August 21

John Denver’s “Calypso:” An Ode To World-Famous Underwater Explorer

The 1970s is absolutely filled with incredible folk and country songs, and this includes John Denver’s “Calypso,” which was released as the B-side of his final No. 1 pop hit “I’m Sorry” and was featured on his album Windsong.

“Calypso” received significant airplay in 1975, helping it land at the second spot of Billboard Hot 100. When “I’m Sorry” fell out of the No. 1 position, “Calypso” started gaining even more airplay – as a result, Billboard listed it as the new A-side.

Story Behind The Song 

“Calypso” is one of John Denver’s songs he wrote by himself. It was inspired by his friend – French naval officer-explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau – as well as his research ship, which name is Calypso. 

Wanting to understand “the silent world” better to keep it well-protected, Cousteau sailed with Calypso worldwide for ocean conservation. Cousteau was a great believer that we must learn from the sea in order to live on the land. He was actually the first person to have researched pollution and its effects on the sea – in which he has received several honors.

As we all know, Denver cared so much about nature too, and this song is his tribute to Calypso and her captain for their valuable accomplishments. Interestingly, Denver penned the song’s chorus while he was aboard the Calypso.

RELATED: Rewiring With Nature through Most-Loved Country Songs Part I

However, he admitted that he spent months struggling to complete the song. In fact, he even once thought of totally abandoning it. Fortunately, ideas came crashing when he was skiing that he hurriedly got off the slopes, jumped in his car, and drove home to get the ideas out of his mind and finish the song.

Make sure to play the video below to listen to “Calypso” by John Denver. You will hear the sounds of ship bells in the instrumental introductions blended with strings and winds that replicate the sounds of the oceans and seas – and it’s more than amazing. 


John Denver

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