A Case Of You

Album: Blue (1971)
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Songfacts®:

  • Several versions of this song about infatuation were recorded by Joni Mitchell, the best known being the one on her Blue album. An earlier live interpretation can be found on the live LP Amchitka - The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace. Mitchell later re-recorded the song on her 1974 live record Miles of Aisles. In addition, an orchestral version featuring a new vocal by Mitchell can be found on her 2000 concept album, Both Sides Now. The song can also be found on many bootleg recordings from Mitchell's 1983 tour.
  • The version found on Blue features Mitchell playing Appalachian dulcimer, accompanied by James Taylor on acoustic guitar and Russ Kunkel on drums. Kunkel is widely regarded as one of the top session drummer of the 1970s and early '80s working with many of the leading artists of the era including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Carole King, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt.
  • Many artists have covered the song, including Tori Amos, k.d. lang and Prince. The latter's version, retitled "A Case of U" was recorded for his 2002 album, One Nite Alone....

    Prince was a huge fan of Joni Mitchell - the title of his protégés the Time's third album, Ice Cream Castle, references the opening line of her song "Both Sides Now."

    "Prince used to write me fan mail with all of the U's and hearts that way that he writes," Mitchell recalled in 2015. "And the office took it as mail from the lunatic fringe and just tossed it! (Laughs.)".

    Two covers have charted. Frank Stallone (the brother of actor Sylvester Stallone) released his version as the follow up to his 1980 hit single "Far From Over," peaking at #67. In 2013 James Wolpert reached #72 on the Hot 100 with his acoustic interpretation after singing it on The Voice.
  • Movies to use this song include Truly, Madly, Deeply, Practical Magic, and Waking the Dead. Mitchell declined, however, to grant permission for the rather obvious use of the song in the 2013 romantic comedy, A Case of You.
  • Joni Mitchell told Robert Hilburn in a 1994 interview regarding this song: "I think men write very dishonestly about breakups. I wanted to be capable of being responsible for my own errors. If there was friction between me and another person, I wanted to be able to see my participation in it so I could see what could be changed and what could not. That is part of the pursuit of happiness. You have to pull the weeds in your soul when you are young, when they are sprouting, otherwise they will choke you." (from Mojo magazine)
  • Graham Nash, who cohabited with Mitchell from 1968 until their breakup in 1970 (see: "Our House"), gave this reply when Songfacts asked him to name the greatest Joni Mitchell song: "There are so many brilliant songs. I tend to go towards a simple song, and one of my favorites is 'A Case Of You.' I think it's an unbelievably beautifully recorded, simple folk song. It's beautiful."
  • David Crosby's friendship with Joni Mitchell dates back to one evening in 1967 when he saw her perform in the Gaslight South, a club in Coconut Grove, Florida. He immediately became infatuated with both the woman and her music. "I love everything about 'A Case Of You,'" he told Mojo magazine. "When she first sang it to me, it blew me away. But this happened to me every time I heard a song of hers, man. She was my old lady for a year, and I would write something I thought was really good and she would come back with three things she wrote the night before, and they'd all be better."

    "'A Case Of You' is so open and so her," he continued. "She's telling you the truth. And she utterly hooks you from that conversation at the start of the song: 'If you want me I'll l be in the bar.' It's a tough woman, who's got her dukes up about life, and she's got an opinion, and that's Joni.

    That line: 'I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet.' There's a duality there that's deliberate. On the one hand, she's saying she can't get enough of him. But she's also telling him, You can't bowl me over. Because you know she's been through some serious trials and tribulations. Polio, Chuck Mitchell - not a good experience. She'd paid her dues. She knew what pain was.

    Blue is the best record by the best singer songwriter of our times. 'A Case Of You' is a face photographed under a bright light."

Comments: 2

  • Sam from North CarolinaI don't like fixing "my favorite" things much, but I don't really know how anyone could write a song better than this. Simple, descriptive, expressive, evocative.

    But I am constant as the northern star,
    Of whose true-fixed and resting quality
    There is no fellow in the firmament.
    Julius Caesar Act III Scene 1
  • Suedeaunym from Nawth JawjaNo other music recording demonstrates the incredible emotional strength afforded by (and required of) human vulnerability than Blue, and A Case of You is it's most amazing example.

    I'm further astounded by the allegation that the lover about whom she wrote and sang it - James Taylor - also appears on this original studio version of it, accompanying Joni's gentle dulcimer with gorgeous acoustic guitar fills. There has been speculation that it was about another lover, Leonard Cohen, but Joni herself reportedly told Estrella Berosini that the song was about James Taylor.
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