Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell, CC (née Anderson; born November 7,
1943) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Rolling Stone called her
"one of the greatest songwriters ever", and
AllMusic has stated,
"When the dust settles,
Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important
and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century".
Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect
social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance,
confusion, disillusionment, and joy. She has received many accolades,
Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and throughout western Canada, before busking
in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario. In 1965, she moved
to the United States and began touring. Some of her original songs
("Urge for Going", "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides, Now", "The Circle
Game") were covered by other folk singers, allowing her to sign with
Reprise Records and record her debut album in 1968. Settling in
Southern California, Mitchell, with popular songs like "Big Yellow
Taxi" and "Woodstock", helped define an era and a generation. Her 1971
album Blue is often cited as one of the best albums of all time; it
was rated the 30th best album ever made in Rolling Stone's list of the
"500 Greatest Albums of All Time", the highest entry by a female
artist. In 2000, the
New York Times
New York Times chose Blue as one of the 25
albums that represented "turning points and pinnacles in 20th-century
popular music". In 2017, NPR ranked Blue Number 1 on a list of
Greatest Albums Made By Women.
Mitchell's fifth album, For the Roses, was released in 1972. She then
switched labels and began exploring more jazz-influenced melodic
ideas, by way of lush pop textures, on 1974's Court and Spark, which
featured the radio hits "
Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris" and
became her best-selling album.
Around 1975, Mitchell's vocal range began to shift from mezzo-soprano
to more of a wide-ranging contralto. Her distinctive piano
and open-tuned guitar compositions also grew more harmonically and
rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with influences
of rock and roll, R&B, classical music and non-western beats. In
the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians,
among them Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny,
as well as Charles Mingus, who asked her to collaborate on his final
recordings. She later turned again toward pop, embraced electronic
music, and engaged in political protest. In 2002, she was awarded a
Lifetime Achievement Award at the 44th Annual
Mitchell is the sole producer credited on most of her albums,
including all her work in the 1970s. A blunt critic of the music
industry, she quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last,
album of original songs in 2007. With roots in visual art, Mitchell
has designed most of her own album covers. She describes herself as a
"painter derailed by circumstance".
1 Early life
2.1 1964–1969: Folk breakthrough
2.1.3 New York
2.2 1970–1974: Mainstream success
2.4 1981–1993: Pop, electronics and protest
2.5 1994–2001: Resurgence and vocal development
2.6 2002–2005: Retirement and retrospectives
2.7 2006–2015: Late recordings
3.2 Brain aneurysm
4 Rejection of Baby Boom counter-culture
5.1 Guitar style
6 Awards and honours
6.2 Juno Awards
10 Further reading
11 External links
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Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943, in Fort
Macleod, Alberta, Canada, the daughter of Myrtle Marguerite (McKee)
and William Andrew Anderson. Her mother's ancestors were Scottish
and Irish; her father was from a Norwegian family that possibly
had some Sami ancestry. Her mother was a teacher while her
father was a
Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force flight lieutenant who instructed
new pilots at RCAF Station Fort Macleod. She later moved with her
parents to various bases in western Canada. After the war she settled
with her family in Saskatchewan. She later sang about her small-town
upbringing in several of her songs, including "Song for
At school, Mitchell seemed athletic rather than academic, but still
responded to her mother's love of literature and her father's love of
music, and she briefly studied classical piano.
At age nine, Mitchell contracted polio in an epidemic, and was
hospitalised for weeks. Following this incident she focused on her
creative talent, and considered a singing or dancing career for the
first time. By nine, she was a smoker; she denies claims that
smoking has affected her voice. At 11, she moved with her family
to the city of Saskatoon, which she considers her hometown. She
responded badly to formal education, preferring a freethinking
outlook. One unconventional teacher did manage to make an
impact on her, stimulating her to write poetry, and her first album
includes a dedication to him. In twelfth grade, she dropped out
(she later picked up her studies) and hung out downtown with a rowdy
set until deciding that she was getting too close to the criminal
At this time, country music began to eclipse rock, and Mitchell wanted
to play the guitar. As her mother disapproved of its hillbilly
associations, she settled initially for the ukulele. Eventually
she taught herself guitar from a
Pete Seeger songbook, but the
polio had affected her fingers, and she had to devise dozens of
alternative tunings of her own. This improvised approach later helped
her break free of standard approaches to harmony and structure in her
Mitchell started singing with her friends at bonfires around Waskesiu
Lake, northwest of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Her first paid
performance was on October 31, 1962, at a
Saskatoon club that featured
folk and jazz performers. At 18, she widened her repertoire to
include her own favorite performers like
Édith Piaf and Miles Davis.
Though she never performed jazz herself in those days, she and her
friends sought out gigs by jazz musicians. Mitchell said, "My jazz
background began with one of the early Lambert, Hendricks and Ross
albums." That album, The Hottest New Group in Jazz, was hard to find
in Canada, she says. "So I saved up and bought it at a bootleg price.
I considered that album to be my Beatles. I learned every song off of
it, and I don't think there is another album anywhere—including my
own—on which I know every note and word of every song."
But art was still her chief passion at this stage, and when she
finished high school at
Aden Bowman Collegiate
Aden Bowman Collegiate in Saskatoon, she took
art classes at the
Saskatoon Technical Collegiate with abstract
expressionist painter Henry Bonli, and then left home to attend
Alberta College of Art
Alberta College of Art in
Calgary for the 1963–64 school year.
Here she felt disillusioned about the high priority given to technical
skill over free-class creativity, and also felt out of step with
the trend towards pure abstraction, and the tendency to move into
commercial art. After a year, at age 20, she dropped out of school, a
decision that much displeased her parents, who could remember the
Great Depression and valued education highly.
She continued to play gigs as a folk musician on weekends, at her
college and at a local hotel. Around this time she took a $15-a-week
job in a
Calgary coffeehouse, "singing long tragic songs in a minor
key". She sang at hootenannies and made appearances on some local TV
and radio shows in Calgary. In 1964, at the age of 20, she told
her mother that she intended to be a folk singer in Toronto, and she
left western Canada for the first time in her life, heading east for
Ontario. On the three-day train ride there, Mitchell wrote her first
song, "Day After Day". She stopped at the
Mariposa Folk Festival to
see Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Saskatchewan-born Cree folk singer who had
inspired her. A year later, Mitchell too played Mariposa, her first
gig for a major audience, and years later, Sainte-Marie herself
covered Mitchell's work.
1964–1969: Folk breakthrough
Lacking the $200 needed for musicians' union fees, Mitchell managed a
few gigs at the Half Beat and the Village Corner in Toronto's
Yorkville neighbourhood, but she mostly played non-union gigs "in
church basements and YMCA meeting halls". Rejected from major folk
clubs, she resorted to busking, while she "worked in the women's
wear section of a downtown department store to pay the rent."
During this era, she lived in a rooming house, directly across the
hall from poet Duke Redbird. Without a lot of name recognition,
Mitchell also began to realize each city's folk scene tended to accord
veteran performers the exclusive right to play their signature
songs—despite not having written the songs—which Mitchell found
insular, contrary to the egalitarian ideal of folk music. She found
her best traditional material was already other singers' property and
would no longer pass muster. She said, "You'd come into a town and
you'd be told, you can't sing that, you can't sing that."[citation
needed] She resolved to write her own songs.
In late 1964, Mitchell discovered that she was pregnant by her Calgary
ex-boyfriend Brad MacMath. She later wrote, "[he] left me three months
pregnant in an attic room with no money and winter coming on and only
a fireplace for heat. The spindles of the banister were gap-toothed
fuel for last winter's occupants." At the time, "the pill" was
legally unavailable in Canada, as was abortion, yet there was a strong
social stigma against women giving birth out of wedlock. In Toronto,
she could at least do so quietly, without alarming her relatives back
home. In February 1965 she gave birth to a baby girl. Unable to
provide for the baby, she placed her daughter, Kelly Dale Anderson,
for adoption. The experience remained private for most of her career,
but she made allusions to it in several songs, for example "Little
Green," which she performed in the 1960s and recorded eventually for
the 1971 album Blue.
In "Chinese Cafe", from the 1982 album Wild Things Run Fast, Mitchell
sang, "Your kids are coming up straight / My child's a stranger / I
bore her / But I could not raise her." These lyrics did not receive
wide attention at the time. The existence of Mitchell's daughter was
not publicly known until 1993, when a roommate from Mitchell's
art-school days in the 1960s sold the story of the adoption to a
tabloid magazine. By that time, Mitchell's daughter, renamed
Kilauren Gibb, had already begun a search for her biological parents.
Mitchell and her daughter met in 1997. After the reunion, Mitchell
said that she lost interest in songwriting, and she later identified
her daughter's birth and her inability to take care of her as the
moment when her songwriting inspiration had really begun. When she
could not express herself to the person she wanted to talk to, she
became attuned to the whole world and she began to write personally.
A few weeks after the birth of her daughter in 1965, Joni Anderson was
playing gigs again around Yorkville, beginning to sing original
material for the first time, written with her unique open tunings. In
March and April she found work at the Penny Farthing, a folk club in
Toronto. There she met Chuck Mitchell, an American folk singer from
Michigan. Chuck was immediately attracted to her and impressed by her
performance, and he told her that he could get her steady work in the
coffeehouses he knew in the United States. In one interview, Mitchell
claimed she married Chuck only 36 hours after they met, but it is
unclear if they were ever married in Toronto. Sometime in late April,
Joni left Canada for the first time, going with Chuck to the US, where
the two began playing music together. Joni, 21 years old, married
Chuck in an official ceremony in his hometown in June 1965 and took
his surname. She said, "I made my dress and bridesmaids' dresses. We
had no money... I walked down the aisle brandishing my daisies."
While living at the Verona apartments in Detroit's Cass Corridor,
Chuck and Joni were regular performers at area coffee houses,
including the Chessmate on Livernois, near Six Mile Road; the Alcove
bar, near Wayne State University; the Rathskeller, a restaurant on the
campus of the University of Detroit; and the Raven Gallery in
Southfield. She began playing and composing songs in
alternative guitar tunings taught to her by a fellow musician, Eric
Andersen, in Detroit.
Oscar Brand featured her several times on
his CBC television program
Let's Sing Out in 1965 and 1966. The
marriage and partnership of Joni and Chuck Mitchell dissolved in early
1967, and Joni moved to New York City to follow her musical path as a
solo artist. She played venues up and down the East Coast, including
Philadelphia, Boston, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. She performed
frequently in coffeehouses and folk clubs and, by this time creating
her own material, became well known for her unique songwriting and her
innovative guitar style.
Tom Rush had met Mitchell in Toronto and was impressed
with her songwriting ability. He took "Urge for Going" to the popular
folk artist Judy Collins, but she was not interested in the song at
the time, so Rush recorded it himself. Country singer George Hamilton
IV heard Rush performing it and recorded a hit country version. Other
artists who recorded Mitchell's songs in the early years were Buffy
Sainte-Marie ("The Circle Game"),
Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk ("Both Sides Now"),
Judy Collins ("Both Sides Now", a top ten hit for her,
and "Michael from Mountains", both included on her 1967 album
Wildflowers). Collins also covered "Chelsea Morning", another
recording that eclipsed Mitchell's own commercial success early on.
While Mitchell was playing one night in the Gaslight South, a club
in Coconut Grove, Florida,
David Crosby walked in and was immediately
struck by her ability and her appeal as an artist. He took her
back to Los Angeles, where he set about introducing her and her music
to his friends. Soon she was being managed by Elliot Roberts, who had
a close business association with David Geffen. Roberts and Geffen
were to have important influences on her career. Crosby convinced a
record company to let Mitchell record a solo acoustic album without
the folk-rock overdubs in vogue at that time, and his clout earned him
a producer's credit in March 1968, when
Reprise Records released her
debut album, known either as
Joni Mitchell or Song to a Seagull.
Mitchell toured steadily to promote the LP. The tour helped create
eager anticipation for Mitchell's second LP, Clouds, which was
released in April 1969. This album contained Mitchell's own versions
of some of her songs already recorded and performed by other artists:
"Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides, Now", and "Tin Angel". The covers of
both LPs, including a self-portrait on Clouds, were designed and
painted by Mitchell, a blending of her painting and music that she
continued throughout her career.
1970–1974: Mainstream success
Mitchell performing in concert at the
Universal Amphitheatre in August
In March 1970, Clouds produced her first
Grammy Award for Best Folk
Performance. The following month, Reprise released her third album,
Ladies of the Canyon. Mitchell's sound was already beginning to expand
beyond the confines of acoustic folk music and toward pop and rock,
with more overdubs, percussion, and backing vocals, and for the first
time, many songs composed on piano, which became a hallmark of
Mitchell's style in her most popular era. Her own version of
"Woodstock", slower than the cover by Crosby, Stills, Nash &
Young, was performed solo on a Wurlitzer electric piano. The album
also included the already-familiar song "The Circle Game" and the
environmental anthem "Big Yellow Taxi", with its now-famous line,
"they paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
Ladies of the Canyon was an instant smash on
FM radio and sold
briskly, eventually becoming Mitchell's first gold album (selling over
a half million copies). She made a decision to stop touring for a year
and just write and paint, yet she was still voted "Top Female
Performer" for 1970 by Melody Maker, a leading UK pop music magazine.
On the April 1971 release of James Taylor's Mud Slide Slim and the
Blue Horizon album, Mitchell is credited with backup vocals – along
Carole King – on the track "You've Got a Friend". The songs she
wrote during the months she took off for travel and life experience
appeared on her next album, Blue, released in June 1971. Comparing
Joni Mitchell's talent to his own,
David Crosby said, "By the time she
did Blue, she was past me and rushing toward the horizon".
Blue was an almost instant critical and commercial success, peaking in
the top 20 in the Billboard Album Charts in September and also hitting
the British Top 3. The lushly produced "Carey" was the single at the
time, but musically, other parts of Blue departed further from the
sounds of Ladies of the Canyon. Simpler, rhythmic acoustic parts
allowed a focus on Mitchell's voice and emotions ("All I Want", "A
Case of You"), while others such as "Blue", "River" and "The Last Time
I Saw Richard" were sung to her rolling piano accompaniment. Her most
confessional album, Mitchell later said of Blue, "I have, on occasion,
sacrificed myself and my own emotional makeup, ... singing 'I'm
selfish and I'm sad', for instance. We all suffer for our loneliness,
but at the time of Blue, our pop stars never admitted these
things." In its lyrics, the album was regarded as an inspired
culmination of her early work, with depressed assessments of the world
around her serving as counterpoint to exuberant expressions of
romantic love (for example, in "California"). Mitchell later remarked,
"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."
Mitchell decided to return to the live stage after the great success
of Blue, and she presented new songs on tour which appeared on her
next album, her fifth, For the Roses. The album was released in
October 1972 and immediately zoomed up the charts. She followed with
the single, "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio", which peaked at No. 25 in
the Billboard Charts in February 1973, becoming her first bona fide
Court and Spark, released in January 1974, saw Mitchell begin the
flirtation with jazz and jazz fusion that marked her experimental
Court and Spark
Court and Spark went to No. 1 on the Cashbox Album
Charts. The LP made Mitchell a widely popular act for perhaps the only
time in her career, on the strength of popular tracks such as the
rocker "Raised on Robbery", which was released right before Christmas
1973, and "
Help Me", which was released in March of the following
year, and became Mitchell's only Top 10 single when it peaked at No. 7
in the first week of June. "Free Man in Paris" was another hit single
and staple in her catalog.
While recording Court and Spark, Mitchell had tried to make a clean
break with her earlier folk sound, producing the album herself and
employing jazz/pop fusion band the
L.A. Express as what she called her
first real backing group. In February 1974, her tour with the L.A.
Express began, and they received rave notices as they traveled across
the United States and Canada during the next two months. A series of
shows at L.A.'s
Universal Amphitheater on August 14–17 were recorded
for a live album. In November, Mitchell released that album, Miles of
Aisles, a two-record set including all but two songs from the L.A.
concerts (one selection each from the Berkeley Community Theatre, on
March 2, and the L.A. Music Center, on March 4, were also included in
the set). The live album slowly moved up to No. 2, matching Court and
Spark's chart peak on Billboard. "Big Yellow Taxi", the live version,
was also released as a single and did reasonably well (she released
another version of the song in 2007).
In January 1975,
Court and Spark
Court and Spark received four nominations for Grammy
Grammy Award for Album of the Year, for which
Mitchell was the only woman nominated. She won only the
for Best Arrangement, Instrumental and Vocals.
Mitchell in 1975
Mitchell went into the studio in early 1975 to record acoustic demos
of some songs that she had written since the
Court and Spark
Court and Spark tour. A
few months later she recorded versions of the tunes with her band. Her
musical interests were now diverging from both the folk and the pop
scene of the era, toward less structured, more jazz-inspired pieces,
with a wider range of instruments. The new song cycle was released in
November 1975 as The Hissing of Summer Lawns. On "The Jungle Line",
she made an early effort at sampling a recording of African musicians,
something that became more commonplace among Western rock acts in the
1980s. "In France They Kiss on Main Street" continued the lush pop
sounds of Court and Spark, and efforts such as the title song and
"Edith and the Kingpin" chronicled the underbelly of suburban lives in
During 1975, Mitchell also participated in several concerts in the
Rolling Thunder Revue tours
Rolling Thunder Revue tours featuring
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and in
1976 she performed as part of
The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz by the Band. In January
1976, Mitchell received a nomination for the
Grammy Award for Best
Female Pop Vocal Performance for the album The Hissing of Summer
Lawns, though the
Grammy went to Linda Ronstadt.
In early 1976, Mitchell traveled with friends who were driving cross
country to Maine. Afterwards, she drove back to California alone and
composed several songs during her journey which featured on her next
album, 1976's Hejira. She stated that "This album was written mostly
while I was traveling in the car. That's why there were no piano
songs ..." Hejira was arguably Mitchell's most experimental
album so far, due to her ongoing collaborations with jazz virtuoso
Jaco Pastorius on several songs, namely the first
single, "Coyote", the atmospheric "Hejira", the disorienting,
guitar-heavy "Black Crow", and the album's last song "Refuge of the
Roads". The album climbed to No. 13 on the Billboard Charts, reaching
gold status three weeks after release, and received airplay from album
oriented FM rock stations. Yet "Coyote", backed with "Blue Motel
Room", failed to chart on the Hot 100. Hejira "did not sell as briskly
as Mitchell's earlier, more "radio-friendly" albums, [but] its stature
in her catalogue has grown over the years". Mitchell herself
believes the album to be unique. In 2006 she said, "I suppose a lot of
people could have written a lot of my other songs, but I feel the
songs on Hejira could only have come from me."
In mid-1977, Mitchell began work on new recordings that became her
first double studio album. Close to completing her contract with
Asylum Records, Mitchell felt that this album could be looser in feel
than any album she'd done in the past. She invited Pastorius back, and
he brought with him fellow members of jazz fusion pioneers Weather
Report, including drummer Don Alias and saxophonist Wayne Shorter.
Layered, atmospheric compositions such as "Overture/Cotton Avenue"
featured more improvisatory collaboration, while "Paprika Plains" was
a 16-minute epic that stretched the boundaries of pop, owing more to
Mitchell's memories of childhood in Canada and her study of classical
music. "Dreamland" and "The Tenth World", featuring
Chaka Khan on
backing vocals, were percussion-dominated tracks. Other songs
continued the jazz-rock-folk collisions of Hejira. Mitchell also
revived "Jericho", written years earlier (a version is found on her
1974 live album) but never recorded in a studio setting. Don Juan's
Reckless Daughter was released in December 1977. The album received
mixed reviews but still sold relatively well, peaking at No. 25 in the
US and going gold within three months. The cover of the album created
its own controversy: Mitchell was featured in several photographs,
including one where she was disguised as a black man, wearing a curly
afro wig, a white suit and vest, and dark sunglasses. The character,
whom she called Art Nouveau, was based on a pimp who, she says, once
complimented her while walking down an LA street – and was a symbol
of her turn toward jazz and streetwise lyrics.
A few months after the release of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter,
Mitchell was contacted by the esteemed jazz composer, bandleader and
bassist Charles Mingus, who had heard the orchestrated song "Paprika
Plains", and wanted her to work with him. She began a collaboration
with Mingus, who died before the project was completed in 1979. She
finished the tracks, and the resulting album, Mingus, was released in
June 1979, though it was poorly received in the press. Fans were
confused over such a major change in Mitchell's overall sound, and
though the album topped out at No. 17 on the Billboard album
charts—a higher placement than Don Juan's Reckless Daughter—Mingus
still fell short of gold status, making it her first album since the
1960s to not sell at least a half-million copies.
Mitchell's tour to promote Mingus began in August 1979 in Oklahoma
City and concluded six weeks later with five shows at Los Angeles'
Greek Theatre and one at the Santa Barbara County Bowl, where she
recorded and filmed the concert. It was her first tour in several
years, and with Pastorius, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, and other
members of her band, Mitchell also performed songs from her other
jazz-inspired albums. When the tour ended she began a year of work,
turning the tapes from the
Santa Barbara County Bowl
Santa Barbara County Bowl show into a
two-album set and a concert film, both to be called Shadows and Light.
Her final release on
Asylum Records and her second live double-album,
it was released in September 1980, and made it up to No. 38 on the
Billboard Charts. A single from the LP, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?",
Mitchell's duet with
The Persuasions (her opening act for the tour),
bubbled under on Billboard, just missing the Hot 100.
1981–1993: Pop, electronics and protest
For a year and a half, Mitchell worked on the tracks for her next
album. During this period she recorded with bassist Larry Klein, whom
she married in 1982. While the album was being readied for release,
her friend David Geffen, founder of Asylum Records, decided to start a
new label, Geffen Records. Still distributed by Warner Bros. (who
controlled Asylum Records), Geffen negated the remaining contractual
obligations Mitchell had with Asylum and signed her to his new label.
Wild Things Run Fast
Wild Things Run Fast (1982) marked a return to pop songwriting,
including "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody", which incorporated the
chorus and parts of the melody of the famous The Righteous Brothers
hit, and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care", a remake of the Elvis
chestnut, which charted higher than any Mitchell single since her
1970s sales peak when it climbed to No. 47 on the charts. The album
peaked on the Billboard Charts in its fifth week at No. 25.
Mitchell performing in 1983
In early 1983, Mitchell began a world tour, visiting Japan, Australia,
Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and
Scandinavia and then going back to the United States. A performance
from the tour was videotaped and later released on home video (and
later DVD) as Refuge of the Roads. As 1984 ended, Mitchell was writing
new songs, when she received a suggestion from Geffen that perhaps an
outside producer with experience in the modern technical arenas that
they wanted to explore might be a worthy addition. British synthpop
performer and producer
Thomas Dolby was brought on board. Of Dolby's
role, Mitchell later commented: "I was reluctant when Thomas was
suggested because he had been asked to produce the record [by Geffen],
and would he consider coming in as just a programmer and a player? So
on that level we did have some problems ... He may be able to do
it faster. He may be able to do it better, but the fact is that it
then wouldn't really be my music."
The album that resulted, Dog Eat Dog, released in October 1985, turned
out to be only a moderate seller, peaking at No. 63 on Billboard's Top
Albums Chart, Mitchell's lowest chart position since her first album
peaked at No. 189 almost eighteen years before. One of the songs on
the album, "Tax Free", created controversy by lambasting
"televangelists" and what she saw as a drift to the religious right in
American politics. "The churches came after me", she wrote, "they
attacked me, though the Episcopalian Church, which I've seen described
as the only church in America which actually uses its head, wrote me a
letter of congratulation."
Mitchell continued experimenting with synthesizers, drum machines and
sequencers for the recordings of her next album, 1988's Chalk Mark in
a Rain Storm. She also collaborated with artists including Willie
Nelson, Billy Idol, Wendy & Lisa, Tom Petty, Don Henley, Peter
Benjamin Orr of the Cars. The album's first official
single, "My Secret Place", was in fact a duet with Gabriel, and just
missed the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The song "Lakota" was one of many
songs on the album to take on larger political themes, in this case
the Wounded Knee incident, the deadly battle between Native American
activists and the FBI on
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in the previous
decade. Musically, several songs fit into the trend of world music
popularized by Gabriel during the era. Reviews were mostly favorable
towards the album, and the cameos by well-known musicians brought it
considerable attention. Chalk Mark ultimately improved on the chart
performance of Dog Eat Dog, peaking at No. 45.
In 1990, Mitchell, who by then rarely performed live anymore,
participated in Roger Waters' The Wall Concert in Berlin. She
performed the song "Goodbye Blue Sky" and was also one of the
performers on the concert's final song "The Tide Is Turning" along
with Waters, Cyndi Lauper, Bryan Adams,
Van Morrison and Paul Carrack.
Throughout the first half of 1990, Mitchell recorded songs that
appeared on her next album. She delivered the final mixes for the new
album to Geffen just before Christmas, after trying nearly a hundred
different sequences for the songs. The album
Night Ride Home was
released in March 1991. In the United States, it premiered on
Billboard's Top Album charts at No. 68, moving up to No. 48 in its
second week, and peaking at No. 41 in its sixth week. In the United
Kingdom, the album premiered at No. 25 on the album charts.
Critically, it was better received than her 1980s work and seemed to
signal a move closer to her acoustic beginnings, along with some
references to the style of Hejira. This album was also Mitchell's
Geffen Records was sold to MCA Inc., meaning that Night
Ride Home was her first album not to be initially distributed by WEA
(now Warner Music Group).
1994–2001: Resurgence and vocal development
Mitchell pets President Clinton's dog Buddy in the
Oval Office in 1998
To wider audiences, the real "return to form" for Mitchell came with
1994's Grammy-winning Turbulent Indigo. While the recording period
also saw the divorce of Mitchell and bassist Larry Klein, their
marriage having lasted almost 12 years, Indigo was seen as Mitchell's
most accessible set of songs in years. Songs such as "Sex Kills",
"Sunny Sunday", "Borderline" and "The Magdalene Laundries" mixed
social commentary and guitar-focused melodies for "a startling
comeback". The album won two
Grammy awards, including Best Pop
Album, and it coincided with a much-publicized resurgence in interest
in Mitchell's work by a younger generation of singer-songwriters.
In 1996, Mitchell agreed to release a greatest Hits collection when
label Reprise also allowed her a second album, called Misses, to
include some of the lesser known songs from her career. Hits charted
at No. 161 in the US, but made No. 6 in the UK. Mitchell also included
on Hits, for the first time on an album, her first recording, a
version of "Urge for Going" which preceded
Song to a Seagull
Song to a Seagull but was
previously released only as a B-side.
Joni Mitchell and Peter Bogner listening to premix of Herbie Hancock's
Gershwin's World (
Venice Beach, California
Venice Beach, California in 1999)
Two years later, Mitchell released her final set of "original" new
work before nearly a decade of other pursuits, 1998's Taming the
Tiger. She promoted Tiger with a return to regular concert
appearances, including a co-headlining tour with
Bob Dylan and Van
On the album, Mitchell had played a custom guitar equipped with a
Roland hexaphonic pickup which connected to a Roland VG-8 modeling
processor. The device allowed Mitchell to play any of her many
alternate tunings without having to re-tune the guitar. The guitar's
output, through the VG-8, was transposed to any of her tunings in
real-time. This improved live performance as Mitchell didn't need to
switch guitars between songs.
It was around this time that critics also began to notice a real
change in Mitchell's voice, particularly on her older songs; the
singer later admitted to feeling the same way, explaining that "I'd go
to hit a note and there was nothing there". While her more limited
range and huskier vocals have sometimes been attributed to her smoking
(she has been described as "one of the world's last great smokers"),
Mitchell believes that the changes in her voice that became noticeable
in the 1990s were due to other problems, including vocal nodules, a
compressed larynx, and the lingering effects of having had polio.
In an interview in 2004, she denied that "my terrible habits" had
anything to do with her more limited range and pointed out that
singers often lose the upper register when they pass fifty. In
addition, she contended that in her opinion her voice became a more
interesting and expressive alto range when she could no longer hit the
high notes, let alone hold them like she did in her youth.
The singer's next two albums featured no new songs and, Mitchell has
said, were recorded to "fulfill contractual obligations", but on
both she attempted to make use of her new vocal range in interpreting
Both Sides Now
Both Sides Now (2000) was an album composed mostly
of covers of jazz standards, performed with an orchestra, featuring
orchestral arrangements by Vince Mendoza. The album also contained
remakes of "A Case of You" and the title track "Both Sides Now", two
early hits transposed down to Mitchell's now dusky, soulful alto
range. It received mostly strong reviews and spawned a short national
tour, with Mitchell accompanied by a core band featuring Larry Klein
on bass plus a local orchestra on each tour stop. Its success led to
2002's Travelogue, a collection of re-workings of her previous songs
with lush orchestral accompaniments.
2002–2005: Retirement and retrospectives
Mitchell stated at the time that Travelogue would be her final album.
In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, she voiced discontent with the
current state of the music industry, describing it as a "cesspool".
Mitchell expressed her dislike of the record industry's dominance and
her desire to control her own destiny, possibly by releasing her own
music over the Internet.
During the next few years, the only albums Mitchell released were
compilations of her earlier work. In 2003, her Geffen recordings were
collected in a remastered four-disc box set, The Complete Geffen
Recordings, including notes by Mitchell and three previously
unreleased tracks. A series of themed compilations of songs from
earlier albums were also released:
The Beginning of Survival
The Beginning of Survival (2004),
Dreamland (2004), and
Songs of a Prairie Girl
Songs of a Prairie Girl (2005), the last of
which collected the threads of her Canadian upbringing and which she
released after accepting an invitation to the
concert in Saskatoon. The concert, which featured a tribute to
Mitchell, was also attended by Queen Elizabeth II. In the Prairie Girl
liner notes, she writes that the collection is "my contribution to
Saskatchewan's Centennial celebrations".
In the early 1990s, Mitchell signed a deal with
Random House to
publish an autobiography. In 1998 she told The
New York Times
New York Times that
her memoirs were "in the works", that they would be published in as
many as four volumes, and that the first line would be "I was the only
black man at the party." In 2005, Mitchell said that she was using
a tape recorder to get her memories "down in the oral tradition".
To date, Mitchell's autobiography remains unpublished.
Although Mitchell stated that she would no longer tour or give
concerts, she has made occasional public appearances to speak on
environmental issues. Mitchell divides her time between her
longtime home in Los Angeles, and the 80-acre (32 ha) property in
Sechelt, British Columbia, that she has owned since the early 1970s.
"L.A. is my workplace", she said in 2006, "B.C. is my heartbeat".
According to interviews, today she focuses mainly on her visual art,
which she does not sell and displays only on rare occasions.
2006–2015: Late recordings
In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen in October 2006, Mitchell
"revealed that she was recording her first collection of new songs in
nearly a decade", but gave few other details. Four months later,
in an interview with the New York Times, Mitchell said that the
forthcoming album, titled Shine, was inspired by the war in Iraq and
"something her grandson had said while listening to family fighting:
'Bad dreams are good—in the great plan.'" Early media reports
characterized the album as having "a minimal feel ... that harks
back to [Mitchell's] early work" and a focus on political and
In February 2007, Mitchell returned to
Calgary and served as an
advisor for the
Alberta Ballet Company
Alberta Ballet Company premiere of "The Fiddle and the
Drum", a dance choreographed by Jean Grand-Maître to both new and old
songs. She worked with the French-Canadian TV director Mario
Rouleau, well known for work in art and dance for television, such as
Cirque du Soleil. She also filmed portions of the rehearsals for a
documentary that she is working on. Of the flurry of recent activity
she quipped, "I've never worked so hard in my life."
In mid-2007, Mitchell's official fan-run site confirmed speculation
that she had signed a two-record deal with Starbucks' Hear Music
label. Shine was released by the label on September 25, 2007, debuting
at number 14 on the Billboard 200 album chart, her highest chart
position in the United States since the release of Hejira in 1976,
over thirty years previously, and at number 36 on the United Kingdom
On the same day, Herbie Hancock, a longtime associate and friend of
Mitchell's, released River: The Joni Letters, an album paying tribute
to Mitchell's work. Among the album's contributors were Norah Jones,
Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, and Mitchell herself, who contributed a
vocal to the re-recording of "The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your
Arms)" (originally on her album Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm). On
February 10, 2008, Hancock's recording won Album of the Year at the
Grammy Awards. It was the first time in 43 years that a jazz artist
took the top prize at the annual award ceremony. In accepting the
award, Hancock paid tribute to Mitchell as well as to
Miles Davis and
John Coltrane. At the same ceremony Mitchell won a
Grammy for Best
Instrumental Pop Performance for the opening track, "One Week Last
Summer", from her album Shine.
In a 2010 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Mitchell was quoted as
saying that singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, with whom she had worked
closely in the past, was a fake and a plagiarist. The controversial
remark was widely reported by other media. Mitchell did not
explain the contention further, but several media outlets speculated
that it may have related to the allegations of plagiarism surrounding
some lyrics on Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times. In a 2013
interview with Jian Ghomeshi, she was asked about the comments and
responded by denying that she had made the statement while mentioning
the allegations of plagiarism that arose over the lyrics to Dylan's
2001 album Love and Theft in the general context of the flow and ebb
of the creative process of artists.
In 2009, Mitchell said that she has
Morgellons syndrome, the
informal name given to a self-diagnosed skin condition that is better
explained as delusional infestation in a majority of cases, according
to a study conducted by the CDC as well as consensus within the
medical community. Mitchell spoke to the Los Angeles Times in
2010 about Morgellons, saying, "I have this weird, incurable disease
that seems like it's from outer space, but my health's the best it's
been in a while." She said at that time that she planned to leave the
music industry to work toward giving more credibility to people
diagnosed with Morgellons.
On March 31, 2015, Mitchell was found unconscious in her Los Angeles
home. She regained consciousness in an ambulance on her way to
hospital, but was taken to intensive care for tests. Since then,
there have been conflicting reports about her condition. On April 28,
2015, an official statement was made through JoniMitchell.com:
Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a
coma. Joni is still in the hospital – but she comprehends, she's
alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected. The
document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime
friend Leslie Morris the authority – in the absence of 24-hour
doctor care – to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the
hospital. As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere
near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your
Her longtime friend Leslie Morris invited get-well wishes at a website
called "We Love You, Joni!" In early May, Mitchell's lawyer
released a statement during a court hearing concerning a request for
conservatorship from Morris, stating that Mitchell would soon be
released from the hospital and returning home; but that did not
On May 29, 2015, it was confirmed that Mitchell had suffered a brain
aneurysm and that while speech was difficult, she had been
communicating with others. As of May 2015 Mitchell was expected to be
moved to a rehabilitation facility, as her condition was still
considered to be "very serious". About a month later close friend
David Crosby said "nobody found her for a while" and "to my knowledge,
she is not speaking yet." However, Mitchell's conservator, Leslie
Morris, later released a statement saying that "details that have
emerged in the past few days are mostly speculative. The truth is that
Joni is speaking, and she's speaking well. She is not walking
In July 2015, Mitchell was back at home, undergoing physical therapy
and "making progress", according to her lawyer Rebecca J. Thyne.
In October 2015, Mitchell's friend, singer Judy Collins, reported that
she was taking part in rehabilitation every day and was walking,
talking and painting.
Mitchell made her first public appearance following the aneurysm when
she attended a
Chick Corea concert in Los Angeles in August 2016.
In February 2017 she was escorted to the
Clive Davis annual Pre-Grammy
Gala in Los Angeles by long time friend Cameron Crowe.
Rejection of Baby Boom counter-culture
Despite her prominence among the young musicians of the 1960s and
1970s, and her writing of "Woodstock" (where she was prevented from
performing because her manager thought it was more advantageous to
appear on The Dick Cavett Show), she did not align herself with
the era's protest movements or its cultural manifestations. She has
said that the parents of the boomers were unhappy, and "out of it came
this liberated, spoiled, selfish generation into the costume ball of
free love, free sex, free music, free, free, free, free we're so free.
Woodstock was the culmination of it." But "I was not a part of
that," she explained in an interview. "I was not a part of the
anti-war movement, either. I played in Fort Bragg. I went the Bob Hope
route because I had uncles who died in the war, and I thought it was a
shame to blame the boys who were drafted." Even Bob Dylan, one of the
most iconic musicians of the Baby Boom generation, has not escaped
Mitchell's generational critique: "I like a lot of Bob's songs.
Musically he's not very gifted."
Dr. Joni Mitchell, 15:12, January 7, 2005, CBC Digital Archive
Joni Mitchell on Q – Part 1, 32:43, June 11, 2013, q on CBC
While some of Mitchell's most popular songs were written on piano,
almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open, or
non-standard, tuning; she has written songs in some 50 tunings,
playing what she has called "Joni's weird chords". The use of
alternative tunings allows guitarists to produce accompaniment with
more varied and wide-ranging textures. Her right-hand
picking/strumming technique has evolved over the years from an
initially intricate picking style, typified by the guitar songs on her
first album, to a looser and more rhythmic style, sometimes
incorporating percussive "slaps".
In 1995, Mitchell's friend Fred Walecki, proprietor of Westwood Music
in Los Angeles, developed a solution to alleviate her continuing
frustration with using multiple alternative tunings in live settings.
Walecki designed a Stratocaster-style guitar to function with the
Roland VG-8 virtual guitar, a system capable of configuring her
numerous tunings electronically. While the guitar itself remained in
standard tuning, the VG-8 encoded the pickup signals into digital
signals which were then translated into the altered tunings. This
allowed Mitchell to use one guitar on stage, while an off-stage tech
entered the preprogrammed tuning for each song in her set.
Mitchell was also highly innovative harmonically in her early work
(1966–72) using techniques including modality, chromaticism, and
pedal points. On her 1968 debut album Song to a Seagull, Mitchell
used both quartal and quintal harmony in "Dawntreader", and she used
quintal harmony in Seagull.
In 2003 Rolling Stone named her the 72nd greatest guitarist of all
time; she was the highest-ranked woman on the list.
Mitchell's approach to music struck a chord with many female
listeners. In an era dominated by the stereotypical male rock star,
she presented herself as "multidimensional and conflicted ...
allow[ing] her to build such a powerful identification among her
female fans". Mitchell asserted her desire for artistic control
throughout her career, and still holds the publishing rights for her
music. While she has disclaimed the notion that she is a "feminist",
David Shumway notes that "she became the first woman in popular music
to be recognized as an artist in the full sense of that term." In a
2013 interview she emphatically rejected feminism, stating: "I'm not a
feminist. I don't want to get a posse against men. I'd rather go
toe-to-toe; work it out." Whatever Mitchell's stated views of
feminism, what she represents more than any other performer of her era
is the new prominence of women's perspectives in cultural and
Mitchell's work has had an influence on many other artists, including
Katy Perry, Ellie Goulding, Corinne Bailey Rae, Gabrielle
Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth,
Marillion members Steve
Hogarth and Steve Rothery, their former vocalist and lyricist
Fish, Paul Carrack, Haim, and Taylor Swift. Madonna has
also cited Mitchell as the first female artist that really spoke to
her as a teenager; "I was really, really into Joni Mitchell. I knew
every word to Court and Spark; I worshipped her when I was in high
school. Blue is amazing. I would have to say of all the women I've
heard, she had the most profound effect on me from a lyrical point of
Several artists have had success covering Mitchell's songs. Judy
Collins's 1967 recording of "Both Sides Now" reached No. 8 on
Billboard charts and was a breakthrough in the career of both artists
(Mitchell's own recording did not see release until two years later,
on her second album Clouds). This is Mitchell's most-covered song by
far, with over 1,200 versions recorded at latest count. Hole also
covered "Both Sides Now" in 1991 on their debut album, Pretty on the
Inside, retitling it "Clouds", with the lyrics altered by frontwoman
Courtney Love. Pop group Neighborhood in 1970 and
Amy Grant in 1995
scored hits with covers of "Big Yellow Taxi", the third-most covered
song in Mitchell's repertoire (with over 300 covers). Recent
releases of this song have been by
Counting Crows in 2002 and
Janet Jackson used a sample of the chorus of "Big Yellow Taxi"
as the centerpiece of her 1997 hit single "Got 'Til It's Gone", which
also features rapper Q-Tip saying "
Joni Mitchell never lies". "River",
from Mitchell's album Blue became the second-most covered song of
Mitchell's in 2013 as many artists chose it for their holiday
albums. Rap artists
Kanye West and
Mac Dre have also sampled
Mitchell's vocals in their music. In addition,
Annie Lennox has
covered "Ladies of the Canyon" for the B-side of her 1995 hit "No More
I Love You's".
Mandy Moore covered "
Help Me" in 2003. In 2004 singer
George Michael covered her song "Edith and the Kingpin" for a radio
show. "River" has been one of the most popular songs covered in recent
years, with versions by
Dianne Reeves (1999),
James Taylor (recorded
for television in 2000, and for CD release in 2004), Allison Crowe
Rachael Yamagata (2004),
Aimee Mann (2005), and Sarah
McLachlan (2006). McLachlan also did a version of "Blue" in 1996, and
Cat Power recorded a cover of "Blue" in 2008. Other Mitchell covers
include the famous "Woodstock" by both Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
and Matthews Southern Comfort, "This Flight Tonight" by Nazareth, and
well-known versions of "Woodstock" by
Eva Cassidy and "A Case of You"
by Tori Amos, Michelle Branch, Jane Monheit, Prince, Diana Krall,
James Blake, and Ana Moura. A 40th anniversary version of "Woodstock"
was released in 2009 by Nick Vernier Band featuring Ian Matthews
(formerly of Matthews Southern Comfort). Fellow Canadian singer k.d.
lang recorded two of Mitchell's songs ("A Case of You" and "Jericho")
for her 2004 album
Hymns of the 49th Parallel
Hymns of the 49th Parallel which is composed
entirely of songs written by Canadian artists.
Prince's version of "A Case of U" appeared on A Tribute to Joni
Mitchell, a 2007 compilation released by Nonesuch Records, which also
Björk ("The Boho Dance"),
Caetano Veloso ("Dreamland"),
Emmylou Harris ("The Magdalene Laundries"),
Sufjan Stevens ("Free Man
in Paris") and
Cassandra Wilson ("For the Roses"), among others.
Several other songs reference Joni Mitchell. The song "Our House" by
Graham Nash refers to Nash's two-year affair with Mitchell at the time
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young recorded the Déjà Vu album. Led
Zeppelin's "Going to California" was said to be written about Robert
Plant and Jimmy Page's infatuation with Mitchell, a claim that seems
to be borne out by the fact that, in live performances, Plant often
says "Joni" after the line "To find a queen without a king, they say
she plays guitar and cries and sings".
Jimmy Page uses a double
dropped D guitar tuning similar to the alternative tunings Mitchell
Sonic Youth song "Hey Joni" is named for Mitchell. Alanis
Morissette also mentions Mitchell in one of her songs, "Your House".
British folk singer
Frank Turner mentions Mitchell in his song
"Sunshine State". The Prince song "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker"
contains the lyric – " 'Oh, my favorite song' she said – and it
was Joni singing '
Help me I think I'm falling' ". "Lavender" by
Marillion was partly influenced by "going through parks listening to
Joni Mitchell", according to vocalist and lyricist Fish, and she
was later mentioned in the lyrics of their song "Montreal" from Sounds
That Can't Be Made.
John Mayer makes reference to Mitchell and her
Blue album in his song "Queen of California", from his 2012 album Born
and Raised. The song contains the lyric "Joni wrote Blue in a house by
In 2003, playwright
Bryden MacDonald launched When All the Slaves Are
Free, a musical revue based on Mitchell's music.
Mitchell's music and poems have deeply influenced the French painter
Jacques Benoit's work. Between 1979 and 1989 Benoit produced sixty
paintings, corresponding to a selection of fifty of Mitchell's
Maynard James Keenan
Maynard James Keenan of the American progressive rock band Tool has
cited Mitchell as an influence, claiming that her influence is what
allows him to "soften [staccato, rhythmic, insane mathematical paths]
and bring [them] back to the center, so you can listen to it without
having an eye-ache." A Perfect Circle, another band featuring
Keenan as lead vocalist, recorded a rendition of Mitchell's "The
Fiddle and the Drum" on their 2004 album eMOTIVe, a collection of
anti-war cover songs.
Awards and honours
Joni Mitchell's star on Canada's Walk of Fame
Mitchell's home country of Canada has bestowed several honours on her.
She was inducted into the
Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and
Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime
Artistic Achievement, Canada's highest honour in the performing arts,
in 1996. Mitchell received a star on
Canada's Walk of Fame
Canada's Walk of Fame in
2000. In 2002 she became only the third popular Canadian
Gordon Lightfoot and
Leonard Cohen being the other
two), to be appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's
highest civilian honour. She received an honorary doctorate in
McGill University in 2004. In January 2007 she was inducted
into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In June 2007 Canada Post
featured Mitchell on a postage stamp.
Mitchell has received nine
Grammy Awards during her career (eight
competitive, one honorary), the first in 1969 and the most recent in
2016. She received a
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, with
the citation describing her as "one of the most important female
recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all
artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity".
In 1995, Mitchell received Billboard's Century Award. In 1996, she was
awarded the Polar Music Prize. In 1997, Mitchell was inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but did not attend the ceremony.
In tribute to Mitchell, the TNT network presented an all-star
celebration at the
Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on April 6,
2000. Mitchell's songs were sung by many performers, including James
Taylor, Elton John, Wynonna Judd, Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper, Diana
Krall, and Richard Thompson. Mitchell herself ended the evening with a
rendition of "Both Sides Now" with a 70-piece orchestra. The
version was featured on the soundtrack to the movie Love Actually.
On February 12, 2010, "Both Sides, Now" was performed at the 2010
Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver.
To celebrate Mitchell's 70th birthday, the 2013
Luminato Festival in
Toronto held a set of tribute concerts entitled Joni: A Portrait in
Song – A Birthday Happening Live at
Massey Hall on June 18 and 19.
Performers included Rufus Wainwright, Herbie Hancock, Esperanza
Spalding, and rare performances by Mitchell herself.
Due to health problems she could not attend the San Francisco gala in
May 2015 to receive the
SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2008, Mitchell was ranked 42nd on Rolling Stone's "100 greatest
singers" list and in 2015 she was ranked ninth on their list of the
100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.
Best Folk Performance
Album of the Year
Court and Spark
Record of the Year
Pop Female Vocalist
Court and Spark
Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
"Down to You"
Pop Female Vocalist
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
Best Album Package
Pop Female Vocalist
Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
Best Pop Album
Best Album Package
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Both Sides, Now
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
Both Sides, Now
Lifetime Achievement Award
Album of the Year
River: The Joni Letters
Best Pop Instrumental Performance
"One Week Last Summer"
Best Album Notes
Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced
*Although officially a
Herbie Hancock release, Mitchell also received
Grammy due to her vocal contribution to the album.
Female Vocalist of the Year
Canadian Hall of Fame
Folk Artist of the Year
Female Artist of the Year
Songwriter of the Year
Best Roots & Traditional Album
Taming the Tiger
Best Pop/Adult Album
Both Sides Now
Producer of the Year
Joni Mitchell discography
1968: Song to a Seagull
1970: Ladies of the Canyon
1972: For the Roses
1974: Court and Spark
1975: The Hissing of Summer Lawns
1977: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
1982: Wild Things Run Fast
1985: Dog Eat Dog
1988: Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
1991: Night Ride Home
1994: Turbulent Indigo
1998: Taming the Tiger
2000: Both Sides Now
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Linda Ronstadt polished their talents at Chessmate
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^ Monk p. 74
^ Tom King, The Operator:
David Geffen Builds, Buys, and Sells the New
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^ a b Shumway, David R. (2014). Rock Star: The Making of Musical Icons
Elvis to Springsteen. Johns Hopkins University Press.
pp. 159, 150. ISBN 978-1-4214-1392-1.
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Fischer talks to
Joni Mitchell about her seminal album, Hejira". The
Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved March 9, 2007.
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Joni Mitchell enters the rock canon". Genders (56). Retrieved
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Joni Mitchell in person"
(reprint). Toronto Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 11, 2007.
^ a b c Eggar, Robin (February 11, 2007). "The Renaissance Woman"
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^ National Public Radio.
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The Washington Post, June 15, 2005. Retrieved on September 25, 2007.
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^ "Contact Us". JoniMitchell.com. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
^ a b Yaffe, David (February 4, 2007). "DANCE: Working Three Shifts,
And Outrage Overtime". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8,
^ From the DVD Fiddle and the Drum cover
^ From the cover of the DVD: Cirque du Soleil, the concert, 2015
^ "Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" Set For Release on
September 25th". HerbieHancock.com. August 1, 2007. Archived from the
original on April 30, 2008. Retrieved December 8, 2014.
^ a b "Mitchell: Dylan's a 'fake'". NBC Today Show.
^ Michaels, Sean (April 23, 2010). "
Bob Dylan is 'a plagiarist',
claims Joni Mitchell". The Guardian. London.
Joni Mitchell talks to
Jian Ghomeshi about death,
hippies, art and getting 'Banffed'". CBC Music. June 6, 2013.
Retrieved June 12, 2013. [dead link]
Joni Mitchell Hopes To Spread 'Fiddle'". Billboard. February 20,
2009. Retrieved February 21, 2011.
^ Masterson, Andrew (August 7, 2015), "Cyberchondria could kill you",
The Sydney Morning Herald
^ "Unexplained Dermopathy (UD) Study – Background and Summary".
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Archived from the original
on April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
^ Diehl, Matt (April 22, 2010). "It's a
Joni Mitchell concert, sans
Joni". The Los Angeles Times.
Joni Mitchell in 'intensive care' in Los Angeles hospital". BBC
News. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
^ Leslie Morris (April 3, 2015). "Update on Joni's health".
JoniMitchell.com. Retrieved November 30, 2015.
Joni Mitchell Suffered a Brain Aneurysm: Sources". Billboard. May
29, 2015. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
^ Ramisetti, Kirthana (June 27, 2015). "
Joni Mitchell suffered
aneurysm and cannot speak,
David Crosby says". New York Daily News.
Retrieved June 28, 2015.
^ Friedman, Roger (June 28, 2015). "Joni Mitchell's conservator
confirms our story: singer had a brain aneurysm". Showbiz411.
Retrieved June 28, 2015.
Joni Mitchell has made 'remarkable progress', says lawyer". BBC
News. July 7, 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015.
Joni Mitchell 'making progress' says friend Judy Collins". BBC
News. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
Joni Mitchell attends gig as she continues recovery from aneurysm".
The Guardian. 22 August 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2017.
^ "Joni Mitchell, escorted by Cameron Crowe, attends Clive Davis
Grammy Gala", AOL, February 12, 2017
^ William Ruhlmann, "Joni Mitchell: From Blue to Indigo", Goldmine
(1995) republished in Stacey Luftig, ed., The
Joni Mitchell Companion:
Four Decades of Commentary New York: Schirmer Books, pp. 37–38. Also
available online at the
Joni Mitchell Library
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Jian Ghomeshi (10 June 2013). "The
Joni Mitchell Interview".
youtube.com. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
^ "Dr. Joni Mitchell". CBC Digital Archive. January 7, 2005. Retrieved
October 17, 2016.
Joni Mitchell on Q". CBC Radio. June 11, 2013. Retrieved October
^ "JMDL LIBRARY: The guitar odyssey of Joni Mitchell: My Secret Place:
Acoustic Guitar, August 1996". Jonimitchell.com. Retrieved November
^ Lloyd Whitesell, "Harmonic Palette in Early Joni Mitchell", p. 173.
Popular Music, Vol. 21, No. 2, (May 2002), pp. 173–93. Cambridge
^ Whitesell, p. 131, 202–203
^ Garland, Emma (January 10, 2017). "A Deep Dive into Katy Perry's
2007 Myspace Page". Noisey. Vice Media. Retrieved January 20,
^ Elisa Bray (November 1, 2013). "The
Joni Mitchell generation: James
Corinne Bailey Rae
Corinne Bailey Rae and others pay tribute". The Independent.
Retrieved March 29, 2016.
^ Hart, Josh (September 29, 2011). "Interview: Opeth's Mikael
Akerfeldt Talks About the Band's New Album, 'Heritage'". Guitar World.
Retrieved October 28, 2012.
^ "An Interview with Marillion's Steve Hogarth". The Huffington Post.
September 11, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
^ Thore, Kim. "
Steve Rothery interview". All Access Magazine.
Retrieved August 10, 2014.
^ "This Must Be The Plaice: Fish's Favourite Albums". The Quietus. May
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^ "Squeeze and Roxy Music's
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January 16, 2013. Retrieved June 14, 2013.
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^ Hirshey, Gerri (November 13, 1997). "The Women in Rock Interviews".
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Retrieved August 26, 2012.
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modern drama: M-Z, Volume 2 (p. 843). Columbia University Press, 2007.
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Maynard James Keenan
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by the 'Blue' Singer". Rolling Stone. June 22, 2016. Retrieved October
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^ "Joni: A Portrait in Song presented by
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Broadcasting Corporation. June 19, 2013. Retrieved September 13,
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Retrieved June 12, 2015.
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^ "The 100 greatest songwriters of all time". Rolling Stone. August
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Monk, Katherine (2012). Joni: The Creative Odyssey of Joni Mitchell.
Greystone Books. ISBN 978-1-55365-838-2.
Whitesell, Lloyd (2008). The Music of Joni Mitchell. Oxford Univ.
Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530757-3.
Mercer, Michelle (April 7, 2009). Will You Take Me As I Am: Joni
Mitchell's Blue Period. Free Press. ISBN 978-1-4165-5929-0.
Smith, Larry David (January 1, 2004).
Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell,
and the Torch Song Tradition. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Weller, Sheila (April 8, 2008). Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni
Mitchell, Carly Simon—And the Journey of a Generation. Simon and
Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7434-9147-1.
Yaffe, David (2017). Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. ISBN 978-0-374-71560-1.
Find more aboutJoni Mitchellat's sister projects
Media from Wikimedia Commons
Quotations from Wikiquote
Data from Wikidata
Joni Mitchell's Secret – The full story of Mitchell giving up her
daughter Kilauren Gibb (Kelly Dale Anderson) for adoption.
The Emergence of
Joni Mitchell – public radio special
Joni Mitchell at AllMusic
Joni Mitchell on IMDb
Joni Mitchell – Solon.com at the
Wayback Machine (archived April 6,
Joni Mitchell bio – Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words at CBC.ca
Song to a Seagull
Song to a Seagull (1968)
Ladies of the Canyon (1970)
For the Roses (1972)
Court and Spark
Court and Spark (1974)
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975)
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (1977)
Wild Things Run Fast
Wild Things Run Fast (1982)
Dog Eat Dog (1985)
Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm (1988)
Night Ride Home (1991)
Turbulent Indigo (1994)
Taming the Tiger
Taming the Tiger (1998)
Both Sides Now
Both Sides Now (2000)
Miles of Aisles
Shadows and Light
Amchitka, The 1970 Concert That Launched Greenpeace
The Beginning of Survival
Songs of a Prairie Girl
Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, a Ballet, Waiting to Be Danced
Singles & key songs
"Both Sides, Now"
"Big Yellow Taxi"
"This Flight Tonight"
"The Last Time I Saw Richard"
"You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio"
"Free Man in Paris"
"Down to You"
"You've Got a Friend"
"You Can Close Your Eyes"
"Long Ago and Far Away"
The Last Waltz
The Wall – Live in Berlin
"Got 'til It's Gone"
River: The Joni Letters
Laureates of the Polar Music Prize
Paul McCartney / the
Baltic states (1992)
Dizzy Gillespie /
Witold Lutosławski (1993)
Quincy Jones /
Nikolaus Harnoncourt (1994)
Elton John /
Mstislav Rostropovich (1995)
Joni Mitchell /
Pierre Boulez (1996)
Bruce Springsteen /
Eric Ericson (1997)
Ray Charles /
Ravi Shankar (1998)
Stevie Wonder /
Iannis Xenakis (1999)
Bob Dylan /
Isaac Stern (2000)
Burt Bacharach /
Robert Moog /
Karlheinz Stockhausen (2001)
Miriam Makeba /
Sofia Gubaidulina (2002)
Keith Jarrett (2003)
B.B. King /
György Ligeti (2004)
Gilberto Gil /
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (2005)
Led Zeppelin /
Valery Gergiev (2006)
Sonny Rollins /
Steve Reich (2007)
Pink Floyd /
Renée Fleming (2008)
Peter Gabriel /
José Antonio Abreu
José Antonio Abreu /
El Sistema (2009)
Ennio Morricone (2010)
Kronos Quartet /
Patti Smith (2011)
Paul Simon /
Yo-Yo Ma (2012)
Youssou N'Dour /
Kaija Saariaho (2013)
Chuck Berry /
Peter Sellars (2014)
Emmylou Harris /
Evelyn Glennie (2015)
Max Martin /
Cecilia Bartoli (2016)
Wayne Shorter (2017)
Afghanistan National Institute of Music (2018)
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 1997
Bee Gees (Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb, Robin Gibb)
Buffalo Springfield (Richie Furay, Dewey Martin, Bruce Palmer, Stephen
Stills, Neil Young)
Crosby, Stills, & Nash (David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills)
The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 (Jackie Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson,
Michael Jackson, Tito Jackson)
Parliament-Funkadelic (Jerome Brailey, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins,
Raymond Davis, Tiki Fulwood, Glenn Goins, Michael Hampton, Fuzzy
Haskins, Eddie Hazel, Walter Morrison, Cordell Mosson, Billy Bass
Nelson, Garry Shider, Calvin Simon, Grady Thomas, Bernie Worrell)
The (Young) Rascals (Eddie Brigati, Felix Cavaliere, Gene Cornish,
(Ahmet Ertegun Award)
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Music from Peter Gunn
The Music from Peter Gunn –
Henry Mancini (1959)
Come Dance with Me! –
Frank Sinatra (1960)
The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart
The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart –
Bob Newhart (1961)
Judy at Carnegie Hall
Judy at Carnegie Hall –
Judy Garland (1962)
The First Family –
Vaughn Meader (1963)
The Barbra Streisand Album
The Barbra Streisand Album –
Barbra Streisand (1964)
Getz/Gilberto – Stan Getz,
João Gilberto (1965)
September of My Years –
Frank Sinatra (1966)
A Man and His Music –
Frank Sinatra (1967)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band –
The Beatles (1968)
By the Time I Get to Phoenix –
Glen Campbell (1969)
Blood, Sweat & Tears – Blood, Sweat & Tears (1970)
Bridge over Troubled Water
Bridge over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel (1971)
Carole King (1972)
The Concert for Bangladesh – Various (1973)
Stevie Wonder (1974)
Fulfillingness' First Finale
Fulfillingness' First Finale –
Stevie Wonder (1975)
Still Crazy After All These Years
Still Crazy After All These Years –
Paul Simon (1976)
Songs in the Key of Life
Songs in the Key of Life –
Stevie Wonder (1977)
Fleetwood Mac (1978)
Saturday Night Fever – Bee Gees/Various (1979)
52nd Street –
Billy Joel (1980)
Christopher Cross –
Christopher Cross (1981)
Double Fantasy –
John Lennon and
Yoko Ono (1982)
Toto IV – Toto (1983)
Michael Jackson (1984)
Can't Slow Down –
Lionel Richie (1985)
No Jacket Required
No Jacket Required –
Phil Collins (1986)
Paul Simon (1987)
The Joshua Tree
The Joshua Tree – U2 (1988)
George Michael (1989)
Nick of Time –
Bonnie Raitt (1990)
Back on the Block
Back on the Block –
Quincy Jones and various artists (1991)
Unforgettable... with Love –
Natalie Cole (1992)
Eric Clapton (1993)
The Bodyguard –
Whitney Houston (1994)
MTV Unplugged –
Tony Bennett (1995)
Jagged Little Pill
Jagged Little Pill –
Alanis Morissette (1996)
Falling into You
Falling into You –
Celine Dion (1997)
Time Out of Mind –
Bob Dylan (1998)
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill –
Lauryn Hill (1999)
Supernatural – Santana (2000)
Two Against Nature
Two Against Nature –
Steely Dan (2001)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack (2002)
Come Away with Me
Come Away with Me –
Norah Jones (2003)
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below –
Genius Loves Company
Genius Loves Company –
Ray Charles and various artists (2005)
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb – U2 (2006)
Taking the Long Way
Taking the Long Way –
Dixie Chicks (2007)
River: The Joni Letters –
Herbie Hancock (2008)
Raising Sand –
Robert Plant &
Alison Krauss (2009)
Taylor Swift (2010)
The Suburbs –
Arcade Fire (2011)
Babel – Mumford & Sons (2013)
Random Access Memories
Random Access Memories –
Daft Punk (2014)
Morning Phase –
Taylor Swift (2016)
24K Magic –
Bruno Mars (2018)
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