The song, “Big Yellow Taxi”, was originally recorded by Joni Mitchell in 1970
Environmental folk classic “Big Yellow Taxi” was written and recorded by Roberta “Joni” Mitchell (b.1943) for her album “Ladies Of The Canyon”. It was released as the lead single ahead of the album in April 1970 and initially peaked at No.67 in the US and No.11 in the UK. It was reissued in 1974 and this time reached a new high of No.24 Stateside.
The song has been performed and recorded many times ever since but there are two notable commercial releases. The first was from American Christian singer Amy Grant, who recorded a version for her 1994 album, “House Of Love”. It was released as a single in May that year and made No.67, ironically the same as Mitchell’s original had done! It saw release internationally in 1995 and reached No.20 in the UK.
In 2002 US rock band Counting Crows teamed up with singer Vanessa Carlton (what happened to her?) to record a verion for the film ‘Two weeks Notice’. Although their version did not meet with critial approval, it did climb to No.42 in America and No.16 in the UK, while also being a fairly sizable hit across most of the rest of the world. It was later named the worst cover version of the 2000’s by an American newspaper.
But whose version is the best? JONI’s original, AMY’s cover or COUNTING CROWS and VANESSA’s unfairly appraised version?