Joni Mitchell: Big Yellow Taxi

Written by Steven Blier

Artistic Director, NYFOS

November 30, 2016

Of all of today’s jaw-dropping political insanities, the fact-free, capricious dismissal of climate change strikes me as the most destructive and short-sighted. We can’t lose time, we can’t blame it on China, we can’t just tweet it away. I’ve been thinking obsessively about this Joni Mitchell classic for the past few days—“Big Yellow Taxi,” a cheerful tune with a sharp, still-timely environmental message. I first heard it when I was at college. Joni was a star by then, but for reasons I shall never understand she did a few nights at a little coffee-house in New Haven. I grabbed a friend and went to hear her. She came over to our table after the show and shared a few words with us—a very unpretentious, unguarded person at that time, amazingly sweet. In this video you can see the Joni I met that night, doing one of the songs she sang. I had hoped that “Big Yellow Taxi” would sound dated by now. Alas, it is as fresh and necessary as it was 46 years ago.

Steven Blier

Called “the coolest dude in town” by Opera News, master collaborative pianist and coach Steven Blier is the co-founder and artistic director of New York Festival of Song. Here on No Song is Safe From Us, Steven blogs about the NYFOS Emerging Artist residencies, writes the engaging and erudite program notes for our Mainstage concerts, and contributes frequently to Song of the Day.

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