Joni Mitchell: Both Sides Now

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Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now For Jana, M and CC
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell – Lyrics
Rows and flows of angel hair
And ice cream castles in the air,
And feather canyons everywhere,
I’ve looked at clouds that way.
But now they only block the sun,
They rain and snow on everyone.
So many things I would have done,
But clouds got in my way.

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow
It’s clouds’ illusions I recall;
I really don’t know clouds at all.

Moons and Junes and ferris wheels,
The dizzy dancing way I feel,
As every fairy tale comes real,
I’ve looked at love that way.
But now it’s just another show,
You leave ’em laughing when you go.
And if you care, don’t let them know,
Don’t give yourself away.

I’ve looked at love from both sides now,
From give and take and still somehow
It’s love’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know love at all.

Tears and fears and feeling proud,
To say I love you right out loud,
Dreams and schemes and circus crowds,
I’ve looked at life that way.
But now old friends are acting strange,
They shake their heads and they say I’ve changed.
Well something’s lost but something’s gained,
In living every day.

I’ve looked at life from both sides now,
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall;
I really don’t know life at all.

“Inductee: Joni Mitchell (vocals, guitar; born November 7, 1943)
A consummate artist, Joni Mitchell is an accomplished musician, songwriter, poet and painter. Hailing from Canada, where she performed as a folksinger as far back as 1962, she found her niche on the same Southern California singer/songwriter scene of the late Sixties and early Seventies that germinated such kindred spirits as Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon and Crosby, Stills & Nash. Mitchell’s artistry goes well beyond folksinging to incorporate elements of jazz and classical music. In her own words, “I looked like a folksinger, even though the moment I began to write, my music was not folk music. It was something else that had elements of romantic classicism to it.” Impossible to categorize, Mitchell has doggedly pursued avenues of self-expression, heedless of commercial outcomes. Nonetheless, she managed to connect with a mass audience in the mid-Seventies when a series of albums-Court and Spark (1974, #2), Miles of Aisles (1974, #2), The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975, #4) and Hejira (1976, #13)-established her as one of that decade’s pre-eminent artists.
Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson in remote northwest Canada. She was raised in the city of Saskatoon, where she took up painting and music at an early age. Her first song, “Day by Day,” was written in 1964 while she was en route to a folk festival in Toronto. She moved to Toronto a year later, where she got caught up in the city’s flourishing club scene. In 1965, she married folksinger Chuck Mitchell, keeping his last name after they divorced. Mitchell’s songs were discovered, performed and recorded by such established folk musicians as Tom Rush, Ian and Sylvia, Judy Collins (whose version of “Both Sides Now” went to #8 in 1968), Dave Van Ronk and Buffy Saint-Marie. British folk-rockers Fairport Convention cut some of her earliest material as well.
Mitchell was signed to Reprise Records in 1967, and her untitled first album appeared a year later. It was followed by Clouds, which included Mitchell’s versions of “Both Sides Now” and “Chelsea Morning,” and Ladies of the Canyon, which contained “Big Yellow Taxi,” an anti-“progress” ditty that stands as one of Mitchell’s signature tunes. Her fourth album, 1971’s Blue, was a stunning a suite of songs about romantic disillusionment that stands as a classic in the confessional singer/songwriter mode. Mitchell’s popular breakthrough came two albums later with Court and Spark, a sprightly and intelligent jazz-pop album made with musical support from the jazz-fusion ensemble Tom Scott and the L.A. Express. Both experimental and accessible, Mitchell’s mid-Seventies output won her a large following. Hejira, which appeared in 1976, is regarded as Mitchell’s masterpiece. The title is an Arabic word meaning “flight from the dream,” and the album was a uniquely textured and exploratory song cycle that traced one woman’s mystical “hejira” through this world.

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