“Both Sides, Now”

I remember watching Love Actually when it came out, along with several times since, and being struck by the beauty and emotion in the song “Both Sides, Now.” After reading a little about Richard Curtis’ effort that went into picking the soundtrac I discovered that the song was actually written and performed by Joni Mitchell in the late 60’s/early 70’s.

Until this morning I had pretty much forgotten all about that until I stumbled across a live performance of the song from about 40 years ago. I was shocked at just how different the song was. Obviously the lyrics are the same, and Joni Mitchell’s voice is as beautiful as ever, but the emotion conveyed by the performance and the mood of the song seemed entirely different. Both versions are amazing, and I thought I’d share them here as I think everyone should hear them.

This is the original version:

And this is the more recent:

One YouTube commenter noted that you should watch the original and then then new version, in that order, and see how the song is about innocence and wisdom at the same time and across several decades. I agree with the comment, and it’s a wonderful way to experience a beautiful song from a fantastic artist.

I’d love to see some other artists like McCartney or Clapton revisit some of their old tracks and see if maybe they felt differently about them now that so much time has passed since they were first written. Different about how they were performed or about what music should go along with them. I really enjoy their original stuff (for the most part) but maybe their new, older perspective might offer new ways to enjoy the music.

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