Joni Mitchell was warning us back then

Joni Mitchell’s performance of her song Woodstock for the BBC in 1970 is a form of perfection. Her humble, conversational introduction and the sheer epic power of the performance itself is just staggering. Camille Paglia says this of the song in her wonderful book, Break, Blow, Burn.

“Presented in her voice, the lyric’s protagonist is Everywoman. The wayfarers’ chance encounter on the road to Woodstock is thus a reunion of Adam and Eve searching for Eden – the “garden” of the song’s master metaphor. They long to recover their innocence, to restart human history. This song’s utopian political project contains a call to reform sexual relations.”

How much we need Joni Mitchell’s song now, right now, in this divisive time. I love Joni Mitchell’s beautifully studied performance where she is totally absorbed by the deep drama of the moment and where every word rings out like a warning bell echoing down the years towards us.

Love, Susie 

WOODSTOCK

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him, where are you going
And this he told me
I'm going on down to Yasgur's farm
I'm going to join in a rock 'n' roll band
I'm going to camp out on the land
I'm going to try an' get my soul free
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it's the time of man
I don't know who l am
But you know life is for learning
We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By Joni Mitchell


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