Anyone’s list of top songwriters would include Joni Mitchell, and any list of her top songs would include Both Sides, Now. There’s little I can say that will add value here, just give it a listen and it’ll improve your day, any day.

Joni Mitchell

Notes · It was recorded by Judy Collins first, not Ms Mitchell. Speaking of “recorded-by”, check the list of cover versions, helpfully organized by decade; oh my goodness gracious.

I can remember once when I was stage manager for a concert, during the endless hours of take-down, load-out, and clean-up, someone put a tape on the auditorium PA that had a cover by a warm-voiced male singer, and since it was only a half-hour tape I heard it like six times, and to this day it remains the voice I hear when I think of the song. I was convinced it was Don McLean, but can find no evidence for the existence of such a recording.

Anyhow, one of the most beautiful melodies ever written by anyone, and perfect lyrics full of grace and wisdom.

This is part of the Song of the Day series (background).

Links · Spotify playlist. This tune on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes. There’s lots of live video from all ages of Joni Mitchell’s career, but this very early one made me smile. Admirers of Ms Mitchell will probably enjoy sampling this 1965 Canadian TV broadcast featuring the very young Joni when she had another last name. Her star power, even back then, is obvious.


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From: John Cowan (Feb 06 2018, at 20:11)

Here's a list of male singers who have covered it, filtered out of Wikipedia and in temporal order:

Dave Van Ronk

Frank Sinatra

Leonard Nimoy

Robert Goulet

Bing Crosby

Ed Bruce

Davy Graham

Jimmie Rodgers

Neil Diamond

Pete Seeger

Tirso Cruz III

Andy Williams

Engelbert Humperdinck

Larry Santos

Glenn Campbell

Willie Nelson

Roger Whittaker

Jim Nabors

Michael Feinstein

Paul Anka

Sandro Perri

John Barrowman

Ronan Keating

Roch Voisine

Michael Ball

George Donaldson

A lot of these folks aren't exactly warm-voiced, and among those who are, the thought of some of them singing it (or the sound; I didn't listen to them all) makes me cringe, but whatever. Dave's version, on the other hand, made me weep.

Bonus fact: Martin P. Robinson, better known as Telly Monster, performed a version called "Three Sides Now" (referring to Telly's love of triangles), but I'm assuming you would have noticed a discrepancy like that. Anyway, Telly's voice is rather scratchy. You can find it on YouTube.


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February 06, 2018
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