Anonymous asked in Entertainment & MusicMusic · 1 decade ago

What do these lyrics mean from Joni Mitchell?

What do the lyrics "Late last night, I heard the screen door slam, and a big yellow taxi took away my old man." mean?

I can understand most of it, but is old man referring to her boyfriend or her father?


6 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    [1] In the song's final verse, the political gives way to the personal, as Mitchell recounts the departure of a lover in the "big yellow taxi" of the title.


    'Big Yellow Taxi" is a song originally written and performed by Joni Mitchell.

    Mitchell got the idea for the song during a visit to Hawaii. She looked out of her hotel window at the spectacular Pacific mountain scenery, and then down to a parking lot. [1] The song is known for its environmental statement (as assumed from the lyric "paved paradise to put up a parking lot") and sentimental sound. The line, "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot" refers to the destruction of the Garden of Allah, a silent-movie era Hollywood hotel renowned for its rowdy celebration parties.[citation needed] The line, "Took all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum/And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em" refers to Foster Botanical Garden in downtown Honolulu, which is a living museum of tropical plants, some rare and endangered. [1] In the song's final verse, the political gives way to the personal, as Mitchell recounts the departure of a lover in the "big yellow taxi" of the title.

    The song was first put out as a single and then was put on the album Ladies of the Canyon in 1970; a later live version was released in 1975 and reached #24 on the U.S. charts. Mitchell's playful closing lyrics has made the song the most identifiable in her repertoire, still receiving significant airplay in Canada. In 2005, it was voted #9 on CBC's list of the top 50 essential Canadian tracks.

  • 4 years ago

    Screen Door Lyrics

  • 1 decade ago

    The way I looked at it had something to do with the following verse. "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone." In relating the "old man" (her boyfriend) this made the song appeal to a wider audience and it didn't seem quite as ecologically protesting as it might have otherwise. I hope this helps you. "Old man" was a common slang term for a boyfriend at the time.

  • 6 years ago

    i think it means, that eventually commercialism will be the death of us, and if we don t realize what we are doing by paving parking lots in forests and using pesticides we will end up dead. the yellow taxi and screen doors of a is the picture of city, metropolitan or some suburbia. people are living in a disposable lifestyle that eventually will lead to / already has led to the destruction of the environment. don t know what weve got til its gone, meaning we wont see it or do anything about it until its too late to do anything, the cheeriness of the song kind of emphasizes how passive we are about it. sugar coating what is actually happening around us.

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  • Cheryl
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    I think it refers to her husband in either a divorce or going off to war.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    well, I suggest you read them at and make your own mind up what it means to you.

    It will have the words and who all recorded it there.

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