Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Air Travel: Metaphor About Life, Love, Relationships

As we think of the challenges faced and heartaches felt by the people involved in the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 many of us are hoping that a positive outcome will result from the search...

Airplane themes have always been common among lyric writers and song composers.  Some of the songs selected below were from the 50s, 60s and 70s and do not necessarily discuss air travel, but are used as metaphors about life, love and relationship.
 John Denver's, Leaving On A Jet Plane:
is one of the most poignant songs in pop music. It's about the simple act of leaving on a plane and how it will affect you and the loved ones you leave behind. Should we embark on a journey for granted or shouldn't we the song asks? So kiss me and smile for me/Tell me that you'll wait for me/Hold me like you'll never let me go/Cause I'm leavin' on a jet plane/Don't know when I'll be back again/Oh baby, I hate to go... But the flip-side has, Back Home Again. Hope reigns.

Jet Airliner a song by The Steve Miller Band:
has a piece of advice: As I get on the 707'/Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes,/You know you got to go through hell,/Before you get to heaven... The lyrics are straight and to the point.   This big hit was written by Paul Pena, a San Francisco blues guitarist.  It was number 8 hit on the Billboard pop singles chart in 1977. He lived off the royalties from that song.  Pena was almost completely blind since birth and plagued by illnesses most of his life. Perhaps he knew what hell meant. He passed away in 2005.
Frank Sinatra's big hit:
highlights the airspace above us as a love nest, Fly me to the moon/And let me play among the stars/Let me see what spring is like/On Jupiter and Mars/In other words, hold my  hand/In other words, baby, kiss me.  One of the most popular jazz standards the song sets off a romantic mood whenever it's sung.

Fred Astaire is in holiday mood:
when he goes to, My Rio, Rio by the Sea-o,/Flying down to Rio where there's rhythm and rhyme./Say feller, twirl that old propeller,/We've got to get to Rio and we've got to make time./You'll love it, soaring high above it,/Looking down on Rio from a heaven of blue. It's an old song and was popular in the 1940s.
Sinatra's: Come Fly With We:
let's fly, let's fly away/If you can use some exotic booze /There's a bar in far Bombay/Come on and fly with me,/let's float down to Peru /In Lama land there's a one-man band/Come on fly with me, let's take off in the blue... typifies the traveler who wants to experience exotic lands with a light and carefree heart.

              You Tube: Ebony Eyes by The Everly Brothers. Video from rambling cowboy.

One of the saddest songs:
The Everly Brothers', Ebony Eyes was initially banned by the BBC in the early 60s as its lyrics were considered too upsetting to play on the radio.  My ebony eyes was coming to me/From out of the skies on Flight 1203... And then came the announcement over the loudspeaker-/"Would those having relatives or friends on flight number 1203 please report to the chapel across the street..."/Then I felt a burning break deep inside/And I knew the heavenly ebony skies/Had taken my life's most wonderful prize...

But again like John Denver's record, the flip-side of this song is, Walk Right Back. I guess lyricists and record producers put together songs in pairs sometimes to emphasize that where there's despair, there's hope.
The very popular Dionne Warwick:
uses a similar theme but with a different perspective. It tells of distance travel using different modes of transport. Trains and boats and planes took you a way,/But ev'ry time I see them I pray,/And if my prayers can cross the sea,/The trains and the boats and planes,/Will bring you back, back home to me. This is a prayer and the hope we all provide when our loved ones go for a long journey.

"Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness (Isaiah: 41.10)."

Songs With Air Travel and Airplane Themes:
  1. Airplane - Beach Boys
  2. Airplane Song (My Airplane) – Royal Guardsmen
  3. Benny And The Jets – Elton John
  4. Burning Airlines Give You So Much More – Brian Eno
  5. Counting Airplanes – Train
  6. Crazy In The Night (Barking At Airplanes) – Kim Carnes
  7. Great Airplane Strike – Paul Revere And The Raiders
  8. Jet Airliner – Steve Miller Band
  9. Leaving On A Jet Plane – John Denver
  10. Leaving On A Jet Plane – Peter, Paul And Mary
  11. Paper Airplanes – Seals n Crofts
  12. Planes – Jefferson Starship
  13. Trains and Boats and Planes – Billy J Kramer n The Dakotas
  14. Wooden Planes – Art Garfunkel
  15. Aces High – Iron Maiden
  16. Back In The USSR – The Beatles
  17. Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
  18. Daniel – Elton John
  19. Ebony Eyes – Everly Brothers
  20. Eight Miles High – The Byrds
  21. Flight of Icarus – Iron Maiden
  22. It Never Rains In Southern California – Albert Hammond
  23. Just A Song Before I Go – Crosby Stills n Nash
  24. Love Light In Flight – Stevie Wonder
  25. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
  26. Return of The Red Baron – Royal Guardsmen
  27. Rocket Man – Elton John
  28. Sky Pilot – The Animals
  29. Snoopy vs The Red Baron – Royal Guardsmen
  30. Snowbird – Anne Murray
  31. Space Oddity – David Bowie
  32. Spread Your Wings – Queen
  33. Take Me To The Pilot – Elton John
  34. The Epic Flight of John Glenn – Walter Brennan
  35. The Letter – Box Tops
  36. The Letter – Joe Cocker
  37. The Spirit of St. Louis – British Sea Power
  38. This Flight Tonight – Joni Mitchell
  39. Twenty Flight Rock – Eddie Cochran
  40. Up Up And Away – 5th Dimension
  41. Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker n Jennifer Warnes
  42. Angels Flying Too Close To The Ground – Willie Nelson
  43. Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra
  44. Fly Away – John Denver
  45. Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz
  46. Fly Away (Little Paraquayo) – George Baker Selection
  47. Fly By Night – Rush
  48. Fly Like An Eagle – Steve Miller Band
  49. Fly Like An Eagle – Seal
  50. Fly Me To The Moon – Frank Sinatra
  51. Fly, Robin, Fly – Silver Convention
  52. Flying – The Beatles
  53. Flying Down To Rio – Fred Astaire
  54. Flying Down To Rio – Rudy Vallee
  55. Flying High – The Commodores
  56. Flying In A Blue Dream – Joe Satriani
  57. Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) – Bill Conti/Maynard Ferguson
  58. I Believe I Can Fly – R. Kelly
  59. If I Could Fly – Joe Satriani
  60. I’ll Fly Away – Statler Brothers
  61. I’m Gonna Fly – Amy Grant
  62. Let’s Go Fly A Kite – From Mary Poppins soundtrack
  63. Midnight Flyer – The Eagles
  64. Straighten Up n Fly Right – Nat King Cole
  65. Time For Me To Fly – REO Speedwagon
  66. Wish I Could Fly Like Superman – The Kinks
  67. You Can Fly, You Can Fly, You Can Fly – from Peter Pan soundtrack. 
Edited List from: www.coolrain44.wordpress.com/2009/07/31/songs-about-airplanes-flying/
Images: Record Covers Google.


Two more plane tragedies occurred  in 2014:

17th July, 2014:
An MAS Boeing 777 plane, MH0017 was shot down on its way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia at the Ukraine - Russia border in the Donesk region. There were no survivors.

28th December, 2014:
AirAsia Indonesia Flight QZ8501 from Surabaya to Singapore lost contact with air traffic control. It was later reported that the plane had crashed into the Java Sea without any survivor.


CYL said...

You're quoting the bible. Reflects your belief and well slotted in - may be of some encouragement to those awaiting answer to the plane mystery. Have not heard many of the songs you listed but two that seem such a co-incidence are 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' and 'Ebony Eyes'. The latter is one of my favourites - always brings tears to my eyes and the heart aches.

Andy Lim* said...

Yes, the plane's disappearance is tragic - the agony of waiting especially. I recalled 'Ebony Eyes' while reading about the incident. Brings tears to my eyes too. I have always admired these lyricists. Perhaps they would've gone through a similar experience?

Thank you for visiting and commenting. You've always been great support.


HOPE:(You Tube Video Comments):

This recording still gives me goosebumps. I was waiting on my 19 year old bride to join me in the Philippines in 1968. When I checked the passenger list for her flight, I couldn't find her until the very last passenger of nearly 260+. Her plane had a problem prior to departing from Dulles in DC, and was late for her port call, at Travis AFB, but they put her on at the last minute. Thanks for posting this sad, but joyous memory of the Vietnam era.

Jess Davies said...

I was 12 when my granddad passed away and this was the song played at his funeral, this is the only thing that I have of my granddad, this song is how I remember him. We was very close and since that day he passed nothing has been the same, I wish I could talk to him again one more time and ask him what to do, I'm so confused with everything right now and I know he'd know what to do, I miss and love you granddad, very much. RIP angel x

David Perry said...


This was playing on 'My Ebony Eyes ' radio when I asked her to get engaged to me in 1971; we married in 1972 and are still together. We had an airport moment in Lesbos once [ Mytaline]

MsSillygirl77 said...


Its the reality of the 60's and 70's that we called the Vietnam War. It is still applicable today...

chakap-chakap said...

Wooden Planes,
Propeller's spinning in the
West Texas wind,
We ran behind
You know we laughed, we thought
our little flight would never end
You were my brother and I,
I knew you were my friend
I wish we
were chasing after wooden
airplanes... once again

If the story of my life ever makes
you sad
Remember when
we were a chasing after wooden
Yes, I believe that was the finest time

Art Garfunkel

anonymous said...


Through a glass eye your throne
Is the one danger zone
Take me to the pilot for control
Take me to the pilot of your soul

Take me to the pilot
Lead me through the chamber
Take me to the pilot
I am but a stranger

Elton John


Hey Andy, I jus saw u on Tv. Good show,u did a great service to d music scene of d generation 60s. U r d right person to discourse on that golden era.

Andy Lim* said...

Thanks Pat for the feedback and kind words. We all try to tell the young ones who may not be aware.

James Kwok said...

Very sad that the innocent passengers on MH370 got into such a situation: and every passing day decreases hope over their safety.

Andy Lim* said...

Thanks James for your you tube connection and comment. It is a sad period indeed especially if onlookers are not particularly sympathetic towards those directly involved in the disaster.

Internet News said...

It is a very long journey to the site and aircraft can only have around two hours over the search area before they need to return to mainland for fuel. Also weather conditions in the area were poor and may get worse.

chakap chakap said...

LEAVING ON A JET PLANE was initially recorded in 1966 by John Denver with the title "Babe, I Hate to Go." Denver chose this song with fifteen others and, with his own money, had 250 copies pressed which was distributed to friends and family. Peter, Paul and Mary were so impressed with the song that they chose to record it themselves and released it on their 1967 Album 1700 but it didn't become a hit until they released it as a single in 1969.

Calvin Maynard said...


Let's have a big round of applause for the New York Mafia for bringing this talent to us! They have done their share of damage over the years, but without them, Ol' Blue Eyes never would have gotten of the ground. Thank you, Mafia!

Anon said...

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott voiced increasing hope on finding out about flight MH370 and the 239 people on board after unidentified debris was sighted in the search zone.

"There is increasing hope, no more than hope, no more than hope, that we might be on the road to discovering..."

Pop Music Not Pills! © said...

Air travel is so much in the hearts and minds in everyone of us so there are hundreds of songs about air travel and its significance throughout the years...

We feel for those who have suffered and we feel for those who are at the moment suffering.