"Free Man In Paris" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
The way I see it, he said
You just can't win it
Everybody's in it for their own gain
You can't please 'em all
There's always somebody calling you down

I do my best
And I do good business
There's a lot of people asking for my time
They're trying to get ahead
They're trying to be a good friend of mine
I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors

And no one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow
But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star-maker machinery
Behind the popular song

I deal in dreamers
And telephone screamers
Lately I wonder what I do it for
If l had my way
I'd just walk out those doors

And wander
Down the Champs Elysees
Going cafe to cabaret
Thinking how I'll feel when I find
That very good friend of mine
I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
Nobody was calling me up for favors
No one's future to decide
You know I'd go back there tomorrow

But for the work I've taken on
Stoking the star maker machinery
Behind the popular song

Lyrics submitted by ruben

"Free Man in Paris" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

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Free Man In Paris song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentIt's pretty established that it's about David Geffen. One of a small handfull of songs I'd walk barefoot across a mile of hot coals for the pleasure of hearing again.
    Zubbyon June 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentabout david geffen....and his troubles in the music industry.
    ava.and.the.bellason March 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song! It's so catchy and free, whenever i play it, it puts me in a good mood. I know nothing about David Geffen but i always considered this song to be about a record producer, everyone sucking up to him and calling him up for favours, he literally holds their future in his hands. I was certain this was what the song was about when i heard "stoking the star maker machinery behind the popular song" the song is about how he just wants to get away from it all and feel free and concentrate on his own life and love life, but he's too commited to his record label. Yet another hit by Joni, catchy and meaningful!
    Wunderkind92on July 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think you are missing the cynicism in this song. Note how self-important the lyrics sound. He could get away from it all, but his work is too important and too many people depend on him. His phrasing is stilted "but for the work I've taken on" and the language is very flowery, illustrating how self-important he feels. He sees himself as very powerful with people calling him up for favors and making decisions that affect people's lives. What she implies, but doesn't say explicitly, though, is that it's just about pop songs and he is not even a performer, just a producer. What does it even mean - "stoking the star maker machinery." The fact that he has to describe what he does in such a vague way implies he is not actually doing much of importance.
    baroleon September 09, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"find that very good friend of mine"...a nice euphemism, carrying a hint of self-deception. he's wandering the streets hoping to hook up, while "very good friend" implies past familiarity (clearly not the case, in this situation)
    foreverdroneon August 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationTwo words: David Geffen.
    seeingon July 25, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General Commentactually, foreverdrone, that "very good friend" is probably a euphemism for the fact that david geffen is gay, and was looking for a guy to be more than friends with.
    redredredon October 02, 2008   Link

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