Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell performs Big Yellow Taxi live on stage at The Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970. She was 26 years old and the crowd was estimated at more than 600,000. In 1996, Mitchell explained the origins of her song:
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. When it first came out, it was a regional hit in Hawaii because people there realized their paradise was being chewed up. It took 20 years for that song to sink in to people most other places in the country. That is a powerful little song because there have been cases in a couple of cities of parking lots being torn up and turned into parks because of it.
Though she’d turned it around by this song, the festival crowd was a challenge for Mitchell. Read more about it at NPR.
In case you missed it: Joni Mitchell performs The Circle Game.