Both Sides, Now

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"Both Sides, Now"
Song by Joni Mitchell
from the album Clouds
Released 1967
Studio A&M, Hollywood, California
Genre Folk rock
Length 4:32
Label Reprise
Songwriter(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer(s) Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild
Clouds track listing
"The Fiddle and the Drum"
(9)
"Both Sides, Now"
(10)

"Both Sides, Now" is a song by Joni Mitchell, and one of her best-known songs. First recorded by Judy Collins in 1967, Collins' version was a top-ten hit on the U.S. singles chart during the fall of 1968. It subsequently appeared on Mitchell's 1969 album Clouds. Mitchell re-recorded the song in a lush, orchestrated fashion for her 2000 album Both Sides Now. In April 2000, Mitchell sang the song with a 70-piece orchestra at the end of an all-star celebration for her at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.[1]

Mitchell's version is played during an emotional scene featuring Emma Thompson in the 2003 film Love Actually.

Rolling Stone ranked "Both Sides, Now" #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]

Background[edit]

Mitchell wrote "Both Sides, Now" in March 1967, inspired by a passage in Henderson the Rain King, a 1959 novel by Saul Bellow.

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.[3][4]

"Both Sides, Now" is written in F-sharp major. Mitchell used a guitar tuning of E–B–E–G♯–B–E with a capo at the second fret. The song uses a modified I–IV–V chord progression.[5] The song is similar to her unreleased song, 'Just Like Me', which she performed in 1966 on Let's Sing Out.

Judy Collins version[edit]

"Both Sides Now"
Judy Collins both sides now.jpg
Single by Judy Collins
from the album Wildflowers
B-side "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
Released 1968
Format 7-inch single
Genre Folk, baroque pop
Length 3:14
Label Elektra (EK-45639)
Songwriter(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer(s) Mark Abramson
Judy Collins singles chronology
"Hard Lovin' Loser"
(1967)
"Both Sides Now"
(1968)
"Someday Soon"
(1969)
"Hard Lovin' Loser"
(1967)
"Both Sides Now"
(1968)
"Someday Soon"
(1969)
Cover art
US single sleeve
US single sleeve
Audio sample
"Both Sides Now"

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. It reached #6 in Canada.[6] In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.[7] The record peaked at #3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and "Both Sides, Now" has become one of Collins' signature songs. Mitchell disliked Collins' recording of the song, despite the publicity that its success generated for Mitchell's own career.[8]

Chart (1968–70) Peak
position
Australia KMR[9] 37
Canada RPM Top Singles[10] 6
New Zealand[11] 7
UK[12] 14
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[13] 8
U.S. Billboard Adult Contemporary 3
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 8
Chart (1968) Rank
Canada[14] 96
U.S. (Joel Whitburn's Pop Annual)[15] 82

Other cover versions[edit]

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.)

1960s[edit]

1970s[edit]

1980s and 1990s[edit]

  • 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.
  • Randy Scruggs recorded an instrumental version of the song on his 1998 album Crown of Jewels.
  • 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.
  • Dana Winner recorded a dutch version (Dat ben jij) of the song for her 1996 album Waar is het gevoel.

2000s[edit]

2010s[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farber, Jim (April 16, 2000). "Joni's Jamboree: 19 singers use 15 songs & show why Mitchell matters". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 3, 2016 – via Joni Mitchell Library. 
  2. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #171 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides, Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  4. ^ 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.  .. more likely "And I dreamed down at the clouds, and thought that when I was a kid I had dreamed up at them, and having dreamed at the clouds from both sides as no other generation of men has done, one should be able to accept his death very easily." Chapter 5 para 7.
  5. ^ Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 43–44. 
  6. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  7. ^ "Wildflowers - Judy Collins : Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Yaffe, David (2017). Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. 
  9. ^ "Australian Chart Book". austchartbook.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  10. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Both Sides, Now". Flavour of New Zealand. 
  12. ^ "JUDY COLLINS - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  13. ^ Whitburn, Joel, Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  14. ^ "Item Display - RPM". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X. 
  16. ^ "Oliver, Good Morning Starshine". AllMusic. Retrieved March 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Euson - Both Sides Now". Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 11 July 2017. 
  18. ^ "Tori Amos Song Summary". Toriset.org. Retrieved 4 January 2012. 
  19. ^ "Jag hatar att jag älskar dig och jag älskar dig så mycket att jag hatar mig". Svensk mediedatabas (in Swedish). 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  20. ^ "Michael Lington - A Song for You". SmoothViews.com. 
  21. ^ "A Song for You overview". Allmusic.com. 
  22. ^ Billard, Arno (July 13, 2011). "ARIA Award winners The Idea of North announce new album and national tour". The AU Review. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  23. ^ "ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2011 & 2012" (PDF). Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 October 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  24. ^ "ABRSM piano final". Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 

External links[edit]