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Archive for April, 2016

At number 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters is Joni Mitchell. She is probably my favourite female singer-songwriter, I find her songs mesmerising and enchanting. I have blogged about her before, for example here I blogged about her album Blue, which was the first Joni Mitchell album I ever bought, and here I blogged about her song “Both Sides Now”, where I compared the original 1968 studio version to the version she did in 2000, with a much deeper voice and years of experiencing the kind of heartache the song discusses.

Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson in 1943 in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada. Her father was an instructor in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and so Mitchell grew up in various small towns in Canada as her father moved around, although she considers Saskatoon her hometown, where she moved when she was 11. In February 1965, when she was 21 years old, she gave birth to a daughter whom she gave up for adoption; they were only reconciled much later in life, meeting for the first time in 1997. Mitchell never married the father, but soon after giving birth to her daughter she met American singer Chuck Mitchell in Toronto. They married in June 1965, but the marriage ended in early 1967 and she moved to California.

 

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At number 9 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest songwriters of all time is Joni Mitchell.

It was in California that her career took off, and some of her earliest songs such as “Chelsea Morning”, “Big Yellow Taxi”, “Circle Game”, “Both Sides Now” and “California” remain classics to this day. The song which I have decided to share in this blogpost is “Big Yellow Taxi”, one of her best known songs. It was written on her first trip to Hawaii (if ever there was a paradise, then Hawaii has to be a contender!), and was released as a single in April of 1970. It only got to number 67 in the USA, but was a bigger hit in other countries; reaching number 11 in the Disunited Kingdom, number 6 in Australia and number 14 in her native Canada.

 

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see ’em
Don’t it always seem to go,
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Hey farmer, farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But LEAVE me the birds and the bees
Please!
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til its gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Come and took away my old man
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

I said
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Here is a video of this amazing song. Enjoy!

Which is your favourite Joni Mitchell song?

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