The story of one song - "Both Sides, Now" by the amazing Joni Mitchell
"Both Sides Now" - one of the most famous and fan-favorite songs Joni Mitchell! The composition was originally recorded by a folk singer Judy Collins, and her version entered the top 10 of the American chart 1968 of the year. However, it was Mitchell's performance that made the song famous... The track was a perfect complement to the Clouds album, and since then it has been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Willie Nelson, Herbie Hancock… At the beginning of the 2000s "Both Sides Now" entered the list "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" Rolling Stone magazine, and today this song is known as a legendary old hit! However… she was initially ridiculed too much. Why? Let's find out together!
Never the public
It is difficult to imagine a situation in which the ingenious Joni Mitchell has never been taken seriously… However, this is the sad reality of much of her career. Mitchell faced more adversity than her male peers as she emerged from the roaring sixties. And, oddly enough, one of her favorite tracks inexplicably immersed her in this "hot lava".
Mitchell's divine writing, combined with an impeccable vocal range, separated her from her contemporaries, but at that time she did not have such creative freedom ... History served Mitchell good service, and now she is rightfully considered a pioneer of the movement, one of the most revolutionary writers that alternative music has ever seen! But it took Mitchell time to win over the doubters who, at the time of her breakthrough, didn't believe she had the life experience needed to perform. "Both Sides Now".
According to the singer, inspiration came to her from an excerpt from the novel Saul Bellow "Henderson the Rain King":
“I was reading Henderson the Rain King on the plane, and at the beginning of the book, Henderson is on the plane too! He flies to Africa, looks down and sees these clouds... I put the book down, looked out the window and saw the clouds too, and immediately started writing a song! I had no idea the song would become so popular…”
Mitchell barely turned 20 yearswhen she wrote "Both Sides Now", leading critics to suggest that she lacked the life experience needed to discuss how to look at things "on both sides, now". What people didn't realize, however, was that she had already gone through a divorce and given birth to a child who was adopted, all before moving to New Yorkto begin her musical adventure... Compared to her peers, Mitchell saw more of the beauty of life as well as its painful flaws, but that doesn't matter.
From the memories of Mitchell
In one of her interviews, Mitchell recalled how caustic remarks rained down on her after she wrote "Both Sides Now":
“When I first wrote this, I was very young and I got teased a lot… What do you now know about life on both sides? Since then, I have grown a lot ... "
Mitchell explained that the early reaction to the material she was creating made her doubt herself, as she "kind of rejected" a number of her earlier ideas. She decided to stop writing on far-fetched topics and instead decided to become more autobiographical:
“I began to purify my own soul more and more, and there was more humanity in it! It scared the singer-songwriters around me. The men seemed to be nervous about it, almost like Bob Dylan plugged into the mains and got an electric shock. For example: "Does this mean we should do it now?" But over time, I think it made an impact. It encouraged people to write more from their own experiences…”
Instead of being vague, Mitchell decided to write from the bottom of her heart and act with the utmost honesty, which made millions of people fall in love with her ... Although she was only in her early 20s when Mitchell wrote "Both Sides Now", it was Joni in its purest yet surprisingly touching form... It made the other musicians notice that they, too, needed to write in an unfiltered way like her, even if they initially teased her for changing lyrical direction.
Popular cover versions by other artists
Finally, we suggest recalling the most famous and successful versions "Both Sides Now" performed by other artists! For example, version Frank Sinatra:
Herbie Hancock recorded an instrumental version of the song for his 2007 album River: The Joni Letters! Notably, his version was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo:
He also presented his version Neil Diamond (his cover was included in the album Touching Me, Touching You):
It is worth noting the version Dion - popular in 1950-1960s years of the American singer! The song he performed was called "From Both Sides Now":