Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alamy)

Music

Revisit the moment Harry Styles covered Joni Mitchell song 'Big Yellow Taxi'

@notmyyaztattoo

As a surprising lover of Harry Styles and a self-proclaimed Joni Mitchell fanatic, I was personally shocked that I hadn’t heard of this groundbreaking cover earlier. I’m not sure I have to explain both of the major players in this one, but in case you’ve arrived unaware, Harry Styles is a former boyband-heartthrob turned alt-rock-pop idol, and Joni Mitchell is a folk-rock legend—perhaps the very best to grace the 1960s and ’70s.

Whether you’re a dedicated Joni Mitchell fan or a casual listener, you’ve probably heard her biggest hit, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’. This song, for me, was the go-to karaoke pick for the first 14 years of my life. It’s a unique song with lyrics and a melody that you could recognise anywhere, and that’s why it’s so exciting to hear that Harry Styles covered the iconic number.

As one might expect, his voice fits perfectly with the material, which he performed as a live cover for BBC Radio 2. Not only does he kill it on vocals, but he also plays the guitar and blends it effortlessly with the instrumentals of the flawless backing band. 

The cover, much like its original version, has a carefree, fun, and exciting quality to it. It’s far from perfect, but it’s meant to be that way. From the message of the song to the folky tone, there’s character all over this. From Joni Mitchell’s personality as the songwriter to Harry Styles’ as the performer, this is a unique performance in every sense of the word.

Although the cover itself is from 2020, Harry Styles and Joni Mitchell apparently have been in cahoots since, with rumours of a songwriting workshop that involved both parties, in addition to Brandi Carlile and Lucius, who collaborated on a new album just recently. The songwriting world holds plenty of crossovers, and it makes you wonder just how much Joni Mitchell has influenced Styles both directly and indirectly.

Joni Mitchell seems to approve of and fully support this inspiration, too, as she expressed her happiness with his naming his third studio album after her own just a few weeks ago. It’s only a matter of time before we see even more inspiration and collaboration coming out of this pair.

If you want to listen to Harry Styles’ take on this classic Joni Mitchell tune, you can take a listen down below.