Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Both Sides, Now

First recorded (as “Clouds (Both Sides Now)”) by Dave Van Ronk & The Hudson Dusters (1967).
Hit version by Judy Collins (US #8 1968).
Also recorded by Fairport Convention (1967), Harpers Bizarre (US #123/MOR #38 1968), Joni Mitchell (1969 | 2000).

From the wiki: “First recorded as ‘Clouds (Both Sides Now)’ (against the writer’s will) by Dave Van Ronk & The Hudson Dusters in 1967, for their one and only album, the song ‘Both Sides, Now’ was written by Joni Mitchell – inspired, she says, by a passage in Henderson the Rain King by Saul Bellow:

I was reading Saul Bellow’s ‘Henderson the Rain King’ on a plane and early in the book Henderson the Rain King is also up in a plane. He’s on his way to Africa and he looks down and sees these clouds. I put down the book, looked out the window and saw clouds too, and I immediately started writing the song.

“However much she might have disliked Van Ronk retitling ‘Both Sides, Now’, Mitchell must have caught his drift; naming the 1969 album holding her own version Clouds.

“Judy Collins covered and included ‘Both Sides, Now’ on her 1967 Wildflowers album. In October 1968 it was released as a single, reaching #8 on the Billboard Hot 100, and in early 1969 Collins’ recording won the Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.

“Fairport Convention recorded the song as a demo in 1967 but the recording did not become available until 2000. Irish trio The Johnstons recorded their version in 1968. Harpers Bizarre recorded and released ‘Both Sides Now’ as a single in 1968, with little chart impact.

“Joni Mitchell reinterpreted the song in 2000 for the album Both Sides Now.”

Judy Collins, “Both Sides Now” (1967):

Fairport Convention, “Both Sides Now” (1967, released 2000):

Harpers Bizarre, “Both Sides Now” (1968):

The Johnstons, “Both Sides Now” (1968):

Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now” (1969):

Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now” (2000):

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