Song Lyrics

Free Man In Paris

by Joni Mitchell

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The way I see it he said
You just can't win it
Everybody's in it for their own gain
You can't please 'em all
There's always somebody calling you down
I do my best
And I do good business
There's a lot of people asking for my time
They're trying to get ahead
They're trying to be a good friend of mine

I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song

I deal in dreamers
And telephone screamers
Lately I wonder what I do it for
If l had my way
I'd just walk through those doors
And wander
Down the Champs Elysées *
Going cafe to cabaret
Thinking how I'll feel when I find
That very good friend of mine

I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favors
No one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song

© 1973; Crazy Crow Music

Footnotes to Free Man In Paris

As archived in Mojo Magazine's March 2019 issue: “I wrote that in Paris for David Geffen [president of Asylum Records], taking a lot of it from the things he said…Another song about show business and the pressures. He didn’t like it at the time. He begged me to take it off the record. I think he felt uncomfortable being shown in that light.”

Guitar Transcriptions of Free Man In Paris

Free Man In Paris has been recorded by 76 other artists

  • A Bird That Whistles (from "A Bird That Whistles" - 1996)
  • Alvarez, Guada (from "Homenaje a Joni Mitchell IX Festival Ondas de Jazz en la cuidad" - 2015)
  • Baker, Cheryl  (from "Cheryl Sings Joni" - 2017)
  • Big Dutch Babies (from "Brain Salad Surgery" - 2019) [buy at Amazon]
  • Big Faith (from "Back To The Garden" - 1992)
  • Big Yellow (- 2016)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2002)
  • Black Crow (- 2010)
  • Blue Tapestry (from "Blue Tapestry" - 2002)
  • Bruce Isaacson with Red Seidman (from "Live at the Hog's Breath Saloon Key West" - 2003)
  • CCRobin (from "The Last CCRobin Tapes" - 1998)
  • Chappell Kingsland (from "this 'n' that" - )
  • Colvin, Shawn  (from "(unreleased live performance)" - )
  • Count Zero (from "Affluenza" - 1996)
  • Court And Spark Band (- )
  • David Johnson & Fake Zappa (from "In Search of Love and Music: A Tribute to Joni Mitchell" - 2019)
  • Del Paggio, Marcelo (from "Completa Luz " - 2003)
  • Diachun, Melody (from "Eq" - 2008)
  • Diamond, Neil  (from "I'm Glad You're Here With Me Tonight" - 1977)
  • Diane Rosenthal, Dave Egelhofer, & Deeme Katson (from "Strathmore Presents - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2009)
  • Doug Organ Trio (from "Doug Organ Trio" - 2010) [buy at Amazon]
  • Eden, Joanna (from "Joni & Me" - 2016)
  • Engling, Gail  (from "Just Because..." - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Farley, Michael (from "VII" - 2018)
  • Ford, Kimberly (from "A Celebration of Joni Mitchell" - 2015)
  • Graham Blvd (from "Chartbusters 1974" - 2008)
  • Henning Olsen Band (from "A Tribute Minus Mitchell" - 2004)
  • Inside Out Jazz (from "Live At CJ's" - 2008)
  • Isaacson, Bruce (from "All I Wanna Be Is Me" - 2010)
  • Jazzbum/Daniel Davison (from "Impressions" - 2001)
  • Jenna & the Charmers (from "Everyone I Love Is Here" - 2019) [buy at Amazon]
  • John, Elton (from "A Case Of Joni" - 2000)
  • Jojo (from "Agape" - 2012)
  • Jolize (from "North Spur" - 2004)
  • Kennedy, Brian (from "A Love Letter To Joni" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • King, Jonathon (from "A Rose In A Fisted Glove" - 1975)
  • Lagan, Mandy (from "The Joni Book I" - 2016)
  • Lewis, Al (from "The Covers EP Vol.1" - 2013)
  • Lovecraft, Paul (from "Love In The Time Of Outrage" - 2019) [buy at Amazon]
  • LRK Trio (- )
  • Manning, Dayna (from "Morning Light" - 2019)
  • Miller, Betsy  (from "Becology" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • Milne, Andy (from "New Age of Aquarius" - 1999) [buy at Amazon]
  • Olympia (- 2016)
  • Pessell, Dan (from "Silver Soul" - 2018)
  • Phish (- 2010)
  • Pizzarelli, John (from "Double Exposure" - 2012) [buy at Amazon]
  • Rachel Z Trio (from "Moon At The Window" - 2002)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue & Court And Spark - Live At Dizzy's" - 2011)
  • Rossio, Carol  (from "Pardon My French" - 2011) [buy at Amazon]
  • Scattergood, Liz (- )
  • Scott, Jennifer  (from "Emotional Girl" - 2005)
  • Security (from "Protocol" - 2012)
  • Sessoms, Vivian (from "The Songs of Joni Mitchell: A Soulful Tribute" - 2017) [buy at Amazon]
  • Shadows and Light (- 2019)
  • Slean, Sarah (- 2007)
  • Space Of A Day (from "Digital Single" - 2018) [buy at Amazon]
  • Steve Shapiro/Pat Bergeson (from "Backward Compatible" - 2008)
  • Stevens, Sufjan (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2007)
  • Susan Cowsill Band (from "Live at Carrollton Station Covered in Vinyl Series Vol. 1" - 2007)
  • Sutton, Tierney  (from "After Blue" - 2013) [buy at Amazon]
  • The Acoustic Guitar Troubadours (from "Acoustic Instrumental Memories" - 2009) [buy at Amazon]
  • The Big Wu (- )
  • The Cardinal Sinners (from "Live From Crowell!" - 1992)
  • The Mighty Avalanche Choir (from "Great Wizard version 2" - 1976)
  • The Rhythm Method (from "Immaculate Contraception" - )
  • The Sound Effects (from "Autumn '74" - 1974)
  • Thorpe, Billy (from "Solo (The Last Recordings)" - 2007)
  • Tincher, Jeff (from "All I Want" - 2015) [buy at Amazon]
  • Tom Lum Forest (from "The Roots of Happiness" - 2014) [buy at Amazon]
  • Tom Lum Forest (from "Alt Roots" - 2019) [buy at Amazon]
  • Venice (from "Brunch Buffet" - 2016) [buy at Amazon]
  • Vrony & Support (- )
  • White, Jay (from "Beautiful Noise (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)" - 2011)
  • Winchell, Jimmy (from "Jimmy Winchell Gives You The Business" - 2000)
  • Young, Adrienne (from "Room to Grow" - 2007)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]

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