Song Lyrics

Free Man In Paris

by Joni Mitchell

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The way I see it he said
You just can't win it
Everybody's in it for their own gain
You can't please 'em all
There's always somebody calling you down
I do my best
And I do good business
There's a lot of people asking for my time
They're trying to get ahead
They're trying to be a good friend of mine

I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song

I deal in dreamers
And telephone screamers
Lately I wonder what I do it for
If l had my way
I'd just walk through those doors
And wander
Down the Champs Elysées *
Going cafe to cabaret
Thinking how I'll feel when I find
That very good friend of mine

I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favors
No one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song

© 1973; Crazy Crow Music

Footnotes to Free Man In Paris

Champs Elysées
The Champs Elysées (Elysian fields) were originally nothing but fields, until Marie de Medicis decided in 1616 to put up a long tree-lined pathway. In 1667, Le Notre extended the vista of the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysees became a very fashionable place to walk. In 1724, the avenue was extended up to Chaillot hill, now the site of the Arc de Triomphe and the Etoile.

The actual avenue of the Champs-Elysées did not become city property until 1828, when they added footpaths and fountains. They also added gas lighting at this time.

Today, the Champs Elysées is one of the most famous streets in the world, with its cinemas, cafés, and luxury specialty shops. This special status made it the site of much growth and activity. At the very heart of Paris, it is one of the most symbolic places in the city, representative of its spirit and glory.

The glamour of the Champs-Élysées, particularly its upper end, may not be quite what it was, dominated as it is by airline offices, car showrooms, and bright, light shopping arcades. But there's still the Lido cabaret, Fouquet's high-class bar and restaurant, and plenty of cinemas and outrageously priced cafes to bring the punters in. At Christmas this is where the fairy lights go, and on December 31 everyone happily jams in, in their cars, to hoot in the New Year.

The new landscaping project has removed the avenue's side lanes where cars used to prowl in search of parking spaces, and now pedestrians have an equal share of the avenue's width, with shade from more trees. cultural centers, deluxe hotels and other activities that participate in the tradition and prestige of the Champs-Elysees are encouraged to return by the municipality.

The stretch between the Rond-Point roundabout - whose Lalique glass fountains disappeared during the German occupation -and Concorde is bordered by chestnut trees and municipal flower beds, pleasant enough to stroll among, but not sufficiently dense to muffle the squeal of accelerating tyres. The two massive buildings rising above the greenery to the south are the Grand and Petit Palais, with their overloaded Neoclassical exteriors, rail station roofs and exuberant flying statuary. They house a number of museums and the Grand Palais is the address for major cultural exhibitions, curtailed at the moment due to major restoration works.

On the north side, combat police guard the high walls round the presidential Elysee palace and the line of ministries and embassies ending with the US in prime position on the corner of place de la Concorde. On Thursdays and at weekends you can see a stranger manifestation of the self-images of states in the postage stamp market at the corner of avenues Gabriel and Marigny.

Guitar Transcriptions of Free Man In Paris

Free Man In Paris has been recorded by 63 others

  • A Bird That Whistles (from "A Bird That Whistles" - 1996)
  • Alvarez, Guada (from "Homenaje a Joni Mitchell IX Festival Ondas de Jazz en la cuidad" - 2015)
  • Baker, Cheryl  (from "Cheryl Sings Joni" - 2017)
  • Big Faith (from "Back To The Garden" - 1992)
  • Big Yellow (- 2016)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2002)
  • Black Crow (- 2010)
  • Blue Tapestry (from "Blue Tapestry" - 2002)
  • Bruce Isaacson with Red Seidman (from "Live at the Hog's Breath Saloon Key West" - 2003)
  • CCRobin (from "The Last CCRobin Tapes" - 1998)
  • Chappell Kingsland (from "this 'n' that" - )
  • Colvin, Shawn  (from "(unreleased live performance)" - )
  • Count Zero (from "Affluenza" - 1996)
  • Del Paggio, Marcelo (from "Completa Luz " - 2003)
  • Diachun, Melody (from "Eq" - 2008)
  • Diamond, Neil  (from "I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight" - 1977)
  • Diane Rosenthal, Dave Egelhofer, & Deeme Katson (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2009)
  • Doug Organ Trio (from "Doug Organ Trio" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • Eden, Joanna (from "Joni & Me" - 2016)
  • Engling, Gail  (from "Just Because..." - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Ford, Kimberly (from "A Celebration of Joni Mitchell" - 2015)
  • Graham Blvd (from "Chartbusters 1974" - 2008)
  • Henning Olsen Band (from "A Tribute Minus Mitchell" - 2004)
  • Inside Out Jazz (from "Live At CJ's" - 2008)
  • Isaacson, Bruce (from "All I Wanna Be Is Me" - 2010)
  • Jazzbum/Daniel Davison (from "Impressions" - 2001)
  • John, Elton (from "A Case Of Joni" - 2000)
  • Jojo (from "Agape" - 2012)
  • Jolize (from "North Spur" - 2004)
  • Kennedy, Brian (from "A Love Letter To Joni" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • King, Jonathon (from "A Rose In A Fisted Glove" - 1975)
  • Lagan, Mandy (from "The Joni Book I" - 2016)
  • Lewis, Al (from "The Covers EP Vol.1" - 2013)
  • Miller, Betsy  (from "Becology" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • Milne, Andy (from "New Age of Aquarius" - 1999) [buy at Amazon]
  • Olympia (- 2016)
  • Phish (- 2010)
  • Pizzarelli, John (from "Double Exposure" - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Rachel Z Trio (from "Moon At The Window" - 2002)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue & Court And Spark - Live At Dizzy's" - 2011)
  • Rossio, Carol  (from "Pardon My French" - 2011) [buy at Amazon]
  • Scattergood, Liz (- )
  • Scott, Jennifer  (from "Emotional Girl" - 2005)
  • Sessoms, Vivian (from "The Songs of Joni Mitchell: A Soulful Tribute" - 2017) [buy at Amazon]
  • Slean, Sarah (- 2007)
  • Steve Shapiro/Pat Bergeson (from "Backward Compatible" - 2008)
  • Stevens, Sufjan (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
  • Susan Cowsill Band (from "Live at Carrollton Station Covered in Vinyl Series Vol. 1" - 2007)
  • Sutton, Tierney  (from "After Blue" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • The Acoustic Guitar Troubadours (from "Acoustic Instrumental Memories" - 2009) [buy at Amazon]
  • The Big Wu (- )
  • The Cardinal Sinners (from "Live From Crowell!" - 1992)
  • The Mighty Avalanche Choir (from "Great Wizard version 2" - 1976)
  • The Rhythm Method (from "Immaculate Contraception" - )
  • The Sound Effects (from "Autumn '74" - 1974)
  • Thorpe, Billy (from "Solo (The Last Recordings)" - 2007)
  • Tincher, Jeff (from "All I Want" - 2015) [buy at Amazon]
  • Tom Lum Forest (from "The Roots of Happiness" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Venice (from "Brunch Buffet" - 2016) [buy at Amazon]
  • Vrony & Support (- )
  • White, Jay (from "Beautiful Noise (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" - 2011)
  • Winchell, Jimmy (from "Jimmy Winchell Gives You The Business" - 2000)
  • Young, Adrienne (from "Room to Grow" - 2007)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]

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