This song appears on the album 'Ladies of the Canyon'

This song appears on the album 'Miles of Aisles'

This song appears on the album 'songs chosen by her friends & fellow musicians'

This song appears on the album 'The Studio Albums, 1968-1979'

jonimitchell.com song lyrics

For Free

by Joni Mitchell

I slept last night in a good hotel
I went shopping today for jewels
The wind rushed around in the dirty town
And the children let out from the schools
I was standing on a noisy corner
Waiting for the walking green
Across the street he stood
And he played real good
On his clarinet for free

Now me I play for fortunes
And those velvet curtain calls
I've got a black limousine
And two gentlemen
Escorting me to the halls
And I play if you have the money
Or if you're a friend to me
But the one man band
By the quick lunch stand
He was playing real good for free

Nobody stopped to hear him
Though he played so sweet and high
They knew he had never
Been on their T.V.
So they passed his music by
I meant to go over and ask for a song
Maybe put on a harmony
I heard his refrain
As the signal changed
He was playing real good for free

Joni added these lyrics to the song during the 1983 tour:

Playing like a fallen angel
Playing like a rising star
Playing for a hat full of nothing
to the honking of the cars

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