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Rock Hall Anniversary: Joni Mitchell’s Clouds

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 25: Recording artist Joni Mitchell attends the 56th annual GRAMMY Awards Pre-GRAMMY Gala and Salute to Industry Icons honoring Lucian Grainge at The Beverly Hilton on January 25, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.
Photo by Larry Busacca

In May 1969, Joni Mitchell released her second album Clouds, which would be her first foray into the top forty, peaking at number 31 on the US charts, and two positions shy of the top twenty in Canada. The album featured three of Mitchell’s best known songs including “Chelsea Morning” “Both Sides, Now” and “The Fiddle and the Drum”.

Clouds is also the first album where Mitchell would produce, with the exception of the track “Tin Angel”, which was produced by Paul A. Rothchild. Mitchell would also paint a self-portrait for the album’s cover. Clouds was seen as a contemplative of various subjects, including the Vietnam War (“The Fiddle and the Drum”), mental illness (“I Think I Understand”), and love (“I Don’t Know Where I Stand” and “Tin Angel”).

In addition to a gold certification, Clouds would also win Mitchell a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance. One of the songs “Both Sides, Now”, has been ranked as one of the top 200 greatest songs of all time by Rolling Stone. But perhaps one of the biggest fact about the album, are the covers that it would spawn. Most notably, two songs “Chelsea Morning” and “Both Sides, Now” were hits for Judy Collins. There would also be covers from other artists including Neil Diamond, alternative bands A Perfect Circle and Hole, Tori Amos, and Herbie Hancock.

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