I don’t remember when I first heard the music of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Her music wasn’t a staple in my childhood home as far as I can recall, but I would have listened to her songs at some point as I grew up. I have enjoyed her music through my adulthood and received her CD Hits as a gift from one of our boys many years ago. (I later bought the companion CD compilation of lesser know songs, Misses).
Today, looking over the Apple Genius playlist for Teddy Thompson’s “In My Arms,” I found some great tunes, including “Chelsea Morning” by Mitchell. The song comes from her second album, Clouds, released in 1969. (It also is included on Hits.)
The song’s guitar introduction reminds me a little of Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” from Ladies of the Canyon (1970), which is one of three albums of hers I have on vinyl; the other two are Blue (1971) and Dog Eat Dog (1985). The two oldest records were among a collection I bought from one of my brothers a long time ago.
“Chelsea Morning” was inspired by an apartment where Mitchell lived in Chelsea, New York City, USA, and described the decor, including a mobile made of coloured glass that created the rainbow referred to in the lyrics. The song was a big hit for Mitchell. Numerous artists, including Judy Collins, Jennifer Warnes and Neil Diamond, have covered it. And it appears in Martin Scorsese’s quirky 1985 film After Hours (which has a large cast including Rosanna Arquette, Linda Fiorentino, and Griffin Dunne, who I recognized more recently playing the older version of Jack Pearson’s troubled brother Nicky in the TV series This Is Us).
I featured Mitchell previously on this blog, in a post on her collaboration with The Chieftains on her song, “The Magdalene Laundries.”
In a 2002 article/interview, Rolling Stone magazine calls Mitchell “one of the greatest songwriters ever.”
Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the video for the song from Joni Mitchell’s official YouTube channel:
Full, unofficial lyrics are available courtesy of AZLyrics.com.