♫ Calypso ♫ (Redux)

When I last played this in 2020, almost overwhelmingly everyone said that while they hadn’t thought of this song in ages, they liked it.  I was scrounging the archives tonight, too lazy to play something new, but not wanting to rely on one of my old faves, when I came across this one by John Denver, and decided it was worthy of a redux!


This song is about the ship Calypso, which was launched in Seattle, Washington, USA during World War II. She was built to serve as a minesweeper for the British, to clear explosives from ports and harbors, and was christened J-826 and lowered into the water on March 21, 1942. (Why are ships always females???)

CalypsoIn the ancient Greek poem The Odyssey, Calypso was the name of a sea nymph who held the hero Odysseus in thrall for seven years. Gozo is, by tradition, the island where Calypso once lived.

In 1950, French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau purchased the Calypso and converted it to an oceanographic ship. Cousteau wanted to understand “The silent world” better, in order to protect it.  “To live on the land we must learn from the sea” – Cousteau was the first to do research on pollution and its effects on the sea and received many honors for his accomplishments. John Denver cared deeply about nature and this song was a tribute to both Calypso and her captain and their valuable work.

Denver wrote the chorus to this song when he was on board the Calypso. He struggled to complete the song, spending months trying to write classical-sounding verses to a sea shanty chorus. He was about to abandon the song when he got the idea for the words when he was skiing. Denver got off the slopes quick and jumped in his Jeep, where he drove home to get his ideas on paper and complete the song.

Calypso
John Denver

To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean
To ride on the crest of a wild raging storm
To work in the service of life and living
In search of the answers to the questions unknown
To be part of the movement and part of the growing
Part of beginning to understand

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Like the dolphin who guides you, you bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide and free as a wind swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Aye Calypso the places you’ve been to
The things that you’ve shown us
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit
The men who have served you so long and so well

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Denver
Calypso lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

16 thoughts on “♫ Calypso ♫ (Redux)

  1. Denver fans are frequently mocked here as are Glenn Campbell fans. I enjoy both singers although I tend to keep this information private to avoid being teased. “Calypso” is one of my many favourite Denver songs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow … who knew? I had no idea that Denver and Campbell were so unpopular in New Zealand! I’m really glad you liked the song, but yes, keep it to yourself! On another note, I see that Jacinda Ardern is stepping down. I was both surprised and saddened by that new, for I greatly admire and respect her.

      Like

  2. The best thing about this for me was the montage YouTube give us at the end of the song! Gordon Lightfoot, S&G, Juice Newton, The Monkees, Glen Campbell, and the mix of ‘Take It Easy Rock.’ Some possible suggestions for you there, I think 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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