|Single by Judy Collins|
|Format||7" 45 rpm|
|Recorded||Elektra Sound Recorders, Los Angeles, 1968|
|Song by Joni Mitchell from the album Clouds|
|Recorded||A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA|
|Producer||Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild|
|Clouds track listing|
"Chelsea Morning" is a song written by Joni Mitchell and recorded for the singer's second album, Clouds from 1969. Prior to its release on the Mitchell album, it had been issued as a single by Judy Collins earlier in the year and as a track on the debut album by Fairport Convention in 1968. Jennifer Warnes recorded it for her debut album I Can See Everything, also in 1968, and it too was released as a single in 1969. The earliest commercial appearance of the song was likely by Dave Van Ronk on his 1967 album Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters.
The song was inspired by Mitchell's room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The inspiration for the first verse comes partly from the distinct décor of her apartment. While in Philadelphia, Mitchell and friends had made a mobile from shards of colored glass they had found in the street and wire coat hangers, which filtered the light coming into her room through the window and created the "rainbow on the wall". During coffeehouse performances of this song in the late 1960s, Mitchell explained that the famous stained glass was rescued from the salvaged windows of a demolished home for unwed mothers.
The lyrics of this song demonstrate Mitchell's talent with imagery, and her strong use of visual inspiration which come from her background in visual art. "The sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses." Mitchell, in regards to "Chelsea Morning", in 1996 stated, "It was a very young and lovely time ... before I had a record deal. I think it's a very sweet song, but I don't think of it as part of my best work. To me, most of those early songs seem like the work of an ingenue."
"Chelsea Morning" predated the release of Mitchell's 1968 debut album, but she held off recording the song until her second album Clouds partly because it had already been recorded by other artists. The Collins version had been initially slated for Who Knows Where the Time Goes, but "Chelsea Morning" did not make the track listing for the album, instead given an April 1969 single release. Supported mainly by easy listening radio, the track reached #25 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart with peripheral Billboard Hot 100 impact, peaking there at #78. "Chelsea Morning" made a belated debut as a Judy Collins album track on the singer's 1971 album release Living. Collins made a new recording of "Chelsea Morning" for her 1999 retrospective double-album release Forever: an Anthology.
In 1970, three versions of "Chelsea Morning" were produced:
- Green Lyte Sunday featuring Susan Darby (from Dayton OH) - reached #4 as Easy Listening in Billboard in August 1970
- Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66 - reached #21 as Easy Listening in Billboard in November 1970.
- Sylvia McNeill on RCA 1922 (UK 45rpm) produced by Jack Good, is another notable version.
In 1972, A Finnish rendering: "Kaupungin Aamu", was recorded by Anki for her album Ennen Aurinkoa.
In 1974, Kjell Hansson recorded the Swedish rendering "Skärgårdsmorgon" for his album Dig.
In 2004, Rebecca Luker recorded "Chelsea Morning" for her album Leaving Home.
- "The Very Best of Judy Collins by Judy Collins", Epinions.com.
- "Discography - Judy Collins - Chelsea Morning/Pretty Polly", Billboard.com. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
- Unterberger, Richie (2008)."'Chelsea Morning' - Joni Mitchell", AllMusic. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
- Hilburn, Robert: Los Angeles Times. "Joni Mitchell looks at both sides now: her hits -- and misses", NewStandard. 12/7/96. Retrieved June 29, 2008.
- Popik, Barry (2005) "'Chelsea Morning' (1969)", The Big Apple. February 27, 2005. Retrieved June 29, 2008.