We all know that John Denver wrote the song ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ in 1966 and it was made famous by the trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary. ‘Leaving on a Jet Plane’ was originally titled, Babe, I Hate to Go but John Denver was luckily convinced by a producer to change its name. Sadly, it was Peter, Paul and Mary’s one and only hit as Leaving on a Jet Plane bagged the number one spot in Billboard.
In one of BBC radio specials, John Denver went personal with the said song:
“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.”
Cass Elliot and John Denver “Leaving on a Jet Plane”
Cass Elliott was an incredible talent who left us too early in 1974. Her voice always stood out with ‘the Mamas and the Papas.’ John Denver, likewise, had a magnificent tenor voice and he was a great songwriter. Given their talents, one could say they have never crossed paths because they were in completely different kinds of music. But Elliot and Denver joined forces one night on television in 1972 on one of Denver’s classic songs, “Leaving on a Jet Plane.”
The duet is the highlight of the 90-minute NBC TV show The Midnight Special on August 19, 1972. Those of us who grew up in the seventies remember the Friday night show with great affection.
Here’s Mama Cass and John Denver singing Leaving on a Jet Plane: