Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell

About Big Yellow Taxi

"Big Yellow Taxi" is a song written, composed, and originally recorded by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell in 1970, and originally released on her album Ladies of the Canyon. It was a hit in her native Canada (No. 14) as well as Australia (No. 6) and the UK (No. 11). It only reached No. 67 in the US in 1970, but was later a bigger hit there for her in a live version released in 1974, which peaked at No. 24. Charting versions have also been recorded by The Neighborhood (who had the original top US 40 hit with the track in 1970, peaking at No. 29), Maire Brennan, Amy Grant and Counting Crows. 


Year:
1973
230 
#4

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They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And they put up a parking lot

Hey farmer farmer
Put away that D.D.T. now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees
Please
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi
Took away my old man
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot

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Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell, CC (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian musician, singer songwriter, and painter. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in Saskatchewan and Western Canada and then busking in the streets and dives of Toronto. In 1965 she moved to the United States and, touring constantly, began to be recognized when her original songs ("Urge for Going," "Chelsea Morning," "Both Sides, Now," "The Circle Game") were covered by notable folk singers, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her own debut album in 1968. Settling in Southern California, Mitchell and her popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock" helped define an era and a generation. Her more starkly personal 1971 recording Blue has been called one o… more »

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Written by: Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing, RESERVOIR MEDIA MANAGEMENT INC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind


12 facts about this song

Original Artist
Joni Mitchell is the original singer and songwriter of "Big Yellow Taxi". She composed it during her first trip to Hawaii in 1970.
Literal Inspiration
Joni Mitchell once said that she wrote "Big Yellow Taxi" after looking out of her hotel window in Hawaii and seeing a car park overtaking the beauty of the surrounding nature.
Award Recognition
The song is one of Joni Mitchell's most popular, and earned her a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2007.
Environmental Theme
"Big Yellow Taxi" is often considered an environmental anthem, with its lyrics emphasizing the importance of natural beauty and critiquing the modern world's inclination towards commercialization and urban development.
Amy Grant's Version
Amy Grant covered "Big Yellow Taxi" in 1994 on her album "House of Love". Her version was a top 20 hit on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.
Different Lyrics
While Amy Grant's version generally adhered to the original lyrics, she did change one verse to give the song a more Christian perspective.
Counting Crows's Version
Counting Crows covered "Big Yellow Taxi" for the soundtrack of the film 'Two Weeks Notice' in 2002. Their version featured backing vocals by Vanessa Carlton.
Chart Success
Counting Crows' version was a big success in many countries, reaching No.5 in the UK Singles Chart, No.1 in the Canadian Singles Chart, and No.42 in the US Billboard Hot 100.
Non-album Single
Counting Crows version was not initially included in any of their studio albums. It was later included in their greatest hits album.
Live Performances
Joni Mitchell has often included "Big Yellow Taxi" in her live performances throughout her career, and many of these renditions have received critical acclaim.
Pop Culture References
The song, due to its recognizable lyric "they paved paradise and put up a parking lot," has been referenced and covered in a variety of media including film, television and other music artist's works.
Continued Relevance
As environmental issues continue to be pertinent, the song remains relevant and is considered a timeless classic that speaks about the destruction of Earth's natural beauty for commercial gain.

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    Big Yellow Taxi

    8.4M
    50,412     1,514

    Top Hot 100 Songs 1975

    Billboard #24


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