Boomer Ballads: Joni Mitchell -- Both Sides Now

As for Canadian folk singers gone mainstream, I'll take Neil Young over her.

Posted by chasmatic at October 16, 2015 6:45 PM

Aida Turturro at :25....

Posted by Rob De Witt at October 16, 2015 7:27 PM

A truly beautiful lyric, Very well sung here, but over orchestrated. Excessive orchestration ruined some of Fitzgerald's Song Books, too.

This song, like many others, especially in the Sinatra repertory, requires a mature singer, even if the voice has weakened.

PS. I am happy to trade Neil for Joni.

Posted by bob sykes at October 17, 2015 5:17 AM

Nice comparison to Sinatra; I'm not sure I'd say "weakened," but definitely her voice has aged like his - and for the same reason, i.e. 60 years worth of Camels.

What strikes me, as a 70-year-old who still sings, is that, like Sinatra, she's really skilled in using whatever voice she's got that day, something that Neil Young will never be accused of. And her mature voice is gorgeous, imo, and much more suited to much of her material.

Posted by Rob De Witt at October 17, 2015 8:49 AM

Not bad, but she can't touch Judy Collins... then or now.

Posted by Geo at October 17, 2015 9:27 AM

True enough, but part of the point here is that Mitchell wrote the song.

Posted by Van der Leun at October 17, 2015 11:13 AM

DeWitt gets the other, not so obvious, point.

Posted by Van der Leun at October 17, 2015 11:14 AM

Hi Gerard,

I am surprised at the negative comments, but shouldn't be - I was in the audience in Atlanta, on Joni Mitchell's birthday, when she was the warm-up act for Bob Dylan, and the impatient young people actually catcalled and booed her. I thought she performed very well that night, I didn't realize how well she could play the guitar, either.

I think it is interesting that she wrote this song when she was 23 years old. What did that 23 year old woman think, as she sang the song 33 years later, at 56? How many more sides now?

The idea for the song is simple, but the emotions aren't.

Posted by Punditarian at October 17, 2015 4:50 PM

I am likely mistaken, but I thought Judy Collins wrote "Both Sides Now". Great to hear it performed.

Posted by Dan Patterson at October 18, 2015 6:15 AM

Yes, Dan - you are mistaken. Judy Collins had a big hit with the song, the first one to do so, but it was written by Joni Mitchell.

Posted by Punditarian at October 18, 2015 6:26 AM

Right you is.
Another in a long line of well-penned stories from Mitchell. No regrets, coyote.

Posted by Dan Patterson at October 18, 2015 8:45 AM

Joni wrote "Both Sides Now" when she was only 21. Her husband Chuck told her to quit singing it because he thought she looked too young and preposterous to be singing such words of deep-seated wisdom at that age. Joni dropped Chuck's ass shortly after.

Judy Collins has a great voice but has only written a handful of songs. Nothing memorable... and it takes her sometimes years to write one song.

I was walking down a sidewalk in Santa Fe in 1992 heading directly towards Joni Mitchell. It was like that supposed moment at death when every thought and experience you've ever had passes before you. I thought I would tell her everything she meant to me... which was vast.

As we passed I said hi and she smiled and answered hello.

I didn't want to bother her. If I started telling her EVERYTHING she would have been dragging me down the sidewalk by her ankle while spraying me with with mace.

There's a lot of celebrities visiting Santa Fe but Joni's the only one who ever caused my brain to explode. Just like Georgia O'Keeffe, who Joni visited several times here, the two of them transcended their gender and blew away the competition in their chosen field. Dylan said, "She's a guy!!" but he simply couldn't deal with her power and ability.

Posted by Tom Hyland at October 18, 2015 10:04 AM

That's a great comment. Thanks.

Posted by Van der Leun at October 18, 2015 11:38 AM

wanted to correct my url... in case anyone cares.

Posted by Tom Hyland at October 18, 2015 5:27 PM

Thank you for the correction; I checked on it and was frustrated by the 404 response. You'd think those wizards of the magic boxes would throw an old guy a bone and use a recognizable reference: 409, or 413, or 426, you know?
Fuckin' kids.

Posted by Dan Patterson at October 18, 2015 5:38 PM

Joni was one of the icons of the 60's generation.

For her to 'rite' this song at 21 is truly amazing. To sing it decades later is profound.

Yea, Neil Diamond sang it nice, Judy Collins sang it better, but the depth of meaning resides with Joni.

Thanks for sharing this with us Gerard - especially during these most important 13 days.

I hope the Tea Party is going well. 7 days left for your Re-birthday!!!


Posted by cond0011 at October 18, 2015 8:07 PM

"If I'd known I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." - Eubie Blake

If I had known I would still be playing this song decades later I would have written better songs.

Posted by chasmatic at October 19, 2015 2:15 AM

Good lyrics but never cared for her or those of similar stripes. That includes Dylan, Beatles etc. I guess I preferred blues, west coast rock, the Dead, and still do. To those who like her, enjoy. I had her and such music pounded into me at a very young age it is no wonder I was no sneaking into the Golden Bear and Ice House to hear real music and flee from the free thinkers and hippies that polluted my life for far too long. Never have worn red diapers very well. Neil Young?? Absolutely, to a point.

Posted by PatriotUSA at October 21, 2015 9:08 PM