Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi (original)

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Big Yellow Taxi (Original)

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

Now they took all the trees put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

CHORUS: I said, "don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got til it's gone."
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
Hey, farmer, farmer, put the DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

Late last night, I heard that screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi come and took away my old man

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
Late last night I heard that screen door slam
And a big yellow tractor come and took away my house, it took away my land

CHORUS: I said don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot









songwriter: Joni Mitchell

performed by: Joni Mitchell

date released: 1970 by Joni Mitchell; in 2007 it was remixed and re-released by Joni Mitchell with a new zydeco sound. This is the version featured as the final performance of The Alberta Ballet's production of The Fiddle and The Drum

The genesis of "Big Yellow Taxi" was written up in an article in the Vancouver Sun on The Alberta Ballet's production of "The Fiddle and The Drum." Joni Mitchell is quoted as saying:

"they paved paradise, put up a parking lot"

What inspired it?

"I think it was in 1976," says Mitchell, 66. I went to visit some friends who were playing in Hawaii. I came in at night, went to a big hotel, woke up in the morning, pulled back the curtains and saw green mountains and white birds flying along with white tails.

Then I looked down as far as the eye could see (sic) there was a parking lot. So it wrote it that morning. It's like a nursery rhyme. When it was released, only in Hawaii was it an original hit."

What's it like to write a line that is repeated every day, all over the world, decades later?

"Well, it's done some good, she says. People have sent me some pictures from places: 'Look, Joni, this used to be a parking lot, we turned it into a city garden.' So in its small way it has done some actual urban revival. I heard the mayor here [in L.A. use it] recently. They loaned their technology for cleaning up the LA River to Seoul, Korea, and they said, 'You can unpave paradise.' So you hear it around. It's been a utilitarian slogan. It's been a good little workhorse. But it's a nursery rhyme, and like all nursery rhymes, it's cheerful [even though it deals with a serious topic]."

January 16, 2010, The Vancouver Sun in an interview with Joni Mitchell







Big Yellow Taxi (Original)

They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

Now they took all the trees put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em

CHORUS: I said, "don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got til it's gone."
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
Hey, farmer, farmer, put the DDT now
Give me spots on my apples but leave me the birds and the bees

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot

Late last night, I heard that screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi come and took away my old man

CHORUS: Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
Late last night I heard that screen door slam
And a big yellow tractor come and took away my house, it took away my land

CHORUS: I said don't it always seem to go
You don't know what you've got til it's gone
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot
They paved paradise, put up a parking lot









songwriter: Joni Mitchell

performed by: Joni Mitchell

date released: 1970 by Joni Mitchell; in 2007 it was remixed and re-released by Joni Mitchell with a new zydeco sound. This is the version featured as the final performance of The Alberta Ballet's production of The Fiddle and The Drum

The genesis of "Big Yellow Taxi" was written up in an article in the Vancouver Sun on The Alberta Ballet's production of "The Fiddle and The Drum." Joni Mitchell is quoted as saying:

"they paved paradise, put up a parking lot"

What inspired it?

"I think it was in 1976," says Mitchell, 66. I went to visit some friends who were playing in Hawaii. I came in at night, went to a big hotel, woke up in the morning, pulled back the curtains and saw green mountains and white birds flying along with white tails.

Then I looked down as far as the eye could see (sic) there was a parking lot. So it wrote it that morning. It's like a nursery rhyme. When it was released, only in Hawaii was it an original hit."

What's it like to write a line that is repeated every day, all over the world, decades later?

"Well, it's done some good, she says. People have sent me some pictures from places: 'Look, Joni, this used to be a parking lot, we turned it into a city garden.' So in its small way it has done some actual urban revival. I heard the mayor here [in L.A. use it] recently. They loaned their technology for cleaning up the LA River to Seoul, Korea, and they said, 'You can unpave paradise.' So you hear it around. It's been a utilitarian slogan. It's been a good little workhorse. But it's a nursery rhyme, and like all nursery rhymes, it's cheerful [even though it deals with a serious topic]."

January 16, 2010, The Vancouver Sun in an interview with Joni Mitchell







+31 -21
Quiz #: 3852
Joni Mitchell performs a lifetime of her environmental anthem, "Big Yellow Taxi"
Quiz by: Sharon Michiko Yoneda
Intermediate

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