Friday, November 8, 2013

VIDEO: Joni Mitchell - "Big Yellow Taxi"

by Isabelle Laurent

Joni Mitchell said about writing the song to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 70s: I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii.

I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance.

Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart ... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song.

The song is known for its environmental concern - "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot" and "Hey farmer, farmer, put away that DDT now" - and sentimental sound.

The line "They took all the trees, and put 'em in a tree museum / And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em" refers to Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants, some rare and endangered.

Open-D tuning was used by Joni Mitchell for her "Big Yellow Taxi". Many other artists have covered the song - Bob Dylan, Keb Mo, Amy Grant, Counting Crows, Máire Brennan, Joe Dassin ...
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