Both Sides, Now
|"Both Sides, Now"|
|Song by Joni Mitchell from the album Clouds|
|Recorded||A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA|
|Producer(s)||Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild|
|Clouds track listing|
|"Both Sides, Now"|
|Single by Judy Collins|
|from the album Wildflowers|
|B-side||"Who Knows Where the Time Goes"|
|Judy Collins singles chronology|
"Both Sides, Now" is a song by Joni Mitchell, and one of her best-known songs. First recorded by Judy Collins in 1967, it subsequently appeared on Mitchell's 1969 album Clouds. She re-recorded the song in a lusher, orchestrated version for her 2000 album Both Sides Now.
- I was reading Saul Bellow's "Henderson the Rain King" on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He's on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song. I had no idea that the song would become as popular as it did.
Judy Collins recorded the first commercially released version of the song, shortly after Mitchell wrote it, for her 1967 Wildflowers album. In October 1968 it was released as a single, reaching #8 on the U.S. pop singles charts by December. In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance. The record peaked at #3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and "Both Sides, Now" has become one of Collins' signature songs.
Mitchell's version from her 2000 album was featured in the 2003 film Love Actually.
"Both Sides, Now" is a plaintive song in a major key (F♯). Mitchell used a guitar tuning of E–B–E–G♯–B–E with a capo at the second fret. Although the texture is carefully crafted, it is harmonically one of Mitchell's more straightforward songs, using a modified I–IV–V chord progression consisting of F♯ (sometimes F♯maj7 or with an E♯ bass), B9 (/D♯ or /F♯), and C♯7(sus). The end of each verse adds a momentary blues feeling. The despondent feeling is created in part by an F♯ pedal point and an E♯ that often does not resolve upward but rather, in the bass, moves down to C♯ and F♯. Only in odd-numbered phrases of the verse does the E♯ resolve upward in the vocal. At times the vocal climb corresponds happily with the lyrical content ("the dizzy dancing way you feel"), but at others the rise contrasts with the lyrical mood ("they rain and snow on everyone"). In either case, the vocal returns to its predominantly downward pattern, most dramatically when the A♯ peak is soon followed by a fall of a seventh in, for example, "and if you care, don't let them know" and "feather canyons everywhere".
Mitchell's song has been recorded by many other artists over the decades. For his version, folk legend Pete Seeger added a custom fourth verse with her permission. Fairport Convention recorded the song as a demo in 1967. The band's recording did not become available until 2000, however, when it appeared on The Guv'nor Vol 4 by Ashley Hutchings. (A live recording featuring Judy Dyble from 1981 is included on Fairport's Moat on the Ledge album.)
- Judy Collins recorded the song in 1967, won the 1968 Grammy Award for the Best Folk Performance
- Dave Van Ronk recorded the song under the title "Clouds" for his 1967 album Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters.
- Anne Murray recorded the song for her 1968 debut album What About Me.
- Catherine McKinnon (1968)
- Claudine Longet recorded a French version of the song for her 1968 album Colours.
- The Collection released the song on their 1968 single on the Hot Biscuit Disc Company label (1968).
- Frank Sinatra recorded the song under the title "From Both Sides, Now" on his 1968 album Cycles.
- Harpers Bizarre recorded the song for their 1968 album Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre.
- Leonard Nimoy recorded the song for his 1968 album The Way I Feel.
- Marie Laforêt recorded a French version of the song with adapted lyrics by Eddy Marnay in 1968 under the title "Je n'ai rien appris".
- Robert Goulet recorded the song for his 1968 album Both Sides Now.
- Christine Charbonneau recorded her own version of the song under the title "Je n'avais pas compris" released in Quebec in 1969 on Gamma Records.
- Bing Crosby recorded the song for his 1969 album Hey Jude / Hey Bing!, and he sang a slightly different renditions of the song on the TV variety show The Hollywood Palace.
- Ed Bruce recorded a Country version of the song for his 1969 album Shades of Ed Bruce.
- Davy Graham recorded the song for his 1969 album Large as Life But Twice as Natural. His version included a long Middle Eastern-style introduction.
- Dion recorded the song under the title "From Both Sides Now" on his album Dion.
- Jimmie Rodgers recorded the song for his 1969 album Windmills of Your Mind.
- Nana Mouskouri recorded the song under the title "Je n'ai rien appris" on her 1969 album Dans le soleil et dans le vent.
- Neil Diamond recorded the song for his 1969 album Touching You, Touching Me.
- Oliver recorded the song for his 1969 album Good Morning Starshine.
- Pete Seeger recorded the song for his 1969 album for children and elderly called Young vs. Old. Seeger added a more optimistic fourth verse to the song.
- Tirso Cruz III recorded the song for his 1969 album Tirso Cruz III.
- The Johnstons (1969)
- The Osmond Brothers recorded the song, under the title "Clouds", on the 1968 album "The Wonderful World of the Osmond Brothers".
- Andy Williams recorded the song for his 1970 album Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head.
- Cilla Black recorded the song for her 1970 album Sweet Inspiration.
- Engelbert Humperdinck performed the song in 1970 on "The Engelbert Humperdinck Show".
- Larry Santos recorded a pop version of the song for his 1970 album Mornin' Sun.
- Euson released the song as a single in 1970. His version made it to #7 on the Dutch Charts.
- Glen Campbell recorded the song for his 1970 album Try a Little Kindness.
- Willie Nelson recorded the song for his 1970 album Both Sides Now.
- Hugh Masekela recorded an instrumental version on his 1970 album Reconstruction.
- The Tokens recorded the song for their 1970 album Both Sides Now.
- Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete recorded an instrumental version on his 1971 album Workin' on a Groovy Thing.
- Roger Whittaker recorded the song for his 1971 album New World in the Morning. He changed the title to "From Both Sides Now".
- Gene Puerling recorded it with The Singers Unlimited on the 1971 album A Capella.
- Randy Scruggs recorded a finger-picking guitar version of the song on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 album Will the Circle Be Unbroken. This version only had two verses of the song, omitting the third.
- Jim Nabors recorded the song for his 1973 album The Twelfth of Never.
- Pat Martino recorded an instrumental guitar version of the song for his 1974 album Consciousness. This version only had one verse of the song.
- Paradox (夢劇院), a Hong Kong girl group, recorded the song for their 1988 album Paradox, which also included a Cantonese version of the song under the title "Color Theory of Relativity".
- Michael Feinstein recorded the song for his 1990 compilation Rubáiyát, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Elektra Records.
- Clannad released a version as a duet with British singer Paul Young for the 1991 motion picture Switch. It was the only chart appearance for Clannad in the Canadian RPM 100 Singles Chart.
- Hole recorded the song under the title "Clouds" for their 1991 debut album Pretty on the Inside.
- b-flower recorded the song for their 1994 album Clover Chronicles l.
- Dianne Reeves recorded the song for her 1994 album Quiet After the Storm.
- Parasites recorded the song for their 1994 album Pair.
- Brothers Four (1997)
- Randy Scruggs recorded an instrumental version of the song on his 1998 album Crown of Jewels.
- The Boomtang Boys (1999)
- Sharon Cuneta recorded the song for her 1999 album When I Love, and it was released as the album's lead-off single. The song was subsequently used as the theme for her 2002 movie, Magkapatid (Siblings).
- Pat Martino recorded the song with vocals by Cassandra Wilson on his 1997 album All Sides Now.
- On Sesame Street, Telly did a parody of the song called "Three Sides Now" as he sings about the shapes he loves, which are triangles.
- Jason Falkner (2001)
- Dengue Fever recorded a version of the song in Khmer and it appeared on the soundtrack of the 2002 movie City of Ghosts.
- Dolly Parton recorded the song for her 2005 album Those Were the Days. Parton's version featured vocals by Judy Collins.
- Tori Amos (2005)
- Hayley Westenra recorded the song for her 2005 album Odyssey.
- Cathrine Hickland Lindsay recorded it for the 2006 album One Life, Many Voices, which featured many stars from the soap opera One Life to Live to raise money for Hurricane Katrina.
- Doris Day originally recorded a version in a television special in 1971 and it was incorporated in the 2006 reissue of her album The Love Album.
- Håkan Hellström released a version of the song in Swedish in 2006. His version is called "Båda sidor, nu".
- Michael Lington recorded the song for his 2006 album A Song for You.
- In the 2006 musical stage adaptation of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the song is used in the Australian, New Zealand, and London productions, but was replaced in the Broadway production by Cyndi Lauper's True Colors.
- Herbie Hancock recorded an instrumental version of the song for his 2007 album River: The Joni Letters. Hancock's version of the song was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. The album won the 2008 Grammy for Album of the Year.
- Mindy Gledhill recorded the song for her 2007 album Feather in the Wind.
- Paul Anka recorded the song for his 2007 album Classic Songs, My Way.
- Sandro Perri recorded the song for his 2007 album Tiny Mirrors.
- Allison Moorer recorded the song for her 2008 album Mockingbird.
- John Barrowman recorded the song for his 2008 album Music Music Music.
- Linda Eder recorded the song for her 2008 album The Other Side of Me.
- Rie fu recorded the song for her 2008 album Who is Rie fu?
- Bei Xu recorded a super slow version of the song for her 2008 album You Are So Beautiful.
- Tina Arena recorded the song for her 2008 album Songs of Love & Loss 2.
- Lara Fabian recorded the song for her 2009 album Every Woman In Me.
- Rachael Yamagata recorded the song for her 2009 album The Village, a tribute album honoring the folk music scene of New York's Greenwich Village in the 1960s.
- Ronan Keating recorded the song for his 2009 tribute album to his late mother, Songs for My Mother.
- The Swingle Singers recorded an a cappella version of the song on their 2009 album Ferris Wheels.
- Roch Voisine recorded the song for his 2010 cover album Americana III: California.
- Yamori (Ryoko Moriyama and Akiko Yano) recorded the song for their 2010 album Anata To Utaou.
- The Idea of North (2011) recorded the song for their 2011 album Extraordinary Tale.
- Susan Boyle recorded the song for her 2011 album Someone To Watch Over Me.
- Orla Fallon performed the song in her 2011 show My Land.
- Carly Rae Jepsen recorded the song for her 2012 EP Curiosity.
- U.S. Elevator (Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion and Rondo Brothers) recorded a beat folk version on their 2012 single, A Valentine.
- Marina Prior recorded the song for her 2012 album Both Sides Now
- Melanie C - recorded the song for her musical theatre-inspired 2012 album Stages
- Idina Menzel - performed the song during a number of concerts on the second leg of her Barefoot at the Symphony tour (2012-2013)
- Cilla Kung recorded the song in 2013 for the TVB drama Slow Boat Home.
- Mary Fahl (former lead singer of October Project) released the song as a single in September 2013.
- Michael Ball recorded the song for his 2013 album Both Sides Now.
- Danish jazz vocalist Cæcilie Norby recorded the song for her 2015 album "Just the Two of Us" accompanied by bassist Lars Danielsson.
- Dexys, formerly known as Dexys Midnight Runners, recorded the song for their 2016 album "Let the Record Show Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul" and released the song as the lead single on 25 April 2016.
A piano arrangement of the song was chosen as an examination piece in the 2011 & 2012 Piano Grade 3 Syllabus (List C, No. 3) by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, in an effort to incorporate more beginner-level pieces that appeal to adults.
- Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- Bellow, Saul (1985). Henderson the Rain King. Penguin Books. p. 280. ISBN 0-14-007269-1.
We are the first generation to see the clouds from both sides.
- "Wildflowers - Judy Collins : Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #171 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides,Now'". Retrieved 2012-06-16.
- Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 43–44
- Oliver, Good Morning Starshine Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- "Tori Amos Song Summary". Toriset.org. Retrieved 2012-01-04.
- "Jag hatar att jag älskar dig och jag älskar dig så mycket att jag hatar mig" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
- "Michael Lington - A Song for You". SmoothViews.com.
- "A Song for You overview". Allmusic.com.
- Arno Billard (July 13, 2011). "ARIA Award winners The Idea of North announce new album and national tour". The AU Review. Retrieved 2011-09-17.
- "ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2011 & 2012" (PDF). Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
- "ABRSM piano final". Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Retrieved 1 July 2010.