top of page
Both Sides Now
Song

Both Sides Now

Joni Mitchell
Album:
Clouds

Song meaning of Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell, and what it is about and who wrote it


Joni Mitchell has stated that a section of Saul Bellow's 1959 book Henderson the Rain King served as the inspiration for "Both Sides, Now" when she wrote the song.


'I was reading ... Henderson the Rain King on a plane and early in the book Henderson ... 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.'


Numerous artists have recorded it since it was first released.


Lyrics of Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell


Rows and floes of angel hair

And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere

I've looked at clouds that way

 

But now they only block the sun

They rain and snow on everyone

So many things I would have done

But clouds got in my way

 

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow

It's cloud illusions I recall

I really don't know clouds at all

 

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels

The dizzy dancing way you feel

As every fairy tale comes real

I've looked at love that way

 

But now it's just another show

You leave 'em laughing when you go

And if you care, don't let them know

Don't give yourself away

 

I've looked at love from both sides now

From give and take, and still somehow

It's love's illusions I recall

I really don't know love at all

 

Tears and fears and feeling proud

To say "I love you" right out loud

Dreams and schemes and circus crowds

I've looked at life that way

 

But now old friends are acting strange

They shake their heads, they say I've changed

Well something's lost, but something's gained

In living every day

 

I've looked at life from both sides now

From win and lose and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all

 

I've looked at life from both sides now

From up and down, and still somehow

It's life's illusions I recall

I really don't know life at all

Release Date

1969

Songwriter/s

Joni Mitchell

Producer/s

Joni Mitchell, Paul A. Rothchild

Label/s

Reprise

Other Songs

bottom of page