Remembering Joni Mitchell’s Captivating 'Big Yellow Taxi' Live From BBC in 1970

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Remembering Joni Mitchell’s Captivating 'Big Yellow Taxi' Live From BBC in 1970

joni mitchell
Joni Mitchell. Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images. 

We’re dipping into the archives to remember Joni Mitchell’s captivating performance of her anthemic hit Big Yellow Taxi live at the BBC studios in 1970. 

Mitchell’s first two albums failed to chart in the UK, but her third release Ladies Of The Canyon magnified her star power with singles like For Free, Woodstock and Big Yellow Taxi which were a hit across the pond.

The BBC’s In Concert series introduced a number of now-iconic artists to British TV. On this occasion, a handful of audience members were lucky enough to enjoy a blissful six-song set from the songstress herself.  The near-flawless performance drew largely from the Ladies of the Canyon, with a setlist that included Chelsea Morning, Cactus Tree, My Old Man, For Free, Intro To Dulcimer/California and the absolutely joyous finale of Big Yellow Taxi.

It’s one of the greatest Joni Mitchell performances caught on tape – enjoy below! 

Joni Mitchell | “Big Yellow Taxi” [BBC In Concert] [1970]

Joni would explain the origins of the song to the Los Angeles Times in 1996, saying: “I wrote ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance.”

“Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart… this blight on paradise. That’s when I sat down and wrote the song.”

Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) arrived on vinyl last month. The extensive release features a number of live performances from the era, including a live album from Carnegie Hall in 1969, a recording of her The Dick Cavett Show appearance in 1969, two BBC sessions from 1970 and more. Get Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971), here. 


joni mitchell archives
'Joni Mitchell Archives, Vol 2'


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