Leaving on a Jet Plane

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"Leaving on a Jet Plane"
Single by Peter Paul and Mary
from the album Album 1700
B-side "The House Song"
Released October 1969
Format 7"
Genre Folk
Length 3:27
Label Warner Bros.-Seven Arts 7340
Writer(s) John Denver
Producer(s) Milt Okun
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Peter Paul and Mary singles chronology
"Day Is Done"
"Leaving on a Jet Plane"
"The Marvelous Toy"

"Leaving on a Jet Plane" is a song written by John Denver in 1966 and most famously recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary. The original title of the song was "Babe, I Hate to Go" but Denver's then producer Milt Okun convinced him to change the title.

The song was initially recorded in 1966 by John Denver with the title "Babe, I Hate to Go." That same year, Denver chose this song along with fifteen others and, with his own money, had 250 copies pressed onto vinyl. He distributed the copies to friends and family. Peter, Paul and Mary were so impressed with the song that they chose to record it themselves and released it on their 1967 Album 1700. Notably, it didn't become a hit for them until they released it as a single in 1969.

The song was also recorded in 1967 by the Chad Mitchell Trio and then later that same year by Spanky and Our Gang. It was performed for the very first time live at The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. in 1966 by the Chad Mitchell Trio, with John Denver substituting for Chad Mitchell.

John Denver recorded his own version of the song for his debut solo album, Rhymes & Reasons, and re-recorded it in 1973 for John Denver's Greatest Hits. His version was featured in the end credits of The Guard.

It turned out to be Peter, Paul & Mary's biggest (and final) hit, becoming their only #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.[1] It was the penultimate #1 single of the 1960s. The song also spent three weeks atop the easy listening chart[2] and was used in commercials for United Airlines in the late 1970s.

The song also reached #2 in the UK Singles Chart in February 1970.


  • The song prompted litigation involving the British group New Order. The band's single "Run 2" (1989) was the subject of a lawsuit brought by John Denver, who argued that its wordless guitar break was based on his "Leaving on a Jet Plane". An out-of-court settlement ensured that the song would never be re-released in its original form.[3]


Chart (1969) Peak
US Easy Listening (Billboard)[2] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 1


  1. ^ a b Peter, Paul and Mary charting singles Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 192. 
  3. ^ New Order:Singles:Run 2

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Try a Little Kindness" by Glen Campbell
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (Peter, Paul & Mary version)
November 22, 1969 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head" by B.J. Thomas
Preceded by
"Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" by Steam
Billboard Hot 100 number one single (Peter Paul and Mary version)
December 20, 1969 (one week)
Succeeded by
"Someday We'll Be Together" by Diana Ross & the Supremes