Special Performance Of John Denver And Cass Elliot Singing 'Leaving On A Jet Plane'

Two folk music legends—John Denver and Cass Elliot—performed a duet of Leaving On A Jet Plane in 1972 on Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special that will live on forever thanks to the magic of television. Both artists are gone, but this appearance will live on. It's a performance that leaves an unforgettable impression on everyone who sees and hears it.

During the '60s and '70s, Mama Cass and John Denver were two of the reigning legends of folk music. Mama Cass's real name was Cass Elliot. She performed as part of The Mamas and the Papas, who topped the music charts with a string of hits. Their most famous songs include Monday, Monday, California Dreaming, and Dream a Little Dream of Me.

Denver was another megastar who had become famous for his hits Country Roads, Take Me Home, Annie's Song, and Rocky Mountain High.


In 1972, these two members of folk royalty appeared together on the popular music program Burt Sugarman's Midnight Special. They were there to perform Denver's song, Leaving On a Jet Plane. This had become a huge hit during the Vietnam War, as Stereogum points out. Although the song isn't about the war itself, its famous lyrics fit the reality young men were facing all too well: "'Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again."

When she got on stage, Cass joked that it was actually her song and she just allowed Denver to claim it as his. All joking aside, their shared performance of it is sheer perfection.

In that era, sweet melodies and intricate harmonies were part of most musical performances. It was common for singers to perform duets. Watching artists from those years is interesting in that regard. In this case, there is no denying how powerful their shared singing is.

All too soon, they would both be gone. Mama Cass died of a heart attack in 1974, and Denver died in a plane crash in 1997.

Fortunately, they left behind this unforgettable performance we can all watch and listen to when we want to remember the sounds of two vocal superstars. An early 1972 recording captures the voices of two singing legends at the peak of their talent. It's an unforgettable reminder of a great time in musical history.

If you're a longtime fan of '70s folk or just discovering this music, you'll enjoy this video. The next time someone tries to tell you what good music is, show them this amazing performance. And let us know what you think: what's your favorite band from the 1970s?