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For Baby (For Bobbie)

by

John Denver



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

In a 1992 interview with American Songwriter magazine, Denver told Deborah Evans Price that this was only the fourth song he ever wrote. It appears also to have been the first he ever recorded. In his biography of Denver – published two years after his untimely death – John Collis said he wrote it about a girl he met while playing at the Lumber Mill, and that they dated for about a year.

The man himself went into little more detail in his autobiography. John Denver attended Texas Tech but flunked out of college much to the dismay of his parents, and everyone who knew him. He moved to California to play music, and got lucky making a hundred dollars a week before joining the (Chad) Mitchell Trio, but in between he was playing in Scottsdale, Arizona where he met the girl to whom he dedicated this song. It was, he said, "an early attempt to order my romantic thoughts". He doesn't say much about her except that she lied about her age to get into the club, but reading between the lines, she appears to have been the first girl with whom he ever had a sexual relationship.
As the son of a US Airforce pilot, Denver had an insular and somewhat isolated boyhood, and was a late starter sexually, although he made up for lost time after he married his first wife, Annie – the true love of his life. Like many touring musicians, being kept apart from loved ones, and having temptation put in his way by adoring fans cost him his marriage. (thanks, Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2)
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Comments (2):

I remember reading in the liner notes on the LP (yeah, vinyl!) some information about the children singing with John in the last verse. There were referred to as "The pupils of" some school. Does anyone know what school it was, or even better, are any of those pupils reading this? I'd just like to know what the circumstances were, like were they in the recording studio? Was it sung at their school and mixed in later at the studio? Hearing their sweet innocent voices in that song gets me every time.
- Mike, Syracuse, NY
It is worth noting that this song (as "For Baby") appeared 6 years earlier on Peter Paul & Mary's 1966 album, "Album." In this form it illustrates the homomorphism between a lover's love and a mother's love -- Denver's original composition for his first, young love, "Bobbie" vs Mary Travers singing the role of mother-to-newborn. The only substantial lyrics change I can find in going from "Bobbie" to "Baby" was in the 3rd line, where "keep you satisfied" became "help you understand."
- Fred, Laurel, MD
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