Monday, November 12, 2018

Circle Game - Joni Mitchell: Do Lyrics Age?

Songs I Love:

Circle Game
(With reference to the lyrics please.)

This song's been recorded by more than 200 international artistes but it wasn't much of a hit for the singer-composer who recorded it.

I have no comment about its popularity but love the lyrics and what it meant to me then and how different the lyrics are today with a senior's mindset. 

Some lines connected well:

We're captive on the carousel of time

We can't return, we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

It's natural but commonplace that we should think back and regret painfully that certain aspects of our life could have turned out differently?  But go along that line and we could end up psychologically perturbed and be in a tumble. So just be happy with our lot? For me, yes.

At Carnegie Hall in 1972; singing with her audience. Video by Hannah Green. Thank you

In the composition, written by one of the greatest Canadian songwriters ever, Ms Joni Mitchell described the young man in question as one who's turned sixteen springs and sixteen summers. He's like my grandson and other children announcing with pride, "No I'm not twelve, I'm thirteen, a teenager." It's like hey I'm no kid anymore. But the advice:

Take your time it won't be long now, Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down. Yes, drag your feet or wish you were 48 instead of 84. So as the years go by and the boy turned twenty his dreams would have lost some significance. 

For me, at this age, as one of the painted ponies that go up and down, there are hardly any more dreams, except that the grandchildren would grow up safe and have a full life. Hopefully for them: There'll be new dreams and maybe better dreams and plenty, Before the last revolving year is through.  

Joni Mitchell was one lady I thought I could meet during my long stay in Winnipeg, Manitoba but never did. Not during the mid-80's.

he's born on the 7th of November 1943.

Happy Birthday, Ms Mitchell.
Hong Kong singer, Agnes Chan and Penny Lim with Silver Stones from Singapore, recorded this song. 

A few Asian singers recorded this song. Just for reference, below is a shorter list of singers who have recorded Circle Game:

Tom Rush

Buffy Sainte Marie
George Hamilton IV


Penny Lim and The Silverstone
The Travellers

Ricky Ely

Ian Campbell Group
Tokyo's Coolest Combo

Agnes Chan

Maureen McGovern
Ian Campbell Group 
and others.
A Carousel of Life where painted ponies go up and down in the Circle Game.

Connect Circle Game Recordings:

An original article.
Google images and gif.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

CIRCLE GAME, lyrics change in meaning as we remember songs from the 60's.
Do you think so?
Check out JONI MITCHELL's lovely game.
Her birthday's on November 7th. Happy birthday.


Hi Andy

Each time you turn around things change and before long you are young no more, life has floated by and in my current age time seems to rocket by.


ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Very true, Michael.
Thanks for your very positive comment. We just carry on until...

Hi Jimmy.
Thanks. And my dear Ms Koh.
Terima kaseh. Apa khabar berdua?
One in England, yang satu lagi di Malaysia.
My what a world we live in.


I like the Circle Game but alas we cannot turn back the clock.
This song was sung wonderfully by Agnes Chan.


I was 32 when I happened to get Agnes Chan's "The Circle Game" record at a flea market In Chinatown SG. And the boy is 69, many springs and summers have gone now.

And it's Autumn that tells me I am captive on the carousel of time.

ANDY: Pop Music Not Pills. © said...

Thanks Stephen and Hiroshi for your comments and personal experience with the song.
Yes I have a few copies of Agnes Chan's CIRCLE GAME.
She does have a bit of a high pitched voice.