Song Lyrics

Urge For Going

by Joni Mitchell

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I awoke today and found
the frost perched on the town
It hovered in a frozen sky
then it gobbled summer down
When the sun turns traitor cold
and all the trees are shivering in a naked row

I get the urge for going
But I never seem to go
I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

I had me a man in summertime
He had summer-colored skin
And not another girl in town
My darling's heart could win
But when the leaves fell on the ground
Bully winds came around
Pushed them face down in the snow

He got the urge for going
And I had to let him go
He got the urge for going
When the meadow grass was turning brown
Summertime was falling down and winter was closing in

Now the warriors of winter
They gave a cold triumphant shout
And all that stays is dying
And all that lives is gettin' out
See the geese in chevron flight
Flapping and racing on before the snow

They got the urge for going
And they got the wings so they can go
They get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
Summertime is falling down and winter is closing in

I'll ply the fire with kindling now
I'll pull the blankets up to my chin
I'll lock the vagrant winter out and
I'll bolt my wanderings in
I'd like to call back summertime
Have her stay for just another month or so

But she's got the urge for going
So I guess she'll have to go
She gets the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
All her empire's falling down
And winter's closing in.
And I get the urge for going
When the meadow grass is turning brown
And summertime is falling down.

© 1966; Siquomb Publishing Company

Footnotes to Urge For Going

Joni introduced the song this way on November 15, 1966 at the Wisdom Tooth:

"I had a request to do this song. It has been recorded as a single by a friend of mine by the name of Tom Rush and it’s available in the area. I like to plug it because I get royalties on the song of course. I think he does it very nicely. It’s a song that was inspired by the part of the country that I come from, a place called Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which really isn’t a disease although I’ve seen it in some medical journals. The Saskatoon itch and all that kind of stuff. You get that from picking Saskatoon berries.

In Saskatoon or in Saskatchewan – or on the prairies for that matter, that includes the American prairies - the winters and the summers are very radical with the temperature varying as much as 150 degrees in a season. So when the winter sets in it really sets in and drops down to about 50 below and all the people sit around and complain a lot, but they never really do anything about it. Some people think that they’re frozen stiff but that’s not really true. They just complain and say “I wish I was in Florida" and the farmers and the people who are wealthy enough do go down to Florida or some island for the winter. But then the rest of us poor old common folk up there have to sit and suffer through.

And that was what I had in mind when I wrote this song but I think it means different things to different people. It’s call the Urge for Going."

Guitar Transcriptions of Urge For Going

Piano Transcriptions of Urge For Going

Urge For Going has been recorded by 86 others

  • A Bird That Whistles (from "A Bird That Whistles" - 1996)
  • Adams, Julie  (from "Julie Adams & The Mountain Stage Band - Live" - 1997) [buy at Amazon]
  • Agranoff, Mike  (from "Straight Lines" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Barwick, Bill (from "Cowboys, Liars and Lovers " - 1993)
  • Bikel, Theo  (from "A New Day" - 1969)
  • Bilides, Sophia (from "Winter Warm" - 2006)
  • Black, Mary (from "Babes in the Wood" - 1991)
  • Bloom, Luka  (from "Keeper of the Flame" - 2000)
  • Bradley, Sharon (from "Hello In There" - 1982)
  • Brown, Erinn (from "Road Signs to the Sun" - 1999)
  • Brown, Suzie (from "Heartstrings" - 2012)
  • Burhenn, Laura (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2009)
  • Cantor, David  (from "Songs Of Now And Then" - 2007)
  • Cat Sank Trio (from "The Bean Project" - 2003)
  • Chupity, Lisa (from "Grow Your Own" - 2009)
  • Circle 'round the Sun (- )
  • Claire, Kathryn  (from "Shimmering Blue" - 2014)
  • Colvin, Shawn  (from "(Live - unreleased)" - 1975)
  • Courage Of Lassie (from "This Side Of Heaven" - 1994)
  • Cox, Danny (from "Sunny" - )
  • Dan Aitken And Friends (from "Ireland In Our Hearts" - 2004)
  • David Crosby & Graham Nash (from "Crosby, Stills & Nash " - 1991)
  • Dean, Christopher (from "Shenandoah" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • DeCotiis, Katherine (- )
  • Eddie Nuenning & Lara Schallenberg (from "From A Wooden House" - 2007)
  • Foehammer (from "(45 Single)" - 1970)
  • Foiled Again (from "Blanket of Winter" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Hamill, Claire  (from "One House Left Standing" - 1971)
  • Hamilton IV, George (from "Folksy" - 1967)
  • Hasson, Gemma (from "Looking For the Morning" - 1975)
  • Hazlewood, Lee (from "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" - 1973)
  • Holstein, Fred (from "Live At The Earl Of Old Town" - 2007)
  • Hot Toddy (from "Craic (Good Times)" - )
  • Jordan, Bob (from "The Country That Never Was" - 2010)
  • Kaffenberger, Bill  (from "This World Is Bound To Fall" - 2005)
  • Kennedy (from "Classic Kennedy" - 1999)
  • Kuhr, Lenny (from "De Zomer Achterna" - 1972)
  • Lawsing, Courtney (- )
  • Lee, Robin (from "45 Single" - 1968)
  • Loconsolo-Taylor, Kathy (- )
  • Lovett, Marcus (from "Marcus Lovett, Where is Love?" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Lydia Fortune & Company (from "All Over The Map" - 2003)
  • MacNeil, Madeline  (from "As Time Goes By" - 2000)
  • Malloy, R.J.  (from "Liars, Crooks & Felons" - 2007)
  • Martin, Charlotte (from "Reproductions" - 2007)
  • Miller, Jody (from "The Nashville Sound of Jody Miller" - 1968)
  • Moon, Lynsey  (from "Okay, One More & That's It" - 2012)
  • Morian, Marge (from "The Nameless Coffeehouse Strike 2" - 1969)
  • Moseley, Phil  (from "Songs That Go Think in the Night" - 2014)
  • Murphy's Law (from "Red Rose Cafe" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • Nelson, Ron (- )
  • R. Michael Torrey (from "Past Lives And Present Follies" - 2000)
  • Raphaël Imbert, Marion Rampal, Pierre Fenichel, Paul Elwwod (from "The Alppalachians" - 2014)
  • Restless Wind (- 2003)
  • Rice, Tony (from "Native American" - 1988)
  • Roberts, Terry (from "Got the Urge For Goin..." - )
  • Robin & Linda Williams (from "Back 40" - 2013)
  • Rothenberg, Jeff (from "It's Time" - 2015) [buy at Amazon]
  • Rush, Tom (from "The Circle Game" - 1968)
  • Rush, Tom (from "New Year, Live At Symphony Hall" - 1982)
  • Rush, Tom (from "45 RPM Single" - 1966)
  • Sauce (from "Waiting For Godiva" - 2002)
  • Sciaky, Carla (from "In Between" - 1985)
  • Scott, Darrell (from "Modern Hymns" - 2008)
  • Seanachie (from "Telling Tales" - 1996)
  • Shane (from "A Natural Man" - 1970)
  • Side By Side (from "Best of Side By Side" - )
  • Smith, Kathryn (from "With Every Breath I Take" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • Soden, Bill (from "(45 single)" - )
  • Steele, Jae C. (from "Covering Ground" - 2012)
  • Suzanne M. Sheridan & And the Suzanne Sheridan Band (from "Suzanne Sheridan Sings the Music of Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen" - 2012)
  • The Bards (from "Time For The Bards" - 1971)
  • The Dog Run Boys (from "Fresh Tracks" - 1997)
  • The Johnstons (from "Give A Damn" - 1968)
  • The Loons (from "You Draw Me In" - 2000)
  • The P.D.U.S.M. (from "(45 single)" - 1967)
  • Theriot, Lisa (from "Turning Of Seasons" - 2001)
  • Toran, Arthur (- )
  • Townsend, John (from "All Kinds Of Everything Vol. 2" - 1977)
  • Travis (from "Why Does It Always Rain On Me (CD-Single)" - 1999)
  • Tribe (from "The Gathering" - 2002)
  • Van Ronk, Dave (from "Van Ronk" - 1971)
  • Vertisi, Janet (- )
  • Whiteley, Ken (from "Another Day's Journey" - 2010)
  • Whyton, Wally  (from "It's Me, Mum" - 1968)
  • Wundrock, Tracy (from "Sea Dreams - A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" - 2013)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]

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