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Joni Mitchell -- Both Sides Now Paperback – June 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Sanctuary Publishing (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860741606
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860741609
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 1.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,333,453 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

1.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By rdale@erisco.imshealth.com on January 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's ironic (and perhaps moronic) that Hinton should choose none other than Joni Mitchell as a subject for a biography. Not only is Mitchell one of the most gifted and literate songwriters of the 20th Century, she is also one of the most iconoclastic, as well...shunning publicity that most 'rock stars' consume with a spoon. And its these circumstances which point out the failings in this dismal read: Hinton can't write and what he has written are quotes of Mitchell herself when she has deigned to submit to personal interviews. It's appalling that the publisher went ahead with such a shoddy and thoroughly uninformative book about one of the great pop icons of our century.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 28, 1998
Format: Paperback
Brian Hinton's Both Sides Now is a complete disaster. What could have been a promising biography of Mitchell is instead a garbled mess. Indeed, Hinton's text is relatively void of biographical information. Rather, Hinton relies on a handfull of interviews published of Mitchell's, and he quotes from them in such large chunks that the reader would be the wiser to check out the interviews from their sources. Following a brief, and flawed, biographical section, Hinton uses the rest of the text as a forum for his interpretations of Mitchell's work. Album by album, song by song, Hinton gives his own personal commentary on Mitchell's music so that the text ends up reading like a diary of Hinton's own personal reflections. Moreover, Hinton's analysis of Mitchell's songs are sometimes so off-base and confusing that the reader is left wondering how he comes to these conclusions. Finally, his constant personal comments in the text make it seen like nothing more than a high school writing assignment.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By MR R J KNOTT on August 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Being a long-time fan of Joni, I approached this book with interest but quickly realised I should adopt caution. Not only was it constantly repetitive... (yes, you just told us the opening song of the tour gigs two pages ago!)... but it was full of contradictions: so who WAS Carly Simon's "You're so vain" written about? Most embarrassing of all was the author's misunderstanding of the American term "suspenders" (the British equivalent is "braces" - i.e. elastic supports for men's trousers (pants)).. and thus wrongly accused James Taylor of being a cross-dresser! And as for the 1996 report that Joni gave birth at the age of 52 in 1996.... really?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
Because Hinton's is the first Joni Mitchell biography I've digested, I was hoping for something that didn't leave a cheap, plastic taste in my mouth. The known parts of her life that are inspiring to me were reduced to banal fodder mentioned in passing, while darker aspects became reasons for the author to step up to her vehement defense--these outbursts were nauseating and usually at the expense of someone else, leaving many questions largely unresolved. Hinton tends to shuffle back and forth between regurgitation of objective fact and jarring personal opinion. Incidentally, I like what one reviewer said about this book reading "like a last-minute book report". The fact that he completely destroys my favorite JM album in his woefully amaturish musical critiques doesn't help either. This book does not do justice to an artist such as Mitchell.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
For those of us who feel that Joni Mitchell is the world's greatest living artist, AND the greatest Canadian who's ever lived, this book would seem to be a must-read. Sadly, this biography contains so many errors, both in fact and typography, that any longtime fan of Joni's will become annoyed fairly quickly. All of which is not to say that Ms. Mitchell's legion of fans will not enjoy reading Brian Hinton's effort. Joni makes for a fascinating subject, and her life has been as full of incident as any celebrity's out there. Still, one turns the last page of this book feeling that there should've been more; that we still don't know what makes Joni "tick"; that there are huge gaps that have gone unrecorded. Mr. Hinton, having been limited, schoolboy fashion, by what the libraries and old publications could provide, and not having done ANY original interviews himself, sheds no light on Joni that hasn't been shed before. He merely provides the useful service of compiling dozens of old articles and interviews and putting them together in a nice, readable order. And while it is always interesting to hear another Mitchell fan's views on her work, Hinton's interpretations, while at times dead-on and insightful, are often strained and ludicrous. (Are we really to believe, for example, that in Joni's painting for the front cover of "Clouds," the flower is "a cross between a lily and a poppy...some kind of Canadian hybrid, or a plant invented by Mitchell herself, playing God," and thus her way of offering us a clue to the album's theme: paradox? On the up side, there are some anecdotes that I, a Joni fan of some 25 years, had never heard before, but these nuggets are more than counterbalanced by the remarkable carelessness with which the book has been put together.Read more ›
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