The Comer: Joni Mitchell, 1969

The Comer: Joni Mitchell, 1969

All I have left from my high school newspaper days is a four inch long typesetter’s slug that sleeps in full sight on top of my laptop. Not a single issue of “Overtone” survived adulthood, just my enduring lead alloy slug which says in all caps: Pamela Gilbert. The printer gave it to me when I dropped off the first set of galleys.

It was eleventh grade, and we were all waiting to hear from the outgoing editorial staff about our new responsibilities.  Feature Editor … those were the two words I wanted to hear … when it was announced that I had been selected to steer the whole shebang.  I’m very glad to have this beloved namesake metal type in clear sight  … they’re the only words that survived.

What brings this memory racing back was hearing Joni Mitchell on NPR, describing how  “Clouds” (Both Sides Now)  has come of age. Hearing the song over WNEW-FM radio for the first time in 1969 sent me running to my typewriter.  I remember playing with my title for almost as long as it took me to write the story so I could submit my first piece to the paper. It must have been Joni and not Judy singing the words…   but I better check this, because I heard that Judy’s slicker version may actually have made it to the air waves before Joni’s did…

And much as I still love hearing Joni singing it, I think my favorite take is still Dave Van Ronk’s touching twist.

For sure, Joni Mitchell was a comer back then, just like I said about 45 years ago … here’s the original:

And here’s Dave Van Ronk singing “Both Sides Now.”






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