About the song

John Denver’s Late Winter, Early Spring (When Everybody Goes to Mexico). A delightful folk melody that captures the essence of that transitional period between the slumber of winter and the awakening of spring. Denver, a true champion of the natural world, masterfully paints a picture with his lyrics and folksy guitar that resonates deeply with anyone who’s ever longed for warmer days.

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Now, Denver released this song in 1972, on his album Season Suite. This wasn’t just a collection of random tunes; it was a cohesive exploration of the four seasons, each song depicting a distinct mood and atmosphere. Late Winter, Early Spring falls right in the middle, bridging the gap between the starkness of winter and the hopeful anticipation of spring.

The song opens with a gentle acoustic guitar riff, a sound both familiar and comforting. Denver’s warm baritone voice then enters, painting a vivid picture of the lingering chill: “The last snow’s melting on the window pane / The robins haven’t even come back yet.” These opening lines establish the setting – it’s late winter, the harsh grip hasn’t fully loosened, but there are subtle hints of change.

The melody then takes a more optimistic turn as Denver sings about the yearning for escape: “But down in Mexico, the sun is warm / And the beaches there are calling my name.” This is where the title’s intriguing detail comes in. Everybody Goes to Mexico isn’t meant to be a literal statement, but rather a symbol of that deep human desire to break free from the cold and chase sunshine. Mexico, a popular winter destination for many North Americans, becomes a metaphor for warmth, relaxation, and a break from the monotony of winter.

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The song isn’t all about escaping, though. Denver cleverly weaves in a sense of appreciation for the beauty of this in-between season. He sings about the “crocuses pushing through the frozen ground,” a subtle but powerful image of nature’s resilience and the promise of new life. This bittersweet quality, acknowledging the harshness of winter while celebrating the approaching spring, is a hallmark of Denver’s songwriting.

Late Winter, Early Spring is more than just a catchy folk tune; it’s a sonic snapshot of a specific time of year, capturing the conflicting emotions of longing for warmth and appreciating the quiet beauty of a season in transition. It’s a song that resonates with anyone who has ever experienced the anticipation of spring, that feeling of hope and renewal bubbling beneath the surface as the last vestiges of winter fade away.

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