The song “Leaving on a Jet Plane” was written by John Denver in 1966 and notably sung by Peter, Paul, and Mary. The song’s initial title was “Oh Babe I Hate To Go,” but Milt Okun, Denver’s then-producer, persuaded him to alter it. The Chad Mitchell Trio first recorded the song in 1967, followed by Spanky and Our Gang later that year. The rendition by Peter, Paul, and Mary initially featured on their 1967 album 1700, but it was not a hit until they released this as a single in 1969. It was their biggest (and final) success, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 list in the United States for the first time.
This was the 1960s’ second-to-last number one hit. The song also topped the easy listening chart for three weeks.
So because song reached number one during the height of the Vietnam War, many people mistookly assumed that it depicted a soldier bidding farewell to his sweetheart before heading off to war. In truth, Denver penned the song as a lament about how difficult it is for a travelling artist to say goodbye to his sweetheart whenever he had to leave on the road. Despite the proper feelings stated, “Leaving on a Jet Plane” has nothing to do with the Vietnam War.
Henry John Deutschendorf Jr., better known by his stage name John Denver, was an American singer-songwriter, actor, activist, as well as philanthropist most recognised for his solo work. Denver began performing inside the late 1960s with folk music ensembles after growing up in a military household and moving to many locales. Beginning in the 1970s, he was one of the most popular and best-selling acoustic performers of the decade. Denver was one of America’s best-selling acts by 1974, according to AllMusic, and was “among the most beloved entertainers of his day.”