California

Album: Blue (1971)
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  • Sitting in a park in Paris, France
    Reading the news and it sure looks bad
    They won't give peace a chance
    That was just a dream some of us had
    Still a lot of land to see
    But I wouldn't stay here
    It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here.

    Oh, but California
    California, I'm coming home
    I'm going to see the folks I dig
    I'll even kiss a sunset pig
    California, I'm coming home.

    I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
    Who did the goat dance very well
    He gave me back my smile
    But he kept my camera to sell
    Oh the rogue, the red red rogue
    He cooked good omelets and stews
    And I might have stayed on with him there
    But my heart cried out for you, California
    Oh California, I'm coming home
    Oh make me feel good rock'n roll band
    I'm your biggest fan
    California, I'm coming home

    Oh it gets so lonely
    When you're walking
    And the streets are full of strangers
    All the news of home you read
    Just gives you the blues
    Just gives you the blues

    So I bought me a ticket
    I got on a plane to Spain
    Went to a party down a red dirt road
    There were lots of pretty people there
    Reading Rolling Stone, reading Vogue
    They said, How long can you hang around?
    I said a week, maybe two
    Just until my skin turns brown
    Then I'm going home to California
    California, I'm coming home
    Oh will you take me as I am
    Strung out on another man
    California, I'm coming home

    Oh it gets so lonely
    When you're walking
    And the streets are full of strangers
    All the news of home you read
    More about the war
    And the bloody changes
    Oh will you take me as I am?
    Will you take me as I am?
    Will you?
    Will you take me as I am?
    Take me as I am

Comments: 4

  • Mark from TallahasseeI'm with Tanya here. While both albums came out in '71, Mitchell wrote "California" a year earlier (around May/June '70) on her recently-acquired dulcimer (bought Sept. '69), right after leaving Greece for France, and first played it live in July '70. She then played "California" in the UK several times that Fall - live at Isle of Wight in August, recorded for a BBC "tele" program in Sept. (broadcast in October), then recorded in a radio show in October (broadcast in Dec.), then finally live again at the Royal Festival Hall in November. Zep had finished all of its '70 tours by September, and so could/would have seen her on the tv show in October, seen her live in November, and/or heard the radio show in December. If they were big fans as they claimed to be, they would have caught at least one of those performances, which dovetailed all to perfectly into their songwriting seclusion in Jan/Feb '71.
  • Ekristheh from Halath"I'll even kiss the Sunset Pig" -- The Sunset Pig may have been a nickname for an extremely unpleasant traffic officer who used to pull you over for the slightest irregularities and say nasty things, especially to women, occasionally getting violent. Officer Paul Kramer had such a reputation and may have been the Pig Joni meant. In '89, Zsa Zsa Gabor slapped him after he used foul language while issuing her a ticket for an open liquor container. Cher reports having a run-in with Kramer around the same time.

    There is also a book called "Kiss the Sunset Pig", by Canadian author Laurie Gough, about a road trip she took from Ontario to California.
  • Willie from ScottsdaleIt's a close call. Zep was already recording at Headley Grange in 1970, and both Blue and Zoso came out the same year. But both Jimmy and Robert were unabashed fans of Joni. Later in the 1970s (apocryphally) Jimmy was offered the chance to meet Joni, and was too shy to go through. :-)
  • Tanya from La Verne, CaI have a sneaky suspicion that this was THE Joni song that inspired Led Zeppelin's "Going to California". It just makes perfect sense.
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