“Big Yellow Taxi” was the sole single from Joni Mitchell’s 1970 album, Ladies of the Canyon. Though it didn’t crack the Top 40 (it charted at No. 67 on the Billboard singles chart), that doesn’t accurately reflect its success.
The goal of good fingerpicking accompaniment is to support the song you’re playing the best you can. Short fills between vocal lines, like the one in Example 9, can be a nice contrast to straight pattern picking.
The so-called Bo Diddley beat, shown in Example 5a may seem difficult at first, but if you break the beat down into a 16th-note subdivision, you’ll find a 3–3–2 pattern in the first half of the measure that may help you get a handle on it.
Strum through this pattern on one chord, and you can hear the verse rhythm behind the Strokes’ “Last Night,” the rhythm pattern behind Hall and Oates’s “Maneater,” or the recurring anthemic rhythm in the Doors’ “Touch Me.”
Some modern rock and pop tunes get a boost by injecting a laid-back groove with a 16th-note swing feel. Example 7a shows one common syncopated groove you can get with this feel, and Example 7b shows how you might embellish it to sound similar to Train’s hit “Drops of Jupiter.”