Song Lyrics


by Joni Mitchell

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Sitting in a park in Paris France
Reading the news and it sure looks bad
They won't give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had
Still a lot of lands to see
But I wouldn't want to stay here
It's too old and cold and settled in its ways here
Oh but California

California I'm coming home
I'm going to see the folks I dig
I'll even kiss a Sunset pig
California I'm coming home

I met a redneck on a Grecian isle
Who did the goat dance very well
He gave me back my smile
But he kept my camera to sell
Oh the rogue the red red rogue
He cooked good omelettes and stews
And I might have stayed on with him there
But my heart cried out for you California

Oh California I'm coming home
Oh make me feel good rock 'n' roll band
I'm your biggest fan
California I'm coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you're walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
Just gives you the blues
Just gives you the blues
So I bought me a ticket
I caught a plane to Spain
Went to a party down a red dirt road
There were lots of pretty people there
Reading Rolling Stone reading Vogue
They said "How long can you hang around?"
I said a week maybe two
Just until my skin turns brown
Then I'm going home to California

California I'm coming home
Oh will you take me as I am
Strung out on another man
California I'm coming home

Oh it gets so lonely
When you're walking
And the streets are full of strangers
All the news of home you read
More about the war
And the bloody changes
Oh will you take me as I am?
Will you take me as I am?
Will you?

© January 18, 1971; Siquomb Pub Corp


Photographer Karl Ferris writes "This photo was taken in Ibiza, Spain in summer 1970. Joni contacted me on the recommendation of my friend Graham Nash. I took her to 'a party down a red dirt road, where there were people, reading Rolling Stone reading Vogue'. The party was at Jann Wenner's house. Joni played dulcimer and sang. It was a very blissful afternoon and also Nico dropped by!" Joni is holding top fashion model Willy Van Rooy's son Alejandro. The person painting is Willy's husband Salvador.

Transcriptions of California

California has been recorded by 60 other artists

  • Aish (from "Digital Single" - 2017)
  • Antonioli, Laurie (from "Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light " - 2014)
  • Arc Iris (from "Foggy Lullaby" - 2018)
  • Baker, Cheryl  (from "Cheryl Sings Joni" - 2017)
  • Beier, Tara (from "Her Story" - 2022)
  • Big Yellow Taxi (from "Unknown And Famous Songs Of Joni Mitchell" - 2006)
  • Blue Tapestry (from "Blue Tapestry" - 2002)
  • Clark, Merideth Kaye (from "Blue" - 2016)
  • Colin Steele Quartet (from "Joni: Jazz Interpretations of the Joni Mitchell Songbook" - 2020)
  • Dee, Charlie (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell Live At Kriterion" - 2009)
  • Duell, Olivia (- 2012)
  • Eden, Joanna (from "Joni & Me" - 2016)
  • Elsmore, Theresa (- 2008)
  • ENiid (from "A Celebration of Joni Mitchell; songs by & for her + stories" - 2015)
  • Fleishman, Eve (from "Atmospheric Epic" - 2017)
  • Flowers, Misty (- 2014)
  • Green, Alexa (from "So Good" - 2016)
  • Guillou, Jaclyn  (from "To The City" - 2011)
  • Hall, Kira (from "Not So Blue: Kira Sings Joni " - 2016)
  • Hench (from "December 2021: Joni Mitchell" - 2022)
  • James, Morgan (from "Blue" - 2016)
  • Jones, Caroline (- 2020)
  • Jordan, Gaby (from "Two For the Road" - 2002)
  • June Milo et Antoine Laudière  (- 2020)
  • Konkova, Olga (from "Improvisational Four" - 2009)
  • Lavington, Victoria  (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue: a 40th Anniversary Celebration" - 2012)
  • Lewis, Jessica (- 2013)
  • Linka, Rudy (from "Simple Pleasures" - 2002)
  • Maggie Hollinbeck & Graham Sobelman (from "Another Shade Of Blue" - 2014)
  • maggy (from "clown for hire" - 2019)
  • Marianne Trudel / Karen Young (from "Portraits:Songs of Joni Mitchell" - 2018)
  • Mikkeline, Tomine  (from "Joni" - 2023)
  • Napkin Trio (from "Napkin Trio Plays Joni" - 2017)
  • Neuburg, Amy X  (from "UnderCover, Faultline Studios and Kalx Present: Joni Mitchell's Blue" - 2012)
  • Noonan, Katie (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue" - 2023)
  • Otero, Florencia (from "Nocturno Mundo (Músicas de Joni Mitchell)" - 2012)
  • Parrish, Chantry  (- 2006)
  • Pérez, Marta  (from "We Started A Joke (2016-2021) - A Miraculous Celebration" - 2021)
  • Robin Adler & Mutts of the Planet (from "Joni Mitchell's Blue & Court And Spark - Live At Dizzy's" - 2011)
  • Rodriguez, Raquel (- 2013)
  • Rose, Trelawny (from "Shed A Little Light" - 2013)
  • Sandbloom, Kevin (from "Sandbloom Still Blue" - 2011)
  • Santing, Mathilde (from "Both Sides Now" - 2016)
  • Skinner, Belle (from "Belle-Skinner Sings Joni Mitchell Live" - 2022)
  • Skout  (- 2017)
  • Smith, Sara (from "A Tribute To Joni Mitchell" - 1974)
  • Stubbert, Sandy (from "Kick The Moon" - 1998)
  • Sunaga t experience and J.Lamotta Suzume (from "Re Blue" - 2022)
  • Takada, Ren (from "Lullaby" - 2002)
  • Takada, Ren (from "Ballads - anthology of early years" - 2007)
  • The Clancye Milne Octet (from " Rodgers & Hart - Gershwin - Joni Mitchell" - 2017)
  • The Harmony Keepers (from "A Tribute To Our Lady Of The Canyon" - 2023)
  • The Joni Mitchell Project (from "Shades of Blue" - 2023)
  • The Masters School Jazz Band (from "Joni Mitchell Blue" - 2020)
  • The Steve Klink Trio (from "Places To Come From, Places To Go" - 2002)
  • Thomas, Joshua (from "A Tribute to Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' & 'Hejira'" - 2015)
  • Troper, Mo (from "Digital Single" - 2018)
  • Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star (from "Lullaby Versions of Joni Mitchell" - 2021)
  • Wee Gee (from "California" - 1980)
  • Wilson Phillips (from "California" - 2004)
  • [more information on recordings by other artists]


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woodstock on

I think you're right, that when she said "I'll even kiss a Sunset pig", she was talking about a cop on Sunset Blvd which is right down the street from Laural Canyon where she and her hippie friends like Cosby,Stills and Nash,Cass Elliot and all lived. Young people called cops pigs in those days because the cops always broke up their parties and protests on Sunset Blvd.

sixtiessurvivor on

When I first heard this at college in California in the 70's, I was pretty sure that Sunset Pig meant a policeman who worked on Sunset Blvd. Policemen weren't generally popular, since they were seen as repressive "tools of the establishment". She would have been real homesick to be glad enough to kiss a Sunset pig.

60'sSkip on

ginjeanie - It's one of my favorites too but I never really thought about the pig. I always thought it was like someone sayin' "I'd crawl over broken glass on my hands and knees to (insert whatever)". In other words she'd be so happy to get back to California she'd be willing to kiss a pig. And, of course, I always assumed a "Sunset Pig" referred to Sunset Blvd, nothing to do with the orange orb in the sky; just another way to say a California pig.

ginjeanie on

I absolutely adore this song and I'm wondering if anyone can enlighten me to the meaning of what a sunset pig might refer to ?