Carey (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Joni Mitchell Carey cover.jpeg
Single by Joni Mitchell
from the album Blue
B-side"This Flight Tonight"
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Joni Mitchell
Producer(s)Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell singles chronology
"Big Yellow Taxi"

"Carey" is a song from the 1971 Joni Mitchell album Blue. It was inspired by her time spent with Cary Raditz, living with a cave-dwelling hippie community at Matala, on the Greek island of Crete.

Autobiographical elements[edit]

Although the song is sometimes rumoured to be about fellow singer-songwriter James Taylor, who plays guitar on some Blue tracks (although not on "Carey" itself) and with whom Mitchell had a brief affair, Mitchell has stated publicly that the "Carey" in question was Cary Raditz (or "Carrot" Raditz), a cane-carrying chef with bright red hair that she met in Matala during her European odyssey of 1970. Other references to the village and the al fresco hippie lifestyle abound in the song lyrics, most notably to Matala's now-named Kymata/Waves Restaurant (called The Mermaid Café in the song). Mitchell frequently introduced live performances of "Carey" by recounting anecdotes about Raditz and their Cretan adventures.[1][2]

In November 2014, The Wall Street Journal published interviews with Mitchell[3] and Raditz,[4][5] about the background to the song.

Recording sabbatical[edit]

Mitchell's European travels, which also encompassed France and Spain, were intended as a "time out" from her increasing fame and fortune in the music business. While on the road, she learned to play the Appalachian dulcimer, which was to become a feature of her musical output in the following years. Her dulcimer skills were first showcased on Blue and in particular the original recording of "Carey", which also features Stephen Stills on bass and acoustic guitar. "Carey" was released as a single, debuting at number 93 on the Billboard Chart on 4 September 1971 and lasting just one week; nevertheless, it remains one of Mitchell's most enduring and popular songs.


"Carey" appears on two Joni Mitchell greatest hits albums - Hits (1996) and Dreamland: The Very Best of Joni Mitchell (2004) - and has been covered by Cyndi Lauper, Goldie Hawn,[6] Universal Honey, Sara Gazarek and Kiki Dee. Lauper's updated interpretation was regarded by many critics as the highlight of a televised Joni Mitchell tribute concert at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York on 6 April 2000.

Mitchell herself performs a different interpretation of Carey on her 1974 live album Miles of Aisles. Backed by jazz band Tom Scott & The LA Express, and recorded at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, this reggae/ska version has been criticised by Stephen Davis in Rolling Stone, who went so far as to say that the song was "murdered".[7]

Cover versions[edit]

In 1972, actress Goldie Hawn recorded her version of the song for her album Goldie (Warner MS 2061).

At the 2000 tribute concert to Mitchell, held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, the song was performed by Cyndi Lauper.[8]

In 2008, drummer Russ Kunkel and the group Chateau Beach covered the song on their album Rivage.[9]


  1. ^ Gonzalez, Grisel (2007). "Lyric Glossary: "Mermaid Cafe"". Archived from the original on 9 November 2007. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  2. ^ Ray (26 February 2006). "Matala and Joni Mitchell". Crete: The Island in the Wine Dark Sea. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
  3. ^ Marc Myers, "Joni Mitchell on the Muse Behind ‘Carey’", The Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2014.
  4. ^ Marc Myers, "When Joni Mitchell Met Cary Raditz, Her ‘Mean Old Daddy’", The Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2014.
  5. ^ "Joni Mitchell Library - When Joni Mitchell Met Cary Raditz, Her 'Mean Old Daddy': Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2014". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Goldie Hawn, Goldie Album Review". Retrieved 2009-09-13.
  7. ^ Davis, Stephen (13 February 1975). "Miles of Aisles - Joni Mitchell". Retrieved 25 August 2015 – via Rolling Stone.
  8. ^ "Joni Mitchell - A Chronology of Appearances". Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Rivage overview".

External links[edit]