Joni Mitchell

Sample this concert
  1. 1The Circle Game05:47
Liner Notes

Joni Mitchell - vocal, guitar

Although Joni Mitchell didn't get around to releasing her own version of "The Circle Game" until her third album, Ladies of the Canyon in 1970, the song had long become a fixture on the folk music scene, thanks in big part to it becoming the title song of Tom Rush's popular album in 1968. Written in direct response to her friend Neil Young's song "Sugar Mountain," Mitchell's lyric also focused on themes of growing older, lost innocence, and the inability to slow down the hands of time.

This beautifully captured performance of "The Circle Game" was recorded live at the 1969 Newport Folk Festival and would cap off her evening performance. A month prior to Woodstock and within a week of the first moon landing, this was a fascinating time in American history. Along with James Taylor, who Mitchell first met at a songwriters workshop on this very same day, the two would become leading lights of the forthcoming singer-songwriter movement, proving that introspective, intelligent lyrics could indeed sell records, and both would inspire countless others in the years to follow. Along with "Urge For Going" and "Both Sides Now," "The Circle Game" would be covered by many artists, establishing Mitchell as a songwriter of note to other musicians long before the general public caught on to her talent.

Written by Alan Bershaw