John Denver – I’m Sorry / Calypso

First Hit #1: September 27, 1975

A double A-side hasn’t been spotted in a while, and considering that the last time John Denver showed up I wasn’t a fan, I wasn’t exactly excited about this pair of songs.

So, first off, I’m Sorry, which is about as cheery as you’d expect from the title. A bit of respectable but uninteresting soft rock, it’s three minutes of Denver apologizing to a woman because he was a jerk. I’m sure that receiving the single was nice for the woman, as Denver was able to apologize for all the things he did wrong. It might have even been nice for men who screwed up with their wives to put on as a cute apology. But honestly, it’s just a bit of quick and dirty soft rock that doesn’t do very much outside of its lengthy apology.

Calypso, at least, is a much cheerier song, and a lot better overall. It even allows Denver to do a bit of yodeling so that’s fun. That said, I can’t help but think it’s a great theme song for a kids show about the oceans but hardly something you want to listen to deliberately very often. It is quite sincere, and that might serve certain purposes, even as it spells out its theme for you just in case you didn’t get it – to live on the land you’ve got to learn from the seas – and as environmental message songs go it’s probably among the better ones. But, like I’m Sorry, there’s really not that much there.

This leads me to a further question, why was this a double A-side? Neither of the songs are that good, I’m Sorry could have been relegated to side-b with no issues, and while John Denver was a major artist I’m not sure he’s of the stature that demands a double a-side, especially since it seems nobody else does. I wonder if it was just confusion, since I’m Sorry is listed first, but Calypso is the better song.

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One Response to John Denver – I’m Sorry / Calypso

  1. RBerman says:

    Calypso was the boat of TV oceanographer/naturalist Jacques Cousteau, and Denver once again shows the environmental focus that made him an odd fit in either Soft Rock or Country Music. “I’m Sorry” is certainly not his most memorable song. Its success should be taken as a barometer of how incredibly popular Denver was in 1974-1975, when he had four #1 hits, of which this was his last not only at #1, but in the pop Top Ten forever. (He was still hitting the Country Top Ten ten years later, though.)

    I do wonder what in particular was thinking of when he confessed he was “sorry for the way things are in China.” Throughout the song he’s sort of apologizing, but really, “More than anything else, I’m sorry for myself.” He’s self-pitying rather than contrite.

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