About the song

John Denver’s Rhymes and Reasons. This 1969 song takes us right back to the heart of the folk revival movement, a time of idealism, environmental awareness, and a deep connection to nature. Denver, a rising star at the time, had already penned the now-iconic “Leaving on a Jet Plane,” but Rhymes and Reasons served as the title track for his debut studio album, a record that truly launched his meteoric career.

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The song itself is a poignant exploration of life’s uncertainties and the search for meaning. The opening lines paint a vivid picture of internal struggle: “The fear that is within you now that seems to never end, and the dreams that have escaped you and the hope that you’ve forgotten.” Denver’s gentle baritone voice immediately establishes a sense of empathy, inviting the listener into this introspective journey.

Rhymes and Reasons isn’t simply a lament, though. It’s a song that offers solace and a reminder of life’s simple joys. The lyrics shift focus to the natural world, a recurring theme in Denver’s music. “For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers, their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.” This line, with its optimistic imagery, reflects Denver’s belief in the power of nature to heal and inspire.

The song’s structure is deceptively simple. Denver’s acoustic guitar provides the foundation, punctuated by the occasional flourish of piano and strings. The melody itself is direct and memorable, perfectly complementing the unpretentious lyrics. This stripped-down arrangement allows Denver’s voice to take center stage, conveying the emotional core of the song.

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Rhymes and Reasons wasn’t a chart-topping hit upon its release, but it resonated deeply with a generation yearning for connection and purpose. It became an anthem for those seeking solace in nature and a simpler way of life.

The song’s enduring popularity is a testament to Denver’s ability to capture universal emotions with genuine sincerity. Rhymes and Reasons stands as a cornerstone of his vast discography, a song that continues to offer comfort and inspire reflection for listeners of all ages.

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Lyrics

“Rhymes And Reasons”

So you speak to me of sadness and the coming of the winter,
The fear that is within you now that seems to never end,
and the dreams that have escaped you and the hope that you’ve forgotten,
and you tell me that you need me now and you want to be my friend,
and you wonder where we’re going, where’s the rhyme and where’s the reason?
And it’s you cannot accept: it is here we must begin to seek the wisdom of the children
and the graceful way of flowers in the wind.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
Like the music of the mountains and the colors of the rainbow,
they’re a promise of the future and a blessing for today.

Though the cities start to crumble and the towers fall around us,
the sun is slowly fading and it’s colder than the sea.
It is written: From the desert to the mountains they shall lead us,
by the hand and by the heart, they will comfort you and me.

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In their innocence and trusting they will teach us to be free.
For the children and the flowers are my sisters and my brothers,
their laughter and their loveliness would clear a cloudy day.
And the song that I am singing is a prayer to non-believers,
come and stand beside us we can find a better way.