♫ Leaving On A Jet Plane ♫

Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of the plane crash that killed singer John Denver.  I was not aware of it yesterday, else I would not be a day late in playing this song, but friend Ellen informed me of the occasion yesterday afternoon.  Ellen also kindly pointed me to a video clip that seems appropriate to mark the occasion of Denver’s death at age 53.  The clip comes from Burt Sugarman’s show, The Midnight Special on August 19, 1972.  This episode was filmed less than three months before the presidential election that would see Richard Milhous Nixon begin a second term that he would not complete.  According to the IMDB …

John Denver guest hosted this Pilot (Episode 1) with guests that included: Mama Cass, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Harry Chapin, Linda Ronstadt, Argent and Helen Reddy. The theme of this pilot was to encourage the youth that had reached 18 years to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. The voting age had just been lowered to 18. The two biggest issues, at that time, were Watergate and the war in Vietnam. Among the musical highlights were Harry Chapin performing his hit “Taxi”, Linda Ronstadt sang her popular ballad “Long Long Time”, Helen Reddy sang “I Am Woman” and the Britsh group Argent performed their 1972 hit “Hold Tour Head High” [sic]. Wolfman Jack appeared on camera as the main host and announcer and previewed upcoming shows, which he would do for the series’ 8 year run.

In this clip, Denver is joined by ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot, formerly of the Mamas and the Papas, and the two do a duet of Leaving on a Jet Plane, a song that had been made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1967.  Interestingly, Cass Elliot would die of heart failure less than two years after singing with John Denver.

Denver wrote the song in 1966.  It turned out to be Peter, Paul and Mary’s biggest (and final) hit, becoming their only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.  This one surprised me, for I am a fan of PPM, but Leaving on a Jet Plane is not my favourite of their works.

At any rate … in honour of John Denver, a day late, I give you …

Leaving on a Jet Plane
John Denver & Cass Elliot

All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’
It’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’
He’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome
I could die

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 leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

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

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 leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

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

Oh, 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 leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

But, I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Songwriters: John Denver
Leaving on a Jet Plane lyrics © Reservoir One Music, Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management

14 thoughts on “♫ Leaving On A Jet Plane ♫

      • Jill, this is a treat. They harmonized so well together. I saw her do a song with older crooner Andy Williams on his show where they sang two different songs together that interplayed off each other.

        Her talent was immense. Like Eschudel said, it is ironic and sad Denver’s life ended soon and by a plane crash. He was an extremely talented songwriter and lovely performer. I watch and listen to his old concerts whenever they crop up on PBS. Keith

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        • I’m so glad you liked it! When Ellen first mentioned it, I didn’t expect it to be a favourite, but as I watched the video … the chemistry between Mama Cass and John D., it just … clicked and I knew it was my ‘song of the day’. I am now going in search of the one you mention, for my mind cannot quite grasp how two separate songs co-mingling can work, but I must see this for myself!

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          • Jill, PBS has compiled reflective shows of musical guests on old TV shows. If you ever see one advertised, do yourself a favor and check it out, The two that stand out are Johnny Cash’and Glenn Campbell’s old shows. The one on Andy Williams’ old show is where I saw Mama Cass. Keith

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  1. Thank-You, Thank-You and Thank-You again!!! While I can not speak for Cass Elliot and John Denver, I like to believe that somewhere in the great beyond they are smiling. Way back in the 60’s through the 80’s, I played acoustic guitar and this was part of my repertoire. I harbored hopes of being another Mary, as in the “Peter, Paul and Mary” sort…my playing far exceeded my singing and it was not to be. That may have something to do with Benjamin telling me “ENOUGH” yesterday too. Apparently, my voice has not improved with age! But, as I am all alone, I’ll sing with Cass and John again! I forgot The Isley Brothers and don’t remember Argent’s appearance at all on that memorable night in 1972. Listening again to Cass Elliot talk about the importance of voting applies equally to the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank YOU, for you are the one that gave me the idea! You just sing as long and as loud as you like, my friend. Perhaps we should buy young Benjamin a set of earplugs! I laughed at the vision of him taking your face in his hands and saying “Enough”. 😄

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