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.)".
There have been two covers that 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 that this has featured in 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)
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.