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Both Sides Now (song)


Both Sides Now (song)

For other uses, see Both Sides Now (disambiguation).
"Both Sides, Now"
Single by Judy Collins
from the album Wildflowers
B-side "Who Knows Where the Time Goes"
Released 1968
Format 7" single
Genre Folk, pop
Label Elektra
Writer(s) Joni Mitchell
Producer Mark Abramson
Judy Collins singles chronology

"Hard Lovin' Loser"
"Both Sides, Now"
"Someday Soon"

Music sample

"Both Sides, Now" is a song by Joni Mitchell. Her recording first appeared on the album Clouds, released in 1969. She re-recorded the song in a jazz style for the album of the same name, released in 2000.

It is one of Joni Mitchell's best-known songs (along with "Big Yellow Taxi", "Woodstock", and "A Case of You"). It was written in March 1967, inspired by a passage in Henderson the Rain King 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.[1][2]

Judy Collins made the first commercially released recording of the song, shortly after Mitchell wrote it, first including it on her 1967 Wildflowers album, and later releasing the track as a single in mid-1968. Collins' recording reached #8 on the U.S. pop singles charts and won a 1968 Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.[3] The record peaked at #3 on Billboard's Easy Listening survey and has become one of Collins' signature songs.

Fairport Convention recorded the song as a demo in 1967. The band's recording did not become available until 2000, however, when it appeared on The Guv'nor Vol 4 by Ashley Hutchings. (A live recording featuring Judy Dyble from 1981 is included on Fairport's Moat on the Ledge album.)

Both Joni Mitchell's album Both Sides Now and a 2003 Mitchell re-recording of the song are featured in the 2003 movie Love Actually.

Rolling Stone ranked "Both Sides, Now" #171 on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]

The song was published by Scholastic as a picture book, Both Sides Now, illustrated by Alan Baker, in 1992.[5]

A piano arrangement by Meredith White of the song was chosen as an examination piece in the 2011 & 2012 Piano Grade 3 Syllabus (List C, No. 3) by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music,[6] in an effort to incorporate more beginner-level pieces that appeal to adults.[7]

The Judy Collins recording of the song was featured in the closing moments of the Season 6 finale of the American television series Mad Men, an episode titled "In Care Of," which originally aired on AMC on June 23, 2013.[8]

Cover versions


  • Judy Collins covered the song in 1967, won the 1968 Grammy Award for the Best Folk Performance
  • Dave Van Ronk covered the song on his 1967 album Dave Van Ronk and the Hudson Dusters, titling the song "Clouds".
  • Anne Murray included the song on her 1968 debut album What About Me.
  • Bing Crosby sang two renditions of this song, one on the TV variety show The Hollywood Palace and the other on his 1968 album, Hey, Jude/Hey, Bing.
  • Catherine McKinnon (1968)
  • Claudine Longet released a French version of the song in September 1968 on her LP "Colours" for release in the United States.
  • Frank Sinatra recorded the song under the title "From Both Sides, Now" on his 1968 album Cycles.
  • Harpers Bizarre released a version in the fall of 1968 on its third album, Secret Life of Harpers Bizarre.
  • Leonard Nimoy (1968)
  • Marie Laforêt released a French version of the song with adapted lyrics by Eddy Marnay in 1968 under the title "Je n'ai rien appris".
  • Robert Goulet (1968)
  • 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.
  • Ed Bruce recorded a Country version on his 1969 album, Shades of Ed Bruce.
  • Davy Graham recorded a version on his 1969 album, Large as Life But Twice as Natural. His version included a long Middle Eastern-style introduction.
  • Dion recorded a version in 1969.
  • Jimmie Rodgers (1969)
  • Nana Mouskouri recorded "Je n'ai rien appris" on her album of 1969, Dans le soleil et dans le vent.
  • Neil Diamond (1969)
  • Oliver released a cover version on his 1969 album, Good Morning Starshine.[9]
  • Pete Seeger did a cover on his 1969 LP of songs for children and elderly called Young vs. Old. Seeger added a more optimistic fourth verse to the song. The new lyrics are in Seeger's book Where Have All the Flowers Gone in the chapter "New Words?"
  • Tirso Cruz III covered this song in his self-titled album "Tirso Cruz III"(1969).



  • Paradox (夢劇院), a Hong Kong singing group, released a Cantonese cover version "The Color Theory of Relativity" (Chinese: 彩色相對論) in 1988 based on this song. They also recorded the same song in original lyrics. Both versions were released on their first two albums.


  • Michael Feinstein released a version of the song on the 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 released a version of the song on their 1991 debut album, Pretty on the Inside, under the title "Clouds".
  • b-flower released a version of the song on their 1994 album, Clover Chronicles l.
  • Dianne Reeves released a version of the song on her 1994 album, Quiet After the Storm.
  • Parasites released a version of the song on their 1994 album, Pair.
  • Randy Scruggs performed an instrumental version of the song on his 1998 album, Crown of Jewels.
  • The Boomtang Boys (1999)
  • Sharon Cuneta released a version of the song on 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 2001 movie, Magkapatid (Siblings).
  • Pat Martino released a version of 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.



  • Roch Voisine released a version of the song on his 2010 cover album Americana III: California.
  • Clay Aiken performed this song at the National Inclusion Project Champions Gala 2010.
  • Yamori (Ryoko Moriyama and Akiko Yano) released a version of the song on their 2010 album, Anata To Utaou.
  • The Idea of North (2011)[13]
  • Susan Boyle released a version of the song on her 2011 album, Someone To Watch Over Me.
  • Orla Fallon released a version of the song in her 2011 show My Land, an album and concert. When introducing "Both Sides, Now", she told her audience, "Everyone has a song that’s a special song to them, you know, it’s their song, and this next piece is my special song. I’ve sang it to mark every occasion in my life, my twenty-first birthday, my graduation, the day I got married; I think it reflects perfectly the highs and lows, joys and sorrows of life.”[14]
  • Carly Rae Jepsen released a version of the song on her 2012 EP, Curiosity.
  • In 2012 Collaborative project U.S. Elevator (Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion and Rondo Brothers) did a beat folk version on single, A Valentine
  • 2012: Idina Menzel on tour
  • Melanie C - recorded the song for her musical theatre-inspired album Stages (2012)
  • Danielle Eva released a version of the song on her 2010 CD, Road and Moon.
  • In 2013, Cilla Kung recorded a version for the TVB drama Slow Boat Home.
  • Mishka Adams released a version of the song on her 2013 album Stranger on the Shore
  • Mary Fahl (former lead singer of October Project) released a version of the song as a single in September 2013


External links

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