1976 Performance Of John Denver And Olivia Newton-John Singing “Fly Away”

1976 Performance Of John Denver And Olivia Newton-John Singing “Fly Away”

It’s all about the words and the simple delivery of the song in this 1976 performance of John Denver and Olivia Newton-John’s singing “Fly Away.” Without any showy vocal tricks, the song relies completely on the message and the beauty of the voices. And, “Fly Away” is truly a beautiful song, written in 1975 by John Denver, who penned and composed approximately 200 songs in his lifetime.

Folks have speculated on the meaning behind the song. Was it written about a woman wanting to escape the city and get back to a rural community? Is it a statement about mental health and depression? Could it be about a woman experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s? It seems certain that loneliness is at the center of the song, and the two artists convey the feeling wonderfully.  

Here are a few lines from “Fly Away”:

All of her days have gone soft and cloudy
All of her dreams have gone dry
All of her nights have gone sad and shady
She's getting ready to fly

Whatever the interpretation, there is a sadness in the song. There is a sadness, too, as we watch these two performers, John Denver and Olivia Newton-John, 35 and 28 at the time, respectively. Both always appeared to be warm, caring, honest, and genuine individuals. Both are now gone.

John Denver died at the age of 53 as a result of an accidental plane crash; he was an experienced pilot. Olivia Newton-John, much more recently, died at 73 after a long battle with cancer.  

This performance from John Denver’s 1976 Christmas Special is noticeably missing stuff—red and green filling the screen, a fancy set, lavish costumes, and really anything “extra.” That is what makes it so very special. All we experience is the warmth, the caring, the honesty, and the genuine human situation that’s being described in John Denver’s ballad. 

Legions of fans around the world have experienced a touch of loneliness with the loss of these two brilliant artists, but Heaven is no doubt enriched!

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalms 32:7

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