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

This song appears on the album 'Amchitka'

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'

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For Free

by Joni Mitchell   Printer-friendly version of this lyric

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

© Siquomb Publishing Company

Additional information:

Guitar Transcriptions of For Free

Piano Transcriptions of For Free

For Free has been recorded by 58 others

Anderson, Jason (- 2013)
Axton, Hoyt (from "Pistol Packin' Mama" - 1982)
Best, Mark (- )
Burbank High School Madrigal Singers (from "Fourth Annual Pop 'N Rock Ananny" - )
Catfish Hodge (from "Soap Opera's" - 1975)
Clark, Petula  (from "Warm & Tender" - 1971)
Collins, Judy with Richard Stoltzman (from "Innervoices" - 1989)
Cox, Candace & Robert Mache (from "PazFest - The New Orleans Tribute to Joni Mitchell at the Howlin' Wolf" - 2002)
CPR (from "(Live-1997)" - )
Crosby, Stills & Nash (from "(Live)" - )
Crosby, Stills & Nash (from "Allies" - 1983)
D'Agostina, Simona (- )
Danielle, Michaela (- )
Detroit, Jill (from "I'm Outta Here" - 2013)
Droit, Rick Summer (from "Live At Cousin Andy's" - 1995)
Durst, James  (from "Nude/Renewed" - 1999)
Ennis, Ethel (from "If Women Ruled The World" - 1998)
Fredriksson, Marie (from "Moten" - 1994)
Giles, Martin (- 2012)
Henry, Carl (from "Simple Presents" - 1982)
HOHM (- )
Iris Koch - Werner Tharandt (from "Lieder von Joni Mitchell, Cheryl Wheeler, Iris Koch u.a." - 1980)
Jennings, John (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2009)
Julie Mairs & Chris Stowell  (from "Soft Sea Blue" - 1977)
Knight, Lonnie (from "Family In The Wind" - )
Lande, Art (from "Melissa Spins Away" - 1988)
Larkins, Penny (from "Festival Folk Sing Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
Light, Alysson (from "Fading Softly Into Silence" - )
Little, Marie (from "Marie Little" - 1973)
Marcello Sirignano Quartet (from "Nice Scribbles" - 2012)
Merritt, Tift (from "Traveling Alone " - 2013)
Midler, Bette  (from "Video/Unreleased" - 1971)
Miller, Betsy  (from "Becology" - 2013)
Montes, Marguerite (- 2010)
Morning (from "Struck Like Silver" - 1974)
Nereide (from "Nereide sings Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
Pearls Before Swine (from "The Wizard Of Is" - 2004)
Rhona (from "Rhona Sings For Free" - 1976)
Riley, Illman (from "Gambler" - 1971)
Robinson, Andy (from "Break Out Of The City" - 1970)
Russell, Miranda (from "Embrace" - 2011)
Sagal, Katey (from "Covered" - 2013)
Saint-Marie, Buffy  (from "Quiet Places" - 1973)
Sally Barker - Joni Mitchell Project (from "Conversation: The Joni Tapes" - 2010)
Sandoval, Matthew (- 2007)
Simon, Fred  (from "Songs Of My Youth, Volume 1" - 2000)
Simpson, Kathy (- 2014)
Smith, Sara (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 1974)
Starr, Charlie (from "Tough and Tender" - 1971)
Suzanne M. Sheridan & And the Suzanne Sheridan Band (from "Suzanne Sheridan Sings the Music of Joni Mitchell & Leonard Cohen" - 2012)
System 99 (from "Soft Fire" - 1999)
Taylor, James (from "(Live)" - 1970)
Ten Sharp (from "Ain't My Beating Heart (EP)" - 1991)
Terea (from "Terea" - 1977)
The Byrds (from "Byrds" - 1973)
The Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (from "Precious Little" - 2007)
Volker Niehusmann & Christiane Weber (from "Another Blue" - 1997)
Williams, Keller (from "(live performance)" - )
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