Thursday, June 12, 2008

leaving on a jet plane

We haven't done any music in a while. Here's the original recording of Peter, Paul and Mary's Leaving on a Jet Plane. It's a bit of a cheesey slideshow that goes with it, but the only live version I could find of them doing it (that John Denver wasn't involved in) was one where they are all well into their middle years and Mary seems incapable of just singing the melody line.

She has to "interpret" it.

It's pretty dreadful.

Now this is a song that became a cliche. I got to the point where I couldn't bear to listen to it. Sort of like "Feelings", or "Tie a Yellow Ribbon".

Listening to the words again though, after so many years, I realize that it's come to mean something else, something we need to pay attention to. If you don't believe me, listen to Justin Timberlake's reggae version. He sings the same words, but they have a very different connotation. He's bored with the whole travel and departure thing - it's no big deal except that it momentarily separates him from the one that he thinks he now wants to be with. At the end of the song, he sings that his lover should "dream about the days to come when I won't have to leave alone" - and somehow the implication is that they'll travel together - whereas the implication in Peter, Paul and Mary's version is that the traveling will stop.

They will settle down - "I'll wear your wedding ring."

This brings us right back to what I wrote about a week or two ago in marriage or liberty, looking at the problems that can develop when we try and base so-called rights on freedom, without also taking into account the obligations that go along with it.

Onora O'Neill also speaks about this.

Check out Deneen's Fear of Not Flying. Meanwhile, here are the lyrics to the chorus - written in 1967 by John Denver (news to me):

So kiss me and smile for me,
tell me that you'll wait for me,
hold me like you'll never let me go.

I'm leaving on a jet plane.
I don't know when I'll be back again.
Oh babe, I hate to go.

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