Joni Mitchell: Chelsea Morning
"Chelsea Morning" is one of my favorite early Joni Mitchell songs - it appears on her 1969 album Clouds...
The song was inspired by Mitchell's room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The inspiration for the first verse comes partly from the distinct décor of her apartment. While in Philadelphia, Mitchell and friends had made a mobile from shards of colored glass they had found in the street and wire coat hangers, which filtered the light coming into her room through the window and created the "rainbow on the wall". During coffeehouse performances of this song in the late 1960s, Mitchell explained that the famous stained glass was rescued from the salvaged windows of a demolished home for unwed mothers.
Although she is speaking to a lover, I think ultimately this is Joni's love song to the experience of living in the city - as the verses unfold, her description of the sights, sounds and smells is rich and vibrant and delicious:
Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew There was milk and toast and honey and a bowl of oranges, too And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses Oh, won't you stay, we'll put on the day, and we'll talk in present tenses
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