My Old Man John Denver with Lyrics - YouTube

About the song

John Denver’s My Old Man. A song that warms the heart like a crackling fire on a crisp autumn night. Denver, a folk icon of the late 60s and 70s, was known for his wholesome image, powerful vocals, and music that celebrated nature, love, and simple joys. My Old Man falls right in line with these themes, but with a deeper layer of respect and admiration woven into the fabric of the song.

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Written by singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, My Old Man found its perfect home when it landed in Denver’s hands. Released in 1969 on Denver’s album Rhymes & Reasons, the song became an instant classic. It’s a first-person narrative, with the narrator reflecting on his father, a man of restless spirit and a love for the open road.

The beauty of My Old Man lies in its relatable simplicity. The lyrics paint a picture of a hardworking yet adventurous father, a man who finds solace in the freedom of travel. Lines like “My old man had a rounder’s soul / He’d hear an old freight train / Then he’d have to go” immediately establish this restless spirit. This isn’t a condemnation, though. The narrator, through Denver’s warm vocals, expresses a deep understanding and even admiration for his father’s wanderlust.

My Old Man doesn’t shy away from depicting the challenges of such a lifestyle. The song hints at the toll it takes on the family, with the line “He didn’t stay home too long / Said the west wind called his name. This creates a layer of complexity, a bittersweet acknowledgment of the sacrifices made in the pursuit of freedom.

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Despite the challenges, the song ultimately celebrates the unique bond between father and son. The narrator, though perhaps initially bewildered by his father’s ways, eventually comes to appreciate his adventurous spirit. Lines like “He’d come home a-singin’ / And his eyes would shine so bright” and “He’d tell me of the mountains / And the deserts and the sea” showcase a father who, despite his nomadic lifestyle, actively engages with his son, sharing stories and experiences that spark a sense of wonder.

My Old Man transcends the realm of a simple tribute song. It’s a meditation on the concept of freedom, the sacrifices it demands, and the enduring power of familial love. Through Denver’s masterful delivery, the song resonates with anyone who has ever grappled with the complexities of family dynamics, the pull of wanderlust, and the enduring influence of a parent’s spirit. So, sit back, close your eyes, and let John Denver’s My Old Man take you on a journey – a journey of love, respect, and the undeniable allure of the open road.

Video

Lyrics

“My Old Man”

My old man had a rounder’s soul, he’d hear an old freight train, then he’d have to go.
Said he’d been blessed with the gypsy bone,
that’s the reason they guessed he’d been cursed to roam.

Came into town back before the war, didn’t even know what it was he was looking for.
He carried a tattered bag for his violin, it was full of lots of songs and places that he’d been.
He talked real easy, had a smiling way to pass along to you when his fiddle played.

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Making people drop their cares and woes to hum out loud those tunes that his fiddle bowed.
Till the people there began to join that sound, and everyone in town was laughing,
singing, dancing round.
Like the fiddler’s tune was all they heard that night,
as if some dream said, “All the world is right,”

His fiddler’s eye caught one beauty there. She had that rolling, flowing, golden kind of hair.
He played for her as if she danced alone, he played his favorite songs, ones he called his own.
He played until she was the last to go, stopped and packed his case, said he’d take her home.
All the nights that passed a child was born.
All the years that passed, love would keep them warm.
All their lives they’d share a dream come true, all because she danced so well to his fiddle tune.

My old man had a rounder’s soul, he’d hear an old freight train, then he’d have to go.
All that I recall he said when I was so young
was no one else could really sing those songs he sung.