Both Sides Now

Album: Wildflowers (1967)
Charted: 14 8
  • Bows and flows of angel hair and ice cream castles in the air
    And feather canyons everywhere, I've looked at clouds that way
    But now they only block the sun, they rain and snow on everyone
    So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way

    I've looked at clouds from both sides now
    From up and down and still somehow
    It's cloud's illusions I recall
    I really don't know clouds at all

    Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels the dizzy dancing way you feel
    When every fairy tale comes real, I've looked at love that way
    But now it's just another show, you leave 'em laughin' when you go
    And if you care don't let them know, don't give yourself away

    I've looked at love from both sides now
    From win and lose and still somehow
    It's love's illusions I recall
    I really don't know love at all

    Tears and fears and feeling proud, to say, "I love you" right out loud
    Schemes and dreams and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way
    But now old friends are acting strange, they shake their heads,
    They say I've changed
    But something's lost but something's gained in living every day

    I've looked at life from both sides now
    From give and take and still somehow
    It's life's illusions I recall
    I really don't know life at all Writer/s: Joni Mitchell
    Publisher: Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 17

  • Shatteredvinyl from GeorgiaI personally always interpreted this song as how it feels when you realize the grass isn't so green on the "other side",and that being on the other side of the coin so to speak isn't what you thought,and feels the same as where you were before...the disillusionment and melancholy of realizing it's basically the same from both sides.And either way it's mostly just illusions and expectations.Example,as silly as it sounds,someone being an 'ugly duckling' in their youth and being mistreated because of it...then blooming into a very different,striking person who is pursued for their looks yet is still used and abused for other reasons...that person has seen life from both sides and still only has their illusions of how things should have been better,but the reality is just as harsh.
  • Katie Trion2findhome from Reading Pa Some things stay with you. Engraved into your heart, memory, spirit and soul. I was 4 maybe 5 but I remember. WFIL on the AM dial, the back seat of my Mom's Cadillac Brougham. Didn't understand the words. Didn't matter. I knew how I felt listening to the lady and pretty music. It felt safe, happy and sad like coming home from school to find out that your dog got loose and is lost. Still feels that way 50 years later. Now I know the words and like reading the Bible the message and meanings become new and profound as my life unfolds into a (sometimes catastrophic) kaleidoscope of Kodak moments. To everyone who's read this I sincerely wish you a life filled with love, harmony, gratitude, peace, joy, mirth, kindness and awe. Find something beautiful by considering same things differently daily. Before you sleep thank you for being you. Love for the sake of Love and have faith in faith itself.
    Forever for you my friend
  • Kawa from Tokyo, JapanHi Music lovers,

    I think the songwriter of this song, Joni Mitchell, wrote this song in 1968 to prove that she was able to write a song like Bob Dylan's very groundbreaking song 'Blowin' In The Wind' in 1962. Because Bob had been like an icon since PPM coverd the song and made a big hit in 1964.
    All the singer-songwriters like Paul Simon or Joni Mitchell had been trying to write a song like 'Blowin' In The Wind', I think. SO Joni finally did !
    That was the song. Because the structure of the song, 'Both Sides Now', was very similar to 'Blowin'. And More, everyone understands that it was written by the female artist but it tells us about life or has a very message song like 'Blowin'. So I think she wanted to and tried to write this song like 'Blowin' and she did, I mean she proved it ! It was great !
  • Dan from Slc, UtThe imagery in "Both Sides Now" is wonderful. And the aspect of the song that I was most touched by is in the last chorus. To be reminded that we are only experiencing our illusions about everything and not directly experiencing anything is a pretty profound idea.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 15th 1968 "Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins peaked at #8 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 3rd and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #3 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    The song first appeared on her 1967 album 'Wildflowers'; the album reached #5 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart...
    Ms. Collins will celebrate her 75th birthday come next May 1st.
  • Steve from Whittier, CaIce Cream castles is na good reference, likewise that harpzichord and stuff does make it a Celtic sounding tune at that. There is a slight lyric difference in the final chorus-"from win and lose" on single or LP to "from give and take" on the other, but which version is the single or lp? [They're otherwise same length].
    '
  • Camille from Toronto, OhQuite a masterpiece.
  • Peg from Daytona, FlI have more than one time been out in nature finding solace in looking up at the sky when this song entered my mind, and I was able this time to catch it in a different way. Joni Mitchell really touched on the connectedness of life- especially now that im older and reflecting alot. I really dont know love, life, clouds at all. the more you live, you realzie the less you know about life. my 2 cents.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThis song was used during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, during a sequence that was used to show the vast praries of western Canada.
  • Paul from Washington Dc, DcI heard that Collins recorded this behind Joni's back against her wishes, and that they didn't get along too well afterwards. I suspect that they were also romantic rivals for that affections of one or more of the men in CSN. Anybody agree?
  • David from Youngstown, OhGreat, great song. My favorite version is by Neil Diamond on his '69 album, Touching You, Touching Me.
  • Howard from St. Louis Park, MnJudy Collins' first hit single also put Joni Mitchell on the musical map. It's one of my favorites that was also covered by other artists, including Neil Diamond. I like the line "Ice cream castles in the air."
  • Patrick from Southhapton, NyThe song is about how we remember or erroniously view. What we hope and dream is so much better and stronger than the reality. This "non event" becomes our important unforgetable "instead" event, sad human and so so beautiful. Happens with lovers alot they embrace the great illusion, its enough.
  • Jodi from London, OnTrish, I think it's pretty clear that this song is about the narrator having gained new insight through life experience and realized that the grass is not green on the other side of the mountain. It's very poignant and sad, and oozes with truth.
  • Andy from Arlington, VaBest. Lyrics. Ever.
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThe entire song is a tour de force! In particular it has remarkably clear, to-the-point, expressive lyrics!
  • Jay from Syracuse, NyThis is an exceptional case in which a "straighter" cover version improves on the original: Collins instinctively and rightly turns Mitchell's bluesy version into a Celtic folk tune. A beautiful and evocative song that holds up well.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Intentionally Atrocious

Intentionally AtrociousSong Writing

A selection of songs made to be terrible - some clearly achieved that goal.

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song Spoofs

A Monster Ate My Red Two: Sesame Street's Greatest Song SpoofsSong Writing

When singers started spoofing their own songs on Sesame Street, the results were both educational and hilarious - here are the best of them.

Sam Phillips

Sam PhillipsSongwriter Interviews

Collaborating with T Bone Burnett, Leslie Phillips changed her name and left her Christian label behind - Robert Plant, who recorded one of her songs on Raising Sand, is a fan.

Timothy B. Schmit

Timothy B. SchmitSongwriter Interviews

The longtime Eagle talks about soaring back to his solo career, and what he learned about songwriting in the group.

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in Songs

Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear: Teddy Bears and Teddy Boys in SongsSong Writing

Elvis, Little Richard and Cheryl Cole have all sung about Teddy Bears, but there is also a terrifying Teddy song from 1932 and a touching trucker Teddy tune from 1976.

Carol Kaye

Carol KayeSongwriter Interviews

A top session musician, Carol played on hundreds of hits by The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra and many others.