A week ago on Sunrise on channel Seven, there was one segment that discussed about some popular protest songs. Making me remembered I had one that always playing on my mind, Big Yellow Taxi. This is a protest song which originally had been written and sung by Joni Mitchell on 1970, later on 2003 it was recorded again by Counting Crows.
When I was listening the version by Counting Crows for the first time, I thought this song was easy listening. But then, when I finally ‘understand’ English and I did a little search about what actually happened on that year when she wrote the song on 1970, then I realised what exactly she wanted to say on her song.
Quoted from Wikipedia, ‘Big Yellow Taxi‘
“Mitchell said this about writing the song to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 1970s:
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.
The song is known for its environmental concern – “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot” and “Hey farmer, farmer, put away that DDT now” – and sentimental sound. The line “They took all the trees, and put ’em in a tree museum / And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.” refers to Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants, some rare and endangered.
In the song’s final verse, the political gives way to the personal. Mitchell recounts the departure of her “old man” in the titular “big yellow taxi”, which may refer to the old Metro Toronto Police patrol cars that until 1986 were painted yellow. In many covers the departed one may be interpreted as variously a boyfriend, a husband, or a father. The literal interpretation is that he is walking out on the singer by taking a taxi; otherwise it is assumed he is being taken away by the authorities.”
It’s my fave protest songs of mine, what about you?
I bet you must have one. Let’s share here!🙂