Both Sides, Now

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For other uses, see Both Sides Now (disambiguation).
"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
Writer(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer(s) Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild
Clouds track listing
"The Fiddle and the Drum"
"Both Sides, Now"

"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; this version was subsequently featured on the soundtrack to the 2003 film Love Actually and was performed by Sara Bareilles during the 89th Academy Awards' In Memoriam homage.


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.[1][2]

"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.[3]

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.[4] The version was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Love Actually.

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)
Writer(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer(s) Mark Abramson
Judy Collins singles chronology
"Hard Lovin' Loser"
"Both Sides Now"
"Someday Soon"
Cover art
US single sleeve
Music sample

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.[5] In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.[6] The record peaked at #3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and "Both Sides, Now" has become one of Collins' signature songs.

Rolling Stone ranked "Both Sides, Now" #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[7]

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




  • 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.




  1. ^ Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 43–44
  4. ^ "Joni Mitchell Library - JONI'S JAMBOREE 19 singers use 15 songs & show why Mitchell matters: New York Daily News, April 16, 2000". Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  5. ^ Canada, Library and Archives (17 July 2013). "Image : RPM Weekly". Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  6. ^ "Wildflowers - Judy Collins : Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #171 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides,Now'". Retrieved 2012-06-16. 
  8. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ &qartistid=731#n_view_location
  11. ^ "JUDY COLLINS - full Official Chart History - Official Charts Company". Retrieved 3 September 2016. 
  12. ^ [Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2002]
  13. ^
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X. 
  15. ^ Oliver, Good Morning Starshine Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  16. ^ [2]
  17. ^ "Tori Amos Song Summary". Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  18. ^ "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. 
  19. ^ "Michael Lington - A Song for You". 
  20. ^ "A Song for You overview". 
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ "ABRSM Piano Syllabus 2011 & 2012" (PDF). Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Retrieved 8 July 2010. 
  23. ^ "ABRSM piano final". Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Retrieved 1 July 2010. 

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