Song Lyric Sunday | “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – John Denver

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Song Lyric Sunday was created by Helen Vahdati from This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time and author Jim Adams from A Unique Title For Me is our current guest host. For complete rules or to join in the fun, click here.

The theme for Song Lyric Sunday this week is Jack/John.


Leaving on a Jet Plane was Peter, Paul and Mary’s biggest (and final) hit, becoming their only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. The song also spent three weeks atop the easy listening chart.

But their version was a cover.

John Denver was a member of the Chad Mitchell Trio when he  wrote and released the song on his 1966 studio album John Denver Sings with the title Babe, I Hate to Go. After his producer convinced Denver to change the title, Peter, Paul and Mary recorded the song in 1967 for their Album 1700 and released it in 1969.

Denver also recorded the song for his 1969 debut album Rhymes and Reasons, and again for his first greatest hits compilation but never attained the chart success with the single as the folk song group.


  • The song also topped the charts in Canada, and reached No. 2 in both the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart in February 1970.
  • Leaving On a Jet Plane was used in commercials for United Airlines in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
  • Denver claimed that he wasn’t a prolific or systematic songwriter – he wrote songs when they came to him. Some of his popular songs took months to complete, but Leaving on a Jet Plane took him just a few hours to finish.
  • On one of his BBC radio specials, John Denver said: “This is a very personal and very special song for me. It doesn’t conjure up Boeing 707s or 747s for me as much as it does the simple scenes of leaving. Bags packed and standing by the front door, taxi pulling up in the early morning hours, the sound of a door closing behind you, and the thought of leaving someone that you care for very much. I was fortunate to have Peter, Paul and Mary record it and have it become a hit, but it still strikes a lonely and anguished chord in me, because the separation still continues, although not so long and not so often nowadays.”

Forgive me but I got a bit carried away and posted John’s version, Peter, Paul and Mary’s version, and a video of Denver and the group singing together!


See my Song Lyric Sunday selection for Nesie’s Place!




Disclaimer: I have no copyrights to the song and/or video and/or hyperlinks to songs and/or videos and/or gifs above. No copyright infringement intended.

Leaving on a Jet Plane


15 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday | “Leaving on a Jet Plane” – John Denver

  1. aisasami says:

    I remember like it was yesterday when I heard John Denver’s passing in the fatal aircraft accident over the radio. I was sad to hear him passing as he was such a legend. I love “Leaving on a Jet Plane”, such a calm song.

    Liked by 1 person

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