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This song appears on the album 'Clouds'

This song appears on the album 'The World of Joni Mitchell'

This song appears on the album 'Hits'

This song appears on the album 'The Studio Albums, 1968-1979'

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Chelsea Morning

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window
And the traffic wrote the words
It came ringing up like Christmas bells
And rapping up like pipes and drums

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
And we'll wear it 'till the night comes

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I saw
Was the sun through yellow curtains
And a rainbow on the wall *
Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you
Crimson crystal beads to beckon

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
There's a sun show every second

Now the curtain opens on a portrait of today
And the streets are paved with passersby
And pigeons fly
And papers lie
Waiting to blow away

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I knew
There was milk and toast and honey
And a bowl of oranges, too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch
And stuck to all my senses

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
And we'll talk in present tenses

When the curtain closes
And the rainbow runs away
I will bring you incense
Owls by night
By candlelight
By jewel-light
If only you will stay
Pretty baby, won't you
Wake up, it's a Chelsea morning


© 1969; Siquomb Publishing Company

Additional information:

*Footnotes

Rainbow on the wall: According to Karen O'Brien's Joni Mitchell: Shadows and Light "the upbeat pop-ish "Chelsea Morning" [was] written during a visit to Philadelphia, after Mitchell and a group of women who were working in a club where she was performing had found chunks of brightly coloured glass discarded in an alleyway. They collected the glass and took it home to create mobiles with copper wire and coat hangers. Mitchell took hers back to New York and hung it in the window of her small apartment in Chelsea; when the glass caught the sunlight, the colours shimmered around the walls." (p. 97)

However, Joni tells a different story. At her October 12, 1967 show at Philadelphia's 2nd Fret, she talks about buying stained glass windows for $5 apiece from a building that was being torn down and taking them with her wherever she moved. In her concert at the White Swan in Leicester in September of 1967, Joni paired this song with Come to the Sunshine. In her introduction to "Chelsea Morning" she says "This is my Chelsea Song. It's also full of morning and rainbows and much the same things because it was inspired it was inspired by the same set of stained glass windows only I moved them into a New York apartment. But it could be Chelsea in London. After I moved to New York, I spent a lot of time on a street called Bleecker Street, and on Bleecker Street is a theatre called the Garrick Theatre, and in the Garrick theatre are the Mothers of Invention. And, uh, they're coming over pretty soon. So this is Chelsea Morning, rainbow sunshine song influenced slightly by the Mothers of Invention." 

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Guitar Transcriptions of Chelsea Morning

Chelsea Morning has been recorded by 103 others

A Bird That Whistles (from "A Bird That Whistles" - 1996)
Amy B (- 2007)
Aya Collette Band (from "Bootleg, Vol. 1 (Live at Penguin House)" - 1999)
Barr, Walter (from "Artful Dancer" - 1980)
Benton, Tim (from "Scenes from a Well-Spent Youth" - 2013)
Big Yellow Taxi (from "The Music of Joni Mitchell (Demo)" - 2002)
Big Yellow Taxi (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2002)
Blackwood, Haris  (from "Gentle Ride" - 2002)
Brimstone, Derek (from "Derek Brimstone's Cheapo Album" - )
Burns, Andrea (from "A Deeper Shade of Red" - 2007)
Butel, Mitchell (from "Killing Time - Live in Concert" - 2012)
Call, Marian (from "Vanilla" - 2007)
Chappell Kingsland (from "this 'n' that" - )
Chelsea (from "Chelsea Morning" - 1998)
Chew, Peggy (from "Real Days" - 1999)
Collins, Judy (from "Living" - 1971)
Collins, Judy (from "(45 single version)" - 1969)
Colvin, Shawn & Mary Chapin-Carpenter (from "An All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell (TV Broadcast)" - 2000)
Connexion (from "Connexion" - 1982)
Cornelia (from "Don't Forget To Remember" - 1970)
Cowsill, Susan w/Robert Mache (from "PazFest - The New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell at the Howlin' Wolf" - 2002)
d'Armand, Jeannette (from "Stage Road" - 2009)
Diamond, Neil (from "Stones" - 1971)
Elly's Band (from "First Light" - 2010)
Elsmore, Theresa (- )
Esther (from "live recording" - )
Fairchild,Maria (from "Celebration" - 2009)
Fairport Convention (from "Fairport Convention" - 1968)
Family Four (from "Picknick" - 1972)
Fox, Lauren (from "Love, Lust, Fear & Freedom: The Songs of Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen" - 2013)
Frisyr I London (- 2004)
Gannon, Kris (from "Songs I Wish I'd Written" - 2002)
Gardner, Hilary  (from "The Great City" - 2014)
Gould, Terry (from "Several Kinds Of Loving" - 1969)
Green Lyte Sunday (from "Green Lyte Sunday" - 1970)
Hall, Jane (from "You Sing The Hits Of Joni Mitchell" - 1989)
Hansson, Kjell  (from "Dig" - 1974)
Hartman, JoAnne (from "and Her Name is JoAnne" - )
Henning Olsen Band (from "A Tribute Minus Mitchell" - 2004)
Hickman, Sara (from "Faithful Heart" - 2002)
Hiltz, Sarah (from "Til The Sun Falls" - 2013)
Horn, Paul (from "Visions" - 1974)
Jibe Project (from "Interpretations of 9" - 2002)
Kato, Asuka (from "Sunday Morning" - 2007)
Kohl, Roane, Fitzgerald (from "Three Windows" - 1998)
Kruskamp, Jenifer (from "Jenifer Kruskamp With Bobby Peaco At The Piano" - 2003)
Leora Cashe & The Ross Taggart Trio  (from "Another Side Now - The Songs of Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
Lindquist, Anki (from "Anki ennen aurinkoa" - 1972)
Loring, Gloria  (from "(45 single)" - )
Lucy, Corinne (- 2007)
Luker, Rebecca (from "Leaving Home" - 2004)
Lundell, Ulf (from "Preskriberade Romanser 1978-1988" - 1992)
Mainstreet (from "Mainstreet" - )
Malone, Erin (from "Cliff Jones Presents Six People Singing Songs by Cliff Jones and Other People" - 1970)
Martel, Joy (from "(45 Single)" - )
McConnell, Rob and the Boss Brass (from "On A Cool Day" - )
McGarry, Kate (from "Mercy Street" - 2005)
McNeill, Sylvia (from "45 Single" - 1970)
Mendes, Sergio & Brasil '66 (from "Stillness" - 1970)
Mendes, Sergio and Brasil '77 (from "In Concert" - 1973)
Meyer, Lili (from "North Toronto Collegiate Institute Presents Maytime Melodies 1971" - 1971)
Molly Venter with Strings Attached (from "Strings on Grass 9​.​26​.​14 " - 2014)
Montgomery, Marion & Richard Rodney Bennett (from "Surprise, Surprise" - 1977)
Morley, Bob (from "Songman" - )
Nereide (from "Nereide sings Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
New Dream (from "New Dream" - 1973)
O'Connor, Jeanne  (from "Something's Coming" - 2007)
Page, Ricky (from "Your Song" - 1981)
Pete Murray Orchestra (from "Starborne Limited Edition #45" - 2008)
Rees, Rose Mary (from "12" Single (Yellow Mix)" - )
Rees, Rose Mary (from "12" - )
Sally Barker - Joni Mitchell Project (from "Conversation: The Joni Tapes" - 2010)
Shaw, Ian (from "Drawn To All Things" - 2006)
Singers Unlimited (from "Singers Unlimited w/Rob McConnell & The Boss Brass" - 1978)
Somers & Co (from "Summer Plans" - )
Susan & Fran (from "Evergreenes" - 1968)
Suzanne (from "Oh Suzanne" - )
Suzanne M. Sheridan & And the Suzanne Sheridan Band (from "Suzanne Sheridan Sings the Music of Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen" - 2012)
Take Five (from "Take Five" - 1970)
Tavi, Liisa (from "Liisa Tavi" - 1979)
Taylor, Stephanie (from "I Don't Know Where I Stand" - 1970)
The Carol Hamersma Trio (from "Out of My Head" - 2001)
The Munz (from "Happy End Cover Box" - )
The Nick Ingman Orchestra (from "1" - 2011)
The Practicers (from "Smooth & Raw" - 2000)
The Red Bloods (from "Cash Box Top 12" - )
The Red Letter Redemption (- )
The Sands Of Time (from "The Sands Of Time" - )
The Sonneteers (from "In The Mood" - 1979)
The Soul Mutation (from "The Soul Mutation" - 2014)
The Sound Arrangement (from "Live at the Reuben E. Lee" - 1972)
The Tindalls (from "Family Album" - 2005)
The Wise Girls (from "Festival Folk Sing Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
Tom & Judy (from "Make Someone Happy" - )
Torrini, Emilliana  (from "Merman" - 1996)
Valentino, Pat (from "Morningsongs" - 1997)
van Berkum, Leslie (from "Leslie van Berkum" - 2003)
Van Ronk, Dave (from "Dave Van Ronk And The Hudson Dusters" - 1968)
Warnes, Jennifer (from "...I Can Remember Everything" - 1969)
Whim 'n Rhythm (from "Whim 'n Rhythm" - 1986)
Will Taylor And Strings Attached (from "Back To The Garden - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
Willey, Ralph Martin  (from "Came Upon A Child of God" - 2000)
Woodstock (- 2008)
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Comments on Chelsea Morning

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suzylizette on 2012-Jun-11 at 10:26:35 GMT-5:
Such a happy song, with gorgeous, colorful lyrics!!
LizKay2010 on 2010-May-28 at 14:17:37 GMT-5:
Yet another classic!