Peter, Paul and Mary – Leaving on a Jet Plane

First Hit #1: December 20, 1969

This song feels like it should be sadder than it is. Other versions of it hit the right note in this respect, but Peter Paul and Mary are all a bit too chipper to get the mood right. They try, oh how hard they try, but then the guitars come on in the chorus and they’re just so thrilled about leaving on that jet plane and it becomes a bit more sad. Inadvertently, in recording a song about the pain of leaving a lover for a long time, the group has made a song about how awesome going places on jet planes is. No matter how sad they are, no matter what pain they might experience because they’re away from their lover, holy shit they’re going on a jet plane. They can fly! It’s the future man, and we’re living it! The way that everyone perks up as soon as the chorus comes in might have been designed to give that part of the song a bit more drama, but instead it just makes that jet plane sound so badass. No matter what happens, no matter what gets you down, even if you have to leave your loved ones for a long time and be alone for days, weeks or months, you get to go flying on a jet plane and that makes everything better!

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