Leaving On A Jet Plane Ukulele Chords by John Denver

rhymes and reasons album cover thumbnail“Leaving on a Jet Plane” is a perfect song for beginning ukulele players that I often teach in basic lessons. John Denver’s simple chords follow a predictable pattern that allows for less looking at the page and more time focusing on playing and singing.

4.7
(13)
       C                   F
All my bags are packed I'm ready to go
    C                F
I'm standing here outside your door
  C                F             G7       
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
        C                     F
But the dawn is breaking it's early morn
    C                   F                    
The taxi's waitin' he's blownin' his horn
  C            F                G7
Already I'm so lonesome I could die

Chorus:
   C           F             
So kiss me and smile for me
 C                  F
Tell me that you'll wait for me
C                   F            G7   
Hold me like you'll never let me go
          C       F
Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane
C                  F
   Don't know when I'll be back again
C      F               G7
   Oh, babe  I hate to go

           C               F              
There's is many times I've let you down
   C              F  
So many time I've played around
  C            F                 G7
I tell you now they don't mean a thing
      C               F
Every place I go I'll think of you
      C                F
Every song I sing I'll sing for you
     C                F                  G7
When I come back I'll bring your wedding ring

Chorus>

C            F
Now the time come to leave you
C             F    
One more time let me kiss you
     C               F             G7        
Then close your eyes I'll be on my way
C               F
Dream about the days to come
     C               F
When I won't have to leave alone
 C              F               G7          
About the times I won't have to say

Chorus>

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The original recording is in G, but it’s SO easy in C that I had to just use it instead. If you want to transpose you can use: C = G, F = C, G7 = D7.

Because it’s such a straightforward song, I highly recommend you try to play it without a lyric sheet. By using your ear you train yourself to hear chord changes and will become a much more rounded musician because of it.

It’s not hard to do with a song like this. As long as you start on the right chord, you only ever have two options! If one doesn’t sound right, try the other.

For instance, if you strum along with John Denver (in G), you start singing over a G chord on “bags.” From there you are either going to go to C or D7. If you play C it will sound like the song. If you play D7 the melody and chords will clash and pull against each other telling you that the right option must be C. If you do this every time you change chords on your ukulele, Leaving on a Jet Plane will soon be a piece of cake without the paper.

Brad Bordessa
brad bordessa holding ukulele white aloha shirt

I’m an ukulele artist from Honokaʻa, Hawaiʻi, where I run this site from an off-grid cabin in the jungle. I’ve taught workshops internationally, made Herb Ohta Jr. laugh until he cried, and once jammed with HAPA onstage in my boardshorts. More about me