Both Sides, Now

"Both Sides, Now" is one of the best-known songs of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. First recorded by Judy Collins, it appeared on the US singles chart during the fall of 1968. The next year it was included on Mitchell's album Clouds (which was named after a lyric from the song). It has since been recorded by dozens of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Willie Nelson, Gang of Youths, and Herbie Hancock. Mitchell herself re-recorded the song, with an orchestral arrangement, on her 2000 album Both Sides Now.

"Both Sides, Now"
Song by Joni Mitchell
from the album Clouds
StudioA&M, Hollywood, California
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Joni Mitchell
Producer(s)Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "Both Sides, Now" at number 171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[1]


Mitchell is said to have written "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.[2][3]

However, "Both Sides, Now" appears on the album Joni Mitchell: Live at the Second Fret 1966 (2014, All Access Records, AACD0120), a live performance on November 17, 1966, from The Second Fret in Philadelphia, PA, which was broadcast live by WRTI, Temple University's radio station. This suggests that Mitchell wrote the song before March 1967.

"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.[4]

Judy Collins version

"Both Sides Now"
Single by Judy Collins
from the album Wildflowers
B-side"Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
ReleasedOctober 1968
Format7-inch single
GenreFolk, baroque pop
LabelElektra (EK-45639)
Songwriter(s)Joni Mitchell
Producer(s)Mark Abramson
Judy Collins singles chronology
"Hard Lovin' Loser"
"Both Sides Now"
"Someday Soon"
Cover art
US single sleeve
Audio sample
  • file
  • help

Shortly after Mitchell wrote the song, Judy Collins recorded the first commercially released version for her 1967 Wildflowers album. In October 1968 the same version was released as a single, reaching number 8 on the U.S pop singles charts by December. It reached number 6 in Canada.[5] In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.[6] The record peaked at number 3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and "Both Sides, Now" has become one of Collins' signature songs. Mitchell disliked Collins' recording of the song, despite the publicity that its success generated for Mitchell's own career.[7] The Collins version is featured as the opening title music of the 2014 romantic comedy And So It Goes,[8] and as the end title music of the 2018 supernatural horror film Hereditary.[9] It also features in the first teaser trailer for Toy Story 4.[10]

Chart history

2000 re-recording

Mitchell re-recorded the song in a lush, orchestrated fashion for her 2000 album Both Sides Now. The recording won arranger Vince Mendoza a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).[18]

In April 2000, two months after the album's release, 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.[19]

The 2000 version is played during an emotional scene featuring Emma Thompson in the 2003 film Love Actually. It was also played during the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.[20]

Other recordings

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.



1980s and 1990s

  • 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.
  • Randy Scruggs recorded an instrumental version of the song on his 1998 album Crown of Jewels.
  • 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.
  • Dana Winner recorded a Dutch version (Dat ben jij) of the song for her 1996 album Waar is het gevoel.




  1. "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #170 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides, Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  2. Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  3. 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. .. more likely "And I dreamed down at the clouds, and thought that when I was a kid I had dreamed up at them, and having dreamed at the clouds from both sides as no other generation of men has done, one should be able to accept his death very easily." Chapter 5 para 7.
  4. Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 43–44.
  5. "Image: RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  6. "Wildflowers - Judy Collins: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  7. Yaffe, David (2017). Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. pp. 49–50.
  8. Corliss, Richard (July 25, 2014). "REVIEW: Another Grumpy Old Man Finds Love in And So It Goes". Time. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  9. Jacobs, Matthew (June 27, 2018). "'Hereditary' Director Unpacks The Movie's Plot And Responds To The People Who Hated It". HuffPost. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  10. Agar, Chris (November 12, 2018). "What Song Is In The Toy Story 4 Teaser Trailer?". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
  11. "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  12. "Image: RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  13. "Both Sides, Now". Flavour of New Zealand.
  14. "JUDY COLLINS - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
  15. Whitburn, Joel, Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
  16. "Item Display - RPM". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  17. Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
  18. Vince Mendoza: Awards,
  19. Farber, Jim (April 16, 2000). "Joni's Jamboree: 19 singers use 15 songs & show why Mitchell matters". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 3, 2016 via Joni Mitchell Library.
  20. Bierly, Mandi (February 13, 2010). "Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony: Best and Worst". Entertainment Weekly.
  21. "Oliver, Good Morning Starshine". AllMusic. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  22. "Euson - Both Sides Now". Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  23. "Tori Amos Song Summary". Retrieved 4 January 2012.
  24. "Jag hatar att jag älskar dig och jag älskar dig så mycket att jag hatar mig". Svensk mediedatabas (in Swedish). 2006. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  25. "Michael Lington - A Song for You".
  26. "A Song for You overview".
  27. Billard, Arno (July 13, 2011). "ARIA Award winners The Idea of North announce new album and national tour". The AU Review. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
  28. Judy Collins & Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) singing duet "Both Sides Now" from RockWiz S10Ep1 -
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.