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Big Yellow Taxi


Ben Taylor posted:

Dylan's "Big Yellow Taxi" contains one of my favourite Mondegreens: "the big furry dice pulled up at a parking lot" :-)

Only recently did I find out this should be "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot"..

Chris Rollason posted:

Has anyone else noticed that Dylan changes a key line of Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi' in his cover of it on the 'Dylan (A Fool Such As I)' album?

In fact there is no taxi at all in Dylan's version, except in the title - where Joni sings:

'A big yellow taxi took away my old man', Dylan has:
'A big yellow bulldozer took away the house and land'.

Why? And who wrote that line? Was it an alternative Mitchell line, or is it Dylan's invention?

If it is Dylan's line, did he not want to sing from the female viewpoint of the woman whose 'old man' was taken away? (but he sang from a woman's viewpoint in 'House of the Rising Sun' and 'North Country Blues', so ...)? Or did he think the bulldozer image suggested an irrational/totalitarian state more forcibly than the original taxi? Or was he engaging in rivalry with Joni by changing her words?

An enigma, if anyone can answer it ...

Josh Curtin added:

On the album "Miles of Ailses," Joni sings Big Yellow Taxi, and she sings a line very similar to that bulldozer line quoted above.

Chris Rollason:

That probably answers my query. But I'm still not sure, as 'Miles of Aisles' appeared in 1975 and the 'Dylan (A Fool Such as I)' album is a '73 release and was recorded some years before that.