Joni Mitchell Delivers an All-Time Performance of ‘Both Sides Now’ in Her Grammy Debut
The legendary 80-year-old singer-songwriter elevated the Grammy stage on Sunday.
Mitchell was introduced by Brandi Carlile, who saluted her importance and influence as “the matriarch of imagination” and her own personal hero — as well as for the struggles she had to go through after suffering a brain aneurysm (including having to learn how to walk again three separate times), among other issues. “Joni just turned 80, my friends,” Carlile raved, “but we all know she’s timeless.”
Mitchell then performed her signature ballad “Both Sides Now” seated from a large cushioned throne. Despite her voice of course being huskier and octaves lower than it was on the original 1969 recording, and the arrangement significantly slower, her performance of the classic song was absolutely stunning and thoroughly indelible. Attendees from Beyoncé to Meryl Streep to Dua Lipa were caught rapt in attention, visibly overpowered by the moment. Carlile assisted on the performance on the guitar, with further backing from Alison Russell, Lucius and Jacob Collier.
Mitchell has won 11 Grammys in her career, including one at this year’s ceremonies — dating all the way back to 1969, when her “Both Sides” parent album Clouds won best folk performance. She also took home best folk album earlier in this year’s ceremonies for her Joni Mitchell at Newport live set. Her own version of “Both Sides Now” never charted on the Billboard Hot 100, but Judy Collins’ contemporaneous version of the song reached No. 8 in late 1968.