“Leaving on a Jet Plane” is a perfect song for beginning ʻukulele 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.
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 ʻukulele, Leaving on a Jet Plane will soon be a piece of cake without the paper.
Rhymes and Reasons
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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>