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Like many of Mitchell's songs, the lyrics are rich with imagery as she tells a story. This song explores the relationship between a powerful crime boss and the object of his affection.
In an interview with Mojo magazine February 2008, Joni Mitchell was discussing her songwriting: "Sometimes you write about the exact thing you saw, but other times you take something that happened over here and put it with something over there. In 'Edith And The Kingpin,' part of it is from a Vancouver pimp I met and part of it is Edith Piaf. It's a hybrid, but all together it makes a whole truth." Piaf was a famous French singer.
Mitchell also did a rendition of this on her 1980 album Shadows And Light, with Jaco Pastorius on bass. (thanks, Dave - Spokane, WA)
Elvis Costello recorded this for the 2007 album Tribute To Joni Mitchell.
Mark Arm of Mudhoney
When he was asked to write a song for the Singles
soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.
John Doe of X
With his X-wife Exene, John fronts the band X and writes their songs.
Kerry Livgren of Kansas
In this talk from the '80s, the Kansas frontman talks turning to God and writing "Dust In The Wind."
Annie Haslam of Renaissance
The 5-octave voice of the classical rock band Renaissance, Annie is big on creative expression. In this talk, she covers Roy Wood, the history of the band, and where all the money went in the '70s.