A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from June 11, 2021
“Big Apple” lyric in the Joni Mitchell song “Song for Sharon” (1976)

Hejira (1976) is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. “Song for Sharon” is the first cut on the second side.

“I went to Staten Island, Sharon” opens Verse 1. “They’ll walk the girders of the Manhattan skyline/ Shine your light on me Miss Liberty” is in Verse 2. “There’s a gypsy down on Bleecker Street” is in Verse 3. “Now there are twenty-nine skaters on Wollman Rink” is in Verse 9. The narrator (Joni Mitchell) is clearly in New York City.

“Big Apple” is mentioned in Verse 4:

“Sharon, I left my man
At a North Dakota junction
And I came out to the ‘Big Apple’ here
To face the dream’s malfunction
Love’s a repetitious danger
You’d think I’d be accustomed to
Well I do accept the changes
At least better than I used to do”



Wikipedia: Hejira (album)
Hejira is the eighth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The songs on the album were written during a series of road trips in 1975 and 1976, and reflect events that occurred during those trips, including several romantic relationships she had at the time. Characterized by lyrically dense, sprawling songs, as well as the overdubbed fretless bass playing of Jaco Pastorius (whom Mitchell had just met), Hejira continued the musician’s journey beyond her pop records towards the freer, jazz-inspired music she would implement on later recordings.
(...)
Side two of Hejira begins with the epic “Song for Sharon”, which at eight minutes and 40 seconds stands as the longest track on the album. The lyrics deal with the conflict faced by a woman who is deciding between freedom and marriage. The song references the places Mitchell went during her trip to New York City, including scenes at Mandolin Brothers guitar store in Staten Island and a visit to a fortune teller on Bleecker Street. The song was allegedly written while Mitchell was high on cocaine at the end of her visit to the city.

The namesake of the song was her childhood friend Sharon Bell, who studied voice and wanted to be a singer when she was young but married a farmer; Mitchell wanted to be a farmer’s wife, but ended up becoming a singer.[ The song also mentions the blowout fight and abandoned midwestern tour that served as the death knell for Mitchell’s relationship with Guerin: “I left my man at a North Dakota junction, and I came out to the Big Apple here to face the dream’s malfunction.”

Genius (lyrics)
Song For Sharon
Joni Mitchell
Produced by Henry Lewy
Release Date November 1, 1976
[Verse 1]
I went to Staten Island, Sharon
To buy myself a mandolin
(...)
[Verse 4]
Sharon, I left my man
At a North Dakota junction
And I came out to the “Big Apple” here
To face the dream’s malfunction
Love’s a repetitious danger
You’d think I’d be accustomed to
Well I do accept the changes
At least better than I used to do
(...)
[Verse 10]
Sharon you’ve got a husband
And a family and a farm
I’ve got the apple of temptation
And a diamond snake around my arm

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Friday, June 11, 2021 • Permalink