Calypso (song)

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Single by John Denver
from the album Windsong
A-side "I'm Sorry"
B-side "Calypso"
Released July 1975
Format Vinyl record
Genre Folk, country, soundscape
Length 3:36
Label RCA
Writer(s) John Denver
Producer(s) Milt Okun
John Denver singles chronology
"I'm Sorry"
"Fly Away"

"Calypso" is a song written by John Denver in 1975 as a tribute to Jacques-Yves Cousteau and his research ship, the Calypso. The song was featured on Denver's 1975 album Windsong.

Released as the B-side of "I'm Sorry", "Calypso" received substantial airplay, enabling it to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.[1] After "I'm Sorry" fell out of the #1 position, "Calypso" began receiving more airplay than "I'm Sorry," thus causing Billboard to list "Calypso" as the new A-side.[2] Hence, "Calypso" is itself considered a #2 hit on the Hot 100.[3]

John Denver was a close friend of Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Calypso was the name of Jacques Cousteau's research boat that sailed around the world for ocean conservation.

Musical Structure[edit]

The song is musically interesting in that it changes keys between the verses, which are in the key of A, and the chorus, which is in the key of D, and then back again to A for the yodeling part.

Cultural references[edit]

A filk song exists in Star Trek fandom (and has been quoted in Chapter 8 of Diane Duane's Star Trek novel The Wounded Sky), based on John Denver's "Calypso," but adapted to the voyages of the Enterprise: "To sail on a dream in the sun-fretted darkness, to soar through the starlight unfrightened alone...."

Additionally, Tom Smith wrote parody lyrics for the song, which he titled "Callisto," referring to a sexual desire for Callisto, originally a villainess in the TV show Xena: Warrior Princess and then one of Xena's enemies.[4] After Callisto was redeemed in the Xena stories, he wrote an extra verse and a variation on the refrain that attacked her for having stopped being evil. In the episode entitled "Molly's Out of Town" of Mike & Molly some of the characters sing Calypso while they are on the roof of a house.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
Dutch Top 40 2
New Zealand Singles Chart 5
Canadian RPM Top Singles 29


  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits (5th ed.). Random House Digital. p. 417. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6. 
  2. ^ Bronson, Fred (1997-11-01). "'Candle' Finds Itself B-Side 'Something'". Billboard. p. 110. Retrieved 31 October 2011. 
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2010). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (rev. & expanded 9th ed.). New York: Billboard Books. p. 182. ISBN 978-0-8230-8554-5. 
  4. ^