A Bit Like You And Me Radio

December 04, 2012

John Denver - Babe, I Hate to Go [Demo] (1966)

Born Henry John Deutschendorf, Jr. in 1943, this American singer and songwriter began his musical career by singing folk music in the late 1960s. With a penchant for nature, the acoustic guitar, and his adopted home of Colorado, he wrote and sang his way toward four platinum albums and twelve gold albums with signature songs such as “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Annie’s Song,” “Sunshine on My Shoulders,” “Rocky Mountain High,” and more. Later, in the ‘70s and ‘80s, he branched out into small television acting roles and fighting for charitable causes. An avid pilot, his life ended prematurely at the age of fifty-three after crashing an experimental plane he was flying on October 12, 1997. As one of the most popular artists in the 1970s, he had released a total of thirty studio albums, eight live albums, and numerous singles.

Although this song is most associated with Peter, Paul and Mary for their version released as a single in 1969, it was originally written and recorded in 1966 by today’s artist. Back in ‘66, a few years before becoming famous, John Denver recorded a long list of folk songs on a demo, many of which were covers and some of which were originals, such as this one. That same year, he took the songs and used his own money to have 250 records pressed onto vinyl for distribution to his friends and family, naming it John Denver Sings. Later renamed “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” this song made such a large impression on Peter, Paul and Mary, that they recorded the song for their 1967 album, Album 1700. In the same month, the song was re-recorded and released by Denver for his debut 1969 album Rhymes & Reasons. This version is the earliest known recording.

album art

John Denver - Babe, I Hate to Go [Demo] (1966)

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Lyrics:

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breaking, it's early morn'
The taxi's waiting, 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
Every place I go, I'll think of you
Every 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 and 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

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

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

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