For Baby (For Bobbie)

Album: Rocky Mountain High (1972)
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  • 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. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2
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Comments: 6

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaGreat tune.
  • Chris from AlbuquerqueWas it '74 that I first heard John Denver on the radio? I was hooked. My older brother used to sneer at him, but I thought Rocky Mountain High was the greatest song I ever heard. I got the album and was blown away. For Baby just enchanted me. I believe he used to sing it when he was with the Chad Mitchell Trio. I used to have an old compilation album of them from that period and it was on it. But it sounded exactly like the version on Rocky Mountain High, so I think it was lifted from one album and added to the other. But the style doesn't exactly match the rest of the stuff on Rocky Mountain High- lots of guitar, just Denver vocals. Instead that amazing, perfect piano, and yes, I remember reading something about a children's choir from some school. Anyway-incredible song!!! Supremely well written, arranged, and produced.
  • Jeriann from Upstate NyThe back up singers were the children's choir at a school in Connecticut- Whitby in Greenwich.
    But I swear I can hear Mary Travers. Anyone else?
  • Daniel Celano from Lafayette Hill, PaI heard that in Peter, Paul and Mommy, Too concert, Mary Travers sang this song to her granddaughter. I'll show you a personnel list.

    Mary Travers - Vocals
    Noel Paul Stookey - Guitar
    Peter Yarrow - Guitar
    Dick Kniss - Bass
    Paul Prestopino - Guitar
    Sue Evans - Drums, Percussion
  • Mike from Syracuse, NyI 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.
  • Fred from Laurel, MdIt 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."
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