Watch/Listen to Joni Mitchell’s Omniscient Rearrangements of Two Seminal Songs

Oct 28th, 2016 in Music


There’s no debating that Joni Mitchell is one of the greatest artists of our lifetimes. Between her music, lyrics, vocals, arrangements and paintings, her artistry is unmatched. We recently read Malka Marom’s illuminating book Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words in which Marom recorded and recounts decades worth of conversations with Mitchell. We consider ourselves well-versed in Mitchell’s songs, but clearly we are not know-it-alls when it comes to her discography. While reading Marom’s book we came upon a passage in which Mitchell states:

“I love the arrangement of ‘Both Sides Now,’ with the big London Symphony Orchestra. That was a live performance in England, and there’s a place where I get emotional and the orchestra swells up. Everybody’s feeling it at the same time. You don’t find that on a lot of records…, that so many people are emotionally engaged simultaneously. The men were blowing their noses at the end of that [third] take and the women were wiping their eyes. And they all huddle into the playback booth, to hear it like they were little kids at the back of the room. It’s very exciting…. And that performance then begat a movie called Love Actually. It was conceived when the movie director [Richard Curtis] put that cut of ‘Both Sides Now‘ on and much to his surprise, he was crying. It caught him off guard. And so he built a whole movie around it, Love Actually.”

Naturally, we couldn’t resist tracking down that performance of Both Sides Now. Along the way we also found an orchestrated and rearranged performance of A Case Of You. Both are so completely wondrous and sagaciously-performed that we couldn’t resist passing them along. Check both out below. The first video is of Mitchell performing the orchestrated Both Sides Now live at an all-star tribute to her at a Lifetime Award concert for her on April 16, 2000. The second is, we believe, the London Symphony Orchestra version that is included in the movie Love Actually and featured in Mitchell’s highly-acclaimed 2000 concept album Both Sides Now (album cover above featuring Mitchell’s painting).  Though we may prefer the latter recording, with its meandering mien and Mitchell’s deliberate delivery, the first is similarly wondrous and features Mitchell’s instinctual shimmy and sway along the way.

While you’re at it, check out at bottom the similarly omniscient and orchestrated performance of A Case Of You (off of that same Both Sides Now album).


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