Song Lyrics

People's Parties

by Joni Mitchell

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All the people at this party
They've got a lot of style
They've got stamps of many countries
They've got passport smiles
Some are friendly
Some are cutting
Some are watching it from the wings
Some are standing in the centre
Giving to get something

Photo beauty gets attention
Then her eye paint's running down
She's got a rose in her teeth
And a lampshade crown
One minute she's so happy
Then she's crying on someone's knee
Saying laughing and crying
You know it's the same release

I told you when I met you
I was crazy
Cry for us all beauty
Cry for Eddie in the corner
Thinking he's nobody
And Jack behind his joker
And stone-cold Grace behind her fan
And me in my frightened silence
Thinking I don't understand

I feel like I'm sleeping
Can you wake me
You seem to have a broader sensibility
I'm just living on nerves and feelings
With a weak and a lazy mind
And coming to peoples parties
Fumbling deaf dumb and blind

I wish I had more sense of humor
Keeping the sadness at bay
Throwing the lightness on these things
Laughing it all away
Laughing it alI away
Laughing it all away

© November 28, 1973; Crazy Crow Music


Joni introduced the song this way on March 5, 1974 in Anaheim:

This’s a song about a party. This’s a strange kind of party -it was in a room with mirrors on the ceilings and on the floors and the walls. And it was a candlelit supper actually so like with all of this reflection going on it was almost like intergalactic travel you know. Plus like to add to the the spacey feeling of the room all of the chairs were transparent. And the tables clear plastic and the plates were clear and the chopsticks were transparent. And they served white wine and wonton soup without the wontons. Towards the end of the evening I got the feeling that I was sort of transparent. I’d been smiling so much at everybody all night that I was had the charlie horses in my cheeks and it seemed like everybody was trying so hard you know.

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Transcriptions of People's Parties

People's Parties has been recorded by 29 other artists


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docgrass on

I had read somewhere that Joni wrote this during the time she was with Warren Beatty and attending some parties with a lot of Hollywood folks. It mentioned Jack Nicholson as the "Jack" mentioned here and I find it amazing that Joni references "his joker" since he actually ended up playing the Joker in Batman (1989), about 16 years in the future! Well, I don't know if any of that is true, only Joni would, but I am very intrigued if it is.

kiwi on

A Masterpiece!