Joni Mitchell said this about writing the song, "Big yellow Taxi" to journalist Alan McDougall in the early 1970s:
I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song.
The song is known for its environmental concern – "They paved paradise to put up a parking lot" but they're several different interpretations, and I have my own.
As I sat writing the follow up to "Good Enough" the song came to me over and over again. Now, I'm a long time Joni Mitchell fan and it may have been a commercial playing in the family room that brought the song to me, but it rang around in my psyche. Why is it that so many people ask for a particular thing and when they get it, they try to change it?
You work so hard and decide that you want a get away, but you get there and check your e-mails.
You say you want someone who just lets you be who you are, but then you complain that they don't challenge you enough.
Do we really know what we want? Would you recognize it if it's not dressed the way you imagained it would be dressed? What if it didn't speak the language you thought it would speak? What if it drives a different car than you hoped it would? Or has a different kind of job? Do you think you'd pave paradise and put up a parking lot - because it's always practical to have more parking. Right?
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
-"Big Yellow Taxi by