Blue is the 1971 album of Canadian-born singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Among Joni's early output, this sad, poetic collection of intimate confessional songs is her most critically acclaimed. Exploring the various facets of relationships from infatuation on "A Case of You" to insecurity on "This Flight Tonight", the songs feature simple accompaniments on piano, guitar, and Appalachian dulcimer. Blue was a critical and commercial success, reaching #15 in the Billboard Album charts and #3 in the UK. The single "Carey" reached #93 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
The album was almost released in a somewhat different form. In March 1971, completed masters for the album were ready for production. Originally, there were three old songs that had not found their way on to any of her previous albums. At the last minute, Mitchell decided to remove two of the three so that she could add the new songs "All I Want" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard". "Urge for Going", her first song to achieve commercial success when recorded by country singer George Hamilton IV, was removed. (It was later released as the B-side of "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio" and again on her 1996 compilation album, Hits.) Also removed was "Hunter (The Good Samaritan)", which has yet to appear on any official record. "Little Green", composed in 1967, was the only old song that remained.
There has been persistent speculation that the album, and particularly the title track, were named after fellow songwriter David Blue, who was a friend and possibly love interest of Mitchell's when the album was released. She has denied the connection.
In 1979 Mitchell reflected, "The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.