Song Lyrics

Cherokee Louise

by Joni Mitchell

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Cherokee Louise is hiding in this tunnel
In the Broadway bridge *
We're crawling on our knees
We've got flashlights and batteries
We've got cold cuts from the fridge

Last year about this time
We used to climb up in the branches
Just to sway there in some breeze
Now the cops on the street
They want Cherokee Louise

People like to talk
Tongues are waggin' over fences
Waggin' over phones
All their doors are locked
God she can't even come to our house
But I know where she'll go

To the place where you can stand
And press your hands like it was bubblebath
In dust piled high as me
Down under the street
My friend
Poor Cherokee Louise

Ever since we turned thirteen
It's like a minefield
Walking to the door
Going out you get the third degree
And comin' in you get the third world war

Tuesday after school
We put our pennies on the rails
And when the train went by
We were jumpin' round like fools
Goin' "Look no heads or tails"
Goin' "Look my lucky prize"

She runs home to her foster dad
He opens up a zipper
And he yanks her to her knees
Oh please be here please
My friend
Poor Cherokee Louise

Cherokee Louise is hiding in this tunnel
In the Broadway bridge
We're crawling on our knees
We've got Archie and Silver Screen
I know where she is

The place where you can stand
And press your hand like it was bubblebath
In dust piled high as me
Down under the street
My friend
Poor Cherokee Louise
Oh Cherokee Louise

© 1991; Crazy Crow Music


"Broadway Bridge"
In the late 1920s, a consultant to the City of Saskatoon's Planning Board recommended that "a downtown commercial area could be saved from becoming a slum by building a bridge linking Broadway Avenue to it". C.J. Mackenzie, the Dean of Engineering, who had a strong interest in city planning, lobbied for the project but was told by the Mayor of Saskatoon that if he wanted to see the project go ahead he should run for City Council and speak from "the seat of power."”He did run, and was elected, and during his term in office the project was approved and the necessary bylaw was passed.

But it may only have been the advent of the Great Depression and federal make-work projects that saved that Broadway Bridge project from taking several years to be initiated. The project was approved as a federal make-work project in November 1931 (with funding from the city and provincial governments as well), and full-scale work began in late December 1931. Piers needed to be built while the river was still frozen. Dean Mackenzie took a leave of absence from the University to accept the contract to design and build the bridge, while his engineering staff consisted entirely of recent College of Engineering graduates. Over 1,500 men worked on the job. Nicknamed the "Engineer's Bridge" or "Dean's Bridge," the Broadway Bridge was officially opened on 11 November 1932 and was known as one of the finest structures of its kind in Canada.

Transcriptions of Cherokee Louise

Cherokee Louise has been recorded by 34 other artists

  • Alan Ferber Nonet (from "Up High, Down Low" - 2023)
  • Branco, Christina (from "Alegria" - 2013)
  • Breit, Kevin (from "I Love You" - 2020)
  • Bürgi, Silas  (- 2008)
  • Charlotte (from "Noches De Luna Llena" - 2010)
  • Chris Gonzales (from "Zipholo" - 1999)
  • Clusellas, Jacinta (- 2012)
  • Cossu, Barbara (- 2013)
  • Cullen, Lori (- )
  • Dee, Charlie (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell Live At Kriterion" - 2009)
  • Eller, Cássia (from "Do Lado do Avesso " - 2012)
  • Importe Qui (from "Gaussian" - 2022)
  • Ingvordsen, Maiken (from "This Is Now" - 2006)
  • Isaacs, Haim (from "Joni Mitchell in Jerusalem" - 2024)
  • Itxaso & Daniel Perez (from "New Land Lur Berria" - 2000)
  • Jacquemin, Vanessa (- )
  • Jenkins, Kevin (from "She - A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 2017)
  • KONL & Alice Kim (from "Cover Art" - 2020)
  • Lady B (- )
  • LRK Trio (- )
  • Marianne Trudel / Karen Young (from "Portraits:Songs of Joni Mitchell" - 2018)
  • Matthews, Wendy (from "She" - 2008)
  • Mikkeline, Tomine  (from "Joni" - 2023)
  • Mortensen, Malene  (from "Digital Single" - 2023)
  • Nomads In Jazz (from "Digital Single" - 2022)
  • Olatuja, Alicia  (from "Intuition: Songs from the Minds of Women" - 2019)
  • Ooyaah! (- )
  • Owen, Judith (from "Rediscovered" - 2018)
  • Peter Herbert, ena, Wolfgang Mitterer & Koehne Quartett  (from "Joni (12 Songs by Joni Mitchell)" - 2011)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Safaris to the Heart - The Songs of Joni Mitchell" - 2010)
  • Shahar, Ronit (from "Ronit Shahar in a tribute to Joni Mitchell" - 2017)
  • Tatyana Balakirsky & Alex Nadjarov (from "Live at MuzEnergo-4" - 2008)
  • Thomas Decock Light Travelers (from "Demo Erudite 2018" - 2018)
  • Tutu Puoane & Brussels Jazz Orchestra (from "We Have A Dream" - 2018)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]


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Myles 25 South Africa on

This song is so sad and wistful. I have about 33 joni releases (400 songs) and it is always beautiful discovering something new. I'm currently listening to the beautiful selection on Songs of a Paraire girl and I am completely stunned. I have a friend who I share Joni with. It's such a nice thing because there are not many South Africans who know joni that well. She is the most special artist in the world.

I feel it's my duty to pass Joni on to younger generations.

Noe Berengena on

After I purchased Travelogue for myself and my college girlfriend (now married with her own family) I felt that I had come to a milestone in my life. No longer really a young man, but one in the ranks of verifiable adulthood. Whenever I listen to the last 5 songs on the CD (including Cherokee Louise) I feel sad for the entire world. Mostly, I think, because this wonderful music (with the most beautiful lyrics imaginable) is increasingly a thing of the past. As Joni has written in several songs, nothing lasts for long. At least I got to live in the Joni Mitchell era.