Click to return to Dave’s Music Database home page.

Charted: February 9, 1974

Rating: 4.841 (average of 12 ratings)

Genre: folk

Quotable: “a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz” – Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  1. Court and Spark
  2. Help Me
  3. Free Man in Paris
  4. People’s Parties
  5. The Same Situation
  6. Car on a Hill
  7. Down to You
  8. Just Like This Train
  9. Raised on Robbery
  10. Trouble Child
  11. Twisted

Total Running Time: 36:52


sales in U.S. only 2 million
sales in U.K. only - estimated --
sales in all of Europe as determined by IFPI – click here to go to their site. --
sales worldwide - estimated 2 million


peak on U.S. Billboard album chart 2
peak on U.K. album chart 14

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • Raised on Robbery (12/22/73) #65 US, #40 AC
  • Help Me (3/16/74) #7 US, #1 AC
  • Free Man in Paris (7/20/74) #22 US, #2 AC

Notes: In 2007, a remastered and expanded version of the album was released.


Rated one of the top 1000 albums of all time by Dave’s Music Database. Click to learn more. One of Blender’s 100 Greatest American Albums

Court and Spark
Joni Mitchell
“Joni Mitchell reached her commercial high point with Court and Spark, a remarkably deft fusion of folk, pop, and jazz which stands as her best-selling work to date. While as unified and insightful as Blue” (Ankeny), which “was wonderful, but also well-named” (Blender), this album is more for “those who didn’t feel like drowning in melancholy” (Blender). This is “a concept record exploring the roles of honesty and trust in relationships, romantic and otherwise” (Ankeny). Court and Spark “moves away from confessional songwriting into evocative character studies: the hit Free Man in Paris, written about David Geffen, is a not-so-subtle dig at the machinations of the music industry, while Raised on Robbery offers an acutely funny look at the predatory environment of the singles bar scene” (Ankeny).

“Much of Court and Spark is devoted to wary love songs” (Ankeny); that is, “affairs of the heart, ‘70s-style” (Blender). “Both the title cut and Help Me, the record’s most successful single, carefully measure the risks of romance, while People’s Parties and The Same Situation are fraught with worry and self-doubt (standing in direct opposition to the music, which is smart, smooth, and assured from the first note to the last)” (Ankeny).

Review Source(s):

Last updated November 2, 2008.