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Freaky Friday: My Morning Jacket covers John Denver's 'Leaving On A Jet Plane'

by Nicole Oran   Dec 20, 2013 13:55 PM EST

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At Music Times, we love a good cover song. There's something wonderful about repurposing music and essentially bringing life to another creation. Music is not a rigid and inflexible product but rather a malleable one that allows songs to take on a new life as others reimagine it. Nothing gets a crowd more excited than seeing one of their favorite bands cover one of their favorite songs. The cover song makes music accessible to new audiences, and spreading music is what we are all about.
Welcome to Freak Friday. Each week we highlight a new cover song that we're crazy about. Have suggestions? Send them our way! This week, we give you...

Song: "Leaving On A Jet Plane"
Cover Artist: My Morning Jacket
Original Artist: John Denver

Why We Love it: Although this iconic song was penned by John Denver in 1966, it was most famously covered by Peter, Paul and Mary, and their version of the song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on this day (Dec. 20) back in 1969. It was their only recording that made the number one spot. My Morning Jacket has taken "Leaving On A Jet Plane" and mellowed it out even more, revealing the truly sad and solemn context of the lyrics. Jim James' vocals and the slower tempo seem to bring this song back to its roots, almost allowing us to really hear what Denver was trying to say and how he felt. The band's cover is featured in the John Denver tribute album released earlier this year called The Music Is You.

Background: After Denver released the track, Peter, Paul and Mary loved it so much, they put it on the Album 1700, which was released in 1967, but the song didn't become a huge hit for them until they re-released it as a single in 1969. "Leaving On A Jet Plane" was the last and only chart topping hit the trio had before splitting in 1970. Denver originally recorded it for his debut solo album Rhymes & Reasons. With unfortunate association to the song, Denver died October 12, 1997 in a plane crash.

 Check out My Morning Jacket's version of the song below.

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