How Joni Mitchell broke up with David Crosby by singing him a song

Originally published at: How Joni Mitchell broke up with David Crosby by singing him a song | Boing Boing


David! You cheated on Joni Mitchell? What the f@ck is wrong with you?


Slightly off topic, but that has to be the ugliest hat I’ve ever seen.


“She is, arguably the best singer-songwriter of our times.”

Joni is rarely my first choice when playing music, but I’d have to agree with this. As astonishing as Blue is, she has had a lot more to give and her subsequent albums are masterpieces as well, though I’m not even going to pretend to know her entire vast catalog.

She is also a profoundly talented artist and many of her album covers were self-created.


You don’t need psychic powers to know that the guy who wrote “Triad” might possibly sneak around on you.

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I still look at the cover of the CSNY hits LP and am impressed with the simple but evocative design. Like Matisse she uses only a few quick lines and yet you can see each member of the band.



For more stories like this I can’t recommend the Epix series Laurel Canyon highly enough:

And the film Echo in the Canyon:


Oh wow, I didn’t even realize that was her as well. She worked in lots of different media to great effect. Superb talent.

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“I heard Joni Mitchell wrote a song to break up with you. Let me play it for you. Isn’t it great?”

David Crosby is being a remarkably good sport.

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“No regrets, coyote. We just come from such different sets of circumstance”.
Someone should make a compilation of all the songs Joni wrote about former lovers.


Someone taking offense at a loved one finding pleasure in others seems very un-hippy to me…

But seriously, Joni is a special character. I struggle to think of an artist I love and respect more despite their body of work resonating so little with my particular taste.


I got’a box full of those.

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Maybe you meant this as a joke… but… If people made the choice to have an open relationship, that’s one thing. If people are going around behind other’s backs, that’s quite another. It’s a shit thing to do to lie to someone like that. That seems far more “un-hippy” than not liking being lied to. :woman_shrugging: And far too many hippy dudes thought that free love meant that they could sneak around on their partners while expecting them to fulfill all the traditional roles women were forced into in the straight world.


Free love babe, enjoy the herpes, and I still expect my laundry done!


Part joke but mainly some reasoning I came to when coming to terms with finding myself in Joni’s position (never been in David’s before).

The hurt from a cheating lover I’ve found to be somewhat odd and hard to justify - particularly for open-minded individuals.

In some ways the injury of the “injured party” can feel somewhat self-inflicted (hurt caused may be largely unintentional) and can be linked to dodgy ideas of jeasously or loss related to ownership.

It hurts to be lied to, for whatever reason, from a trusted partner. Being in a monogamous relationship is a choice, not being “closed minded”. It’s what people feel comfortable with and what they want out of a partner. If people make the promise to do that, and then DON’T, then yes, it’s very much a betrayal, because you’re breaking a promise made to someone you said you loved. Jealously and loss are REAL feelings, felt by REAL people.

And as I said… this “open relationship hippy stuff” often ended up with women STILL having less freedom, less choices, and the same responsibilities as any 1950s housewife. Not all, but many. We know this, because women who were in the counter culture and in various social movements in the 1960s talked about how that happened to them. :woman_shrugging:


Right!? Maybe people shouldn’t found relationships around denying their emotional needs… including a need for trust and stability. That’s not closed-minded, it’s just honest. A relationship without honesty is going to be dysfunctional.


Yes. Women are asked to do this on the regular. To cater to and care for others, while neglecting what we need. Being in an open relationship is not some instant fix to that and comes with it’s own struggles and baggage. Open relationships can be great, but they can be just as toxic as monogamous ones and they are not for everyone.


Exactly. And that’s ok. Honestly anyone who tries to manipulate others into denying their own pain and feeling guilty about having emotional needs and wants is a bad partner whether the relationship is open or not. That’s just bog standard emotional abuse.


mood GIF

Wrap it up in whatever pretty language you want to justify it, but this is still what’s happening.