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|
|Studio||A&M, Hollywood, California|
|Producer(s)||Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild|
- 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.
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.
Judy Collins version
|"Both Sides Now"|
|Single by Judy Collins|
|from the album Wildflowers|
|B-side||"Who Knows Where the Time Goes"|
|Genre||Folk, baroque pop|
|Judy Collins singles chronology|
US single sleeve
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. In early 1969 it won a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance. 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. The Collins version is featured as the opening title music of the 2014 romantic comedy And So It Goes, and as the end title music of the 2018 supernatural horror film Hereditary. It also features in the first teaser trailer for Toy Story 4.
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).
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.
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.
- Dave Van Ronk recorded the song under the title "Clouds" for his 1968 album Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters.
- Anne Murray recorded the song for her 1968 debut album What About Me.
- Claudine Longet recorded the song for her 1968 album Colours.
- Frank Sinatra recorded the song under the title "From Both Sides, Now" on his 1968 album Cycles.
- Leonard Nimoy recorded the song for his 1968 album The Way I Feel.
- Marie Laforêt recorded a French version of the song with adapted lyrics by Eddy Marnay in 1968 under the title "Je n'ai rien appris".
- Robert Goulet recorded the song for his 1968 album Both Sides Now.
- Christine Charbonneau recorded her own version of the song under the title "Je n'avais pas compris" released in Quebec in 1969 on Gamma Records.
- Bing Crosby recorded the song for his 1969 album Hey Jude / Hey Bing!, and he sang a slightly different rendition of the song on the TV variety show The Hollywood Palace.
- Ed Bruce recorded a Country version of the song for his 1969 album Shades of Ed Bruce.
- Davy Graham recorded the song for his 1969 album Large as Life But Twice as Natural. His version included a long Middle Eastern-style introduction.
- Dion recorded the song under the title "From Both Sides Now" on his album Dion. His cover reached number 91 in the US, and is the only other charting version of the song besides Collins'.
- Jimmie Rodgers recorded the song for his 1969 album Windmills of Your Mind.
- Nana Mouskouri recorded the song under the title "Je n'ai rien appris" on her 1969 album Dans le soleil et dans le vent. She has also covered the English version.
- Neil Diamond recorded the song for his 1969 album Touching You, Touching Me.
- Oliver recorded the song for his 1969 album Good Morning Starshine.
- Pete Seeger recorded the song for his 1969 album for children and elderly called Young vs. Old. Seeger added a more optimistic fourth verse to the song.
- Tirso Cruz III recorded the song for his 1969 album Tirso Cruz III.
- The Osmond Brothers recorded the song, under the title "Clouds", on the 1968 album The Wonderful World of The Osmond Brothers.
- Gábor Szabó, a Hungarian born guitarist, recorded an instrumental version on his 1969 album 1969.
- Paul Winter, saxophonist, recorded an instrumental version with his group The Winter Consort on their eponymous 1968 debut album.
- Andy Williams recorded the song for his 1970 album Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head.
- Cilla Black recorded the song for her 1970 album Sweet Inspiration.
- Engelbert Humperdinck performed the song in 1970 on The Engelbert Humperdinck Show.
- Larry Santos recorded a pop version of the song for his 1970 album Mornin' Sun.
- Euson released the song as a single in 1970. His version made it to number 7 on the Dutch Top 40.
- Glen Campbell recorded the song for his 1970 album Try a Little Kindness.
- Willie Nelson recorded the song for his 1970 album Both Sides Now.
- Hugh Masekela recorded an instrumental version on his 1970 album Reconstruction.
- The Tokens recorded the song for their 1970 album Both Sides Now.
- The Pattersons recorded the song as part of their 1970 album "I Can Fly" and also sang the song on The Morecambe & Wise Show.
- Brazilian guitarist Bola Sete recorded an instrumental version on his 1971 album Workin' on a Groovy Thing.
- Tirso Cruz III recorded the song in 1971 under Vicor Music Corporation Philippines.
- Roger Whittaker recorded the song for his 1971 album New World in the Morning. He changed the title to "From Both Sides Now".
- Gene Puerling recorded it with The Singers Unlimited on the 1971 album A Capella.
- Cleo Laine recorded the song for her 1972 album Feel The Warm with Cleo Laine.
- Randy Scruggs recorded a finger-picking guitar version of the song on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1972 album Will the Circle be Unbroken. This version only had two verses of the song, omitting the third.
- Jim Nabors recorded the song for his 1973 album The Twelfth of Never.
- Pat Martino recorded an instrumental guitar version of the song for his 1974 album Consciousness. This version only had one verse of the song.
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.
- A version of the song is featured in the film Life as a House (2001) in the climax of the film during which George Monroe, played by Kevin Kline and ex-wife Robin, played by Kristin Scott-Thomas dance on the deck of George's unfinished cliffside home.
- Dengue Fever recorded a version of the song in Khmer and it appeared on the soundtrack of the 2002 movie City of Ghosts.
- Dolly Parton recorded the song for her 2005 album Those Were the Days. Parton's version featured vocals by Judy Collins and Rhonda Vincent.
- Tori Amos (2005)
- Hayley Westenra recorded the song for her 2005 album Odyssey.
- Cathrine Hickland Lindsay recorded it for the 2006 album One Life, Many Voices, which featured many stars from the soap opera One Life to Live to raise money for Hurricane Katrina.
- Doris Day originally recorded a version in a television special in 1971 and it was incorporated in the 2006 reissue of her album The Love Album.
- Håkan Hellström released a version of the song in Swedish in 2006. His version is called "Båda sidor, nu".
- Michael Lington recorded the song for his 2006 album A Song for You.
- In the 2006 musical stage adaptation of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, the song is used in the Australian, New Zealand, and London productions, but was replaced in the Broadway production by Cyndi Lauper's True Colors.
- Herbie Hancock recorded an instrumental version of the song for his 2007 album River: The Joni Letters. Hancock's version of the song was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo. The album won the 2008 Grammy for Album of the Year.
- Mindy Gledhill recorded the song for her 2007 album Feather in the Wind.
- Paul Anka recorded the song for his 2007 album Classic Songs, My Way.
- Sandro Perri recorded the song for his 2007 album Tiny Mirrors.
- Allison Moorer recorded the song for her 2008 album Mockingbird.
- John Barrowman recorded the song for his 2008 album Music Music Music.
- Linda Eder recorded the song for her 2008 album The Other Side of Me.
- Rie fu recorded the song for her 2008 album Who is Rie fu?.
- Tina Arena recorded the song for her 2008 album Songs of Love & Loss 2.
- Lara Fabian recorded the song for her 2009 album Every Woman In Me.
- Rachael Yamagata recorded the song for her 2009 album The Village, a tribute album honoring the folk music scene of New York's Greenwich Village in the 1960s.
- Ronan Keating recorded the song for his 2009 tribute album to his late mother, Songs for My Mother.
- The Swingle Singers recorded an a cappella version of the song on their 2009 album Ferris Wheels.
- Luce Dufault recorded the song on her 2007 album Demi-jour.
- Belinda Carlisle recorded the song for the 2019 re-release of her album Runaway Horses.
- Roch Voisine recorded the song for his 2010 cover album Americana III: California.
- Yamori (Ryoko Moriyama and Akiko Yano) recorded the song for their 2010 album Anata To Utaou.
- The Idea of North (2011) recorded the song for their 2011 album Extraordinary Tale.
- Susan Boyle recorded the song for her 2011 album Someone to Watch Over Me.
- Orla Fallon performed the song in her 2011 show My Land.
- Carly Rae Jepsen recorded the song for her 2012 EP Curiosity.
- U.S. Elevator (Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion and Rondo Brothers) recorded a beat folk version on their 2012 single, A Valentine.
- Marina Prior recorded the song for her 2012 album Both Sides Now.
- Melanie C recorded the song for her musical theatre-inspired 2012 album Stages.
- RockWiz produced a duet of the song with Judy Collins and Tim Freedman in 2012, S10E01.
- Idina Menzel performed the song during a number of concerts on the second leg of her Barefoot at the Symphony tour (2012–2013).
- Cilla Kung recorded the song in 2013 for the TVB drama Slow Boat Home.
- Mary Fahl (former lead singer of October Project) released the song as a single in September 2013.
- Michael Ball recorded the song for his 2013 album Both Sides Now.
- Danish jazz vocalist Cæcilie Norby recorded the song for her 2015 album Just the Two of Us accompanied by bassist Lars Danielsson.
- Scottish singer George Donaldson covered the song as a member of Celtic Thunder during their Mythology record sessions in 2013. It was officially released in 2015.
- Dexys, formerly known as Dexys Midnight Runners, recorded the song for their 2016 album "Let the Record Show Dexys Do Irish and Country Soul" and released the song as the lead single on 25 April 2016.
- Gang of Youths recorded the song as a bonus track for their 2016 EP Let Me Be Clear in a style reflecting Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah".
- Years & Years (2016) recorded a cover of this song for a Torch Songs charity project.
- Sara Bareilles performed the song at the 89th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on 26 February 2017 during the "In Memoriam" portion of the ceremony.
- Rick Price and Jack Jones covered the song on their album California Dreaming (2017).
- Kristian Matsson, under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, covered the song during his YouTube series, calling it the "best song in the world.".
- Jess & Matt covered the song on their album Songs from the Village.
- Helena Bonham Carter covered the song for the Got It Covered album for Children In Need.
- "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: #170 Joni Mitchell, 'Both Sides, Now'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Hilburn, Robert (December 8, 1996). "Both Sides, Later". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- 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.
- Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 43–44.
- "Image: RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Wildflowers - Judy Collins: Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
- Yaffe, David (2017). Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. pp. 49–50.
- Corliss, Richard (July 25, 2014). "REVIEW: Another Grumpy Old Man Finds Love in And So It Goes". Time. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- 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.
- Agar, Chris (November 12, 2018). "What Song Is In The Toy Story 4 Teaser Trailer?". Screen Rant. Retrieved May 26, 2019.
- "Australian Chart Book". austchartbook.com. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- "Image: RPM Weekly". Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- "Both Sides, Now". Flavour of New Zealand.
- "JUDY COLLINS - full Official Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Whitburn, Joel, Top Pop Singles 1955-2002
- "Item Display - RPM". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.
- Vince Mendoza: Awards, allmusic.com
- 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.
- Bierly, Mandi (February 13, 2010). "Vancouver Olympics Opening Ceremony: Best and Worst". Entertainment Weekly.
- "Oliver, Good Morning Starshine". AllMusic. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
- "Euson - Both Sides Now". Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
- "Tori Amos Song Summary". Toriset.org. Retrieved 4 January 2012.
- "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.
- "Michael Lington - A Song for You". SmoothViews.com.
- "A Song for You overview". Allmusic.com.
- 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.
- Judy Collins & Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) singing duet "Both Sides Now" from RockWiz S10Ep1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFs7-bgMAhc