The Song: "The Last Time I Saw Richard," Joni Mitchell. Words & music by Joni Mitchell. Track 10 of Blue, 1971.
When/how acquired: Bootleg cassette, c. 1984; downloaded MP3, 2008.
Romantics are just people who believe that life is supposed to follow a narrative, and that that narrative is supposed to be driven by emotions rather than practicality. I would not describe myself as a romantic, though I certainly was in earlier days. Young people should be. Young people should believe that life is supposed to go in certain ways. Character emerges from how we react when we discover that the universe laughs at "supposed to."
This month marks the 40th anniversary of Blue. I first heard it in high school, but didn't really discover it until the summer of 1984. I was sharing a basement apartment in Glover Park with my best friend, Laurie, who listened to it on a more or less continuous loop. It's a very different album now, as I listen to it at 45, than it was when I listened to it at 18. It's still just as wondrous, which marks it as a true work of art.