reminded me of how much I love this song and led to this theme week, so you can either thank or blame Bill Hader.

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Song of the Day #3,630: ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ – Peter, Paul and Mary

John Denver recorded his demo of ‘Babe, I Hate to Go’ in 1966, but the song got its first proper release a year later as ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ by Peter, Paul and Mary, appearing on their eighth album, titled Album 1700.

The trio released the song as a single two years later and wound up with their first (and only) #1 Billboard hit. For many people, this is the version of the song they know best.

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Song of the Day #3,629: ‘Babe, I Hate To Go’ – John Denver

Initially, I planned to follow up last week’s Neil Diamond appreciation with a similar dive into the work of John Denver. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

I realized quickly that I’ve already featured most of my favorite John Denver songs, including ‘Annie’s Song,’ ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads‘ and ‘Rocky Mountain High.’

And after some digging, I realized I dislike pretty much everything else the man has recorded. So there’s that.

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Song of the Day #3,491: ‘Annie’s Song’ – John Denver

Another favorite movie music moment from 2017 is from Bong Joon-ho’s Okja, and it’s the second example this week to feature a John Denver song.

In fact, by coincidence or cosmic fate, John Denver’s songs were featured in no fewer than five films last year, including the Kingsman and Alien sequels and the crime film Free Fire.

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Song of the Day #3,489: ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ – John Denver

Continuing my pattern of looking back at 2017 well into 2018, this week I’ll highlight five of my favorite musical moments from last year’s movies.

Two of these picks are performed by characters in the films, one is played through headphones by a character in the film, one is a song used as score and the last is a traditional instrumental score (and a bit of a cheat, as I’ll explain when I get there).

Where possible, I’ll embed a clip of the actual scene as well as the original song.

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