Not To Blame

Album: Turbulent Indigo (1994)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song describes a famous guy who is abusive to one woman and drives another to suicide, all the while claiming he is not to blame. The likely inspiration is Jackson Browne, who Mitchell dated for a time. Browne's first wife Phyllis committed suicide in 1976, and Daryl Hannah accused Browne of hitting her during their relationship. Browne has vigorously denied the accusations, and no charges were filed. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Nicole - Massapequa, NY

Comments: 2

  • Tws from Los Angeles Only because I find myself listening to these two amazing artists a good bit these days do I feel any impulse to chime in. Of course few - if any - people can know the absolute truth about the specifics of either issue. But in that Mitchell's "brand" was to be as brutally honest as possible (one of the many things that makes her such an incredible artist) why then would she refuse to confirm or deny that this song was directed at Browne? She just lets the slander dangle unanswered. To strike out publically without proof is yet another kind of abuse. Ironic - given the tragic theme of the song.
  • Mrmeaning from Uk'Not to Blame' is widely understood to be Joni's condemnation of her ex Jackson Browne as a wife-beater who drove women to suicide but says he's not to blame. Her 'Song For Sharon' (on 'Hejira' ) also puts the boot in about the suicide of Jackson's first wife, Phyllis Major. The casual reader/listener might well assume that honest Joni, who knew him well must be telling the truth. But the truth is: Browne isn't a violent man. He earned her lifelong deranged emnity by not loving her enough and then dumping her. See, if you will, my post: https://soothfairy.com/2015/03/29/jackson-browne-and-daryl-hannah/#mitchell
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