"…work in between the cracks, where the voice starts dancing, where the body starts singing, where theater becomes cinema…"

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell – River

“I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long , I would teach my feet to fly”

Joni Mitchell

Canada: Joni Mitchell – River

“It’s coming on Christmas

They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

But it don’t snow here
It stays pretty green
I’m going to make a lot of money
Then I’m going to quit this crazy scene
Oh I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I made my baby cry

He tried hard to help me
You know, he put me at ease
And he loved me so naughty
Made me weak in the knees
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on

I’m so hard to handle
I’m selfish and I’m sad
Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on

Oh, I wish I had a river so long
I would teach my feet to fly
I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
I made my baby say goodbye

It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace
I wish I had a river I could skate away on”

© 1970; Joni Mitchell

River is a song by Joni Mitchell, from her 1971 album Blue. Although never released as a single, it has become one of Mitchell’s most famous songs.

In the song, Mitchell ruminates on the recent breakup of a romantic relationship. Christmas is nearing, and Mitchell longs to escape her emotional bonds, openly wishing “I wish I had a river / I could skate away on”, a river so long she “would teach my feet to fly.” Furthermore, Mitchell’s Canadian past is reflected upon, as her current warm (presumably Californian) climate does not offer her that ice or that chance. It is used in the 2000 film Almost Famous and in episodes of Alias, thirtysomething, The Wonder Years, and ER.

Keeping with the Christmas theme of the lyrics, the arrangement of the song on Blue (and on many other covers of the song) starts with a theme reminiscent of “Jingle Bells”, and this theme figures several times throughout the accompaniment.