Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell

Overview
Joni Mitchell, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

, singer songwriter, and painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 and Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

 and then busking
Busking
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles...

 in the streets and dives of Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

. In 1965 she moved to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and, touring constantly, began to be recognized when her original songs ("Urge for Going," "Chelsea Morning
Chelsea Morning
"Chelsea Morning" is a song written by Joni Mitchell and introduced on the singer's 1969 album Clouds..The song was inspired by Mitchell's room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The inspiration for the first verse comes partly from the distinct décor of her apartment...

," "Both Sides, Now," "The Circle Game") were covered by notable folk singer
Folk Singer
Folk Singer is a 1964 album by Muddy Waters. Waters plays acoustic guitar, backed by Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar...

s, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her own debut album in 1968.
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Quotations

I need to explore and discover and so that has given me, really, to some what seems like courage, but really it's just in my stars, there's nothing I can do about it . . . . I guess I'll just take my award and run now.

Said on being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, www.chartattack.com (January 29, 2007)

I don't like being too looked up at or too looked down on. I prefer meeting in the middle to being worshipped or spat out.

The New York Times (February 4, 2007)

Any time I make a record it's followed by a painting period. It's good crop rotation.

I was demanding of myself a deeper and greater honesty, more and more revelation in my work in order to give it back to the people where it goes into their lives and nourishes them and changes their direction and makes light bulbs go off in their head and makes them feel. And it isn't vague, it strikes against the very nerves of their life and in order to do that you have to strike against the very nerves of your own.

On the writing period of Blue

There's been a tremendous amount of growth. An actress is not expected to continue to play her ingenue roles, you know, I've written myself roles to grow into gracefully, but there is no growing into gracefully in the pop world. Basically the reason I'm so unruly in this business is because I never wanted to be a human jukebox.

In our possessive coupling So much could not be expressed So now I'm returning to myself These things that you and I suppressed.

"Hejira"

You go down to the pick up station Craving warmth and beauty You settle for less than fascination A few drinks later you're not so choosy When the closing lights strip off the shadows On this strange new flesh you've found Clutching the night to you like a fig leaf You hurry To the blackness And the blankets To lay down an impression And your loneliness.

"Down to You" from Court and Spark

Oh, you're in my blood like holy wine, You taste so bitter and so sweet Oh I could drink a case of you, darling And I would still be on my feet I would still be on my feet.

"A Case of You" from Blue

Rows and flows of angel hair, And ice cream castles in the air, And feather canyons ev’rywhere, I’ve looked at clouds that way. But now they only block the sun, They rain and snow on ev’ryone, So many things I would have done But clouds got in my way.

"Both Sides Now"

I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, From up and down, and still somehow It’s cloud illusions I recall, I really don’t know clouds at all.

"Both Sides Now"
Encyclopedia
Joni Mitchell, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 (born Roberta Joan Anderson; November 7, 1943) is a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 musician
Musician
A musician is an artist who plays a musical instrument. It may or may not be the person's profession. Musicians can be classified by their roles in performing music and writing music.Also....* A person who makes music a profession....

, singer songwriter, and painter
Painting
Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a surface . The application of the medium is commonly applied to the base with a brush but other objects can be used. In art, the term painting describes both the act and the result of the action. However, painting is...

. Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

 and Western Canada
Western Canada
Western Canada, also referred to as the Western provinces and commonly as the West, is a region of Canada that includes the four provinces west of the province of Ontario.- Provinces :...

 and then busking
Busking
Street performance or busking is the practice of performing in public places, for gratuities, which are generally in the form of money and edibles...

 in the streets and dives of Toronto
Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

. In 1965 she moved to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and, touring constantly, began to be recognized when her original songs ("Urge for Going," "Chelsea Morning
Chelsea Morning
"Chelsea Morning" is a song written by Joni Mitchell and introduced on the singer's 1969 album Clouds..The song was inspired by Mitchell's room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The inspiration for the first verse comes partly from the distinct décor of her apartment...

," "Both Sides, Now," "The Circle Game") were covered by notable folk singer
Folk Singer
Folk Singer is a 1964 album by Muddy Waters. Waters plays acoustic guitar, backed by Willie Dixon on string bass, Clifton James on drums, and Buddy Guy on acoustic guitar...

s, allowing her to sign with Reprise Records and record her own debut album in 1968. Settling in Southern California
Southern California
Southern California is a megaregion, or megapolitan area, in the southern area of the U.S. state of California. Large urban areas include Greater Los Angeles and Greater San Diego. The urban area stretches along the coast from Ventura through the Southland and Inland Empire to San Diego...

, Mitchell and her popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi
Big Yellow Taxi
"Big Yellow Taxi" is a song written and originally performed by Joni Mitchell in 1970. It was a big hit in her native Canada as well as Australia and the UK...

" and "Woodstock
Woodstock (song)
"Woodstock" is a song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival of 1969.Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told it would be more advantageous to appear on The Dick Cavett Show by...

" helped define an era and a generation. Her more starkly personal 1971 recording Blue
Blue (Joni Mitchell album)
Blue is the fourth album of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. 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...

 has been called one of the best albums ever made. Musically restless, Mitchell switched labels and began moving toward jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 rhythms by way of lush pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 textures on 1974's Court and Spark
Court and Spark
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

, her best-selling LP, featuring her radio hits "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris
Free Man in Paris
"Free Man In Paris" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It appeared on her 1974 album Court and Spark, as well as her live album Shadows and Light. It is one of her most popular songs...

."

Mitchell's wide-ranging vocals and her distinctive open-tuned guitar and piano compositions grew more harmonically and rhythmically complex as she explored jazz, melding it with her influences in rock n roll
Rock N Roll
-Personnel:*Ryan Adams - Bass, Composer, Costume Design, Guitar, Keyboards, Multi Instruments, Vocals, Vocals *Billie Joe Armstrong - Vocals *Melissa Auf der Maur - Vocals...

, R&B, classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 and non-western beats
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local music"...

. Mitchell's experimental
Art rock
Art rock is a subgenre of rock music that originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, with influences from art, avant-garde, and classical music. The first usage of the term, according to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, was in 1968. Influenced by the work of The Beatles, most notably their Sgt...

 run of jazz-inspired albums, including 1975's The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns is a studio album by Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell.-Reception:The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and although the album achieved initial commercial success, reaching number four on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers...

 and 1976's Hejira
Hejira (album)
Hejira is a 1976 folk/rock/jazz album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The album title is a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra, which means "journey", referring specifically to the prophet Muhammad's and his followers' escape from Mecca to Medina in 622...

, confused many and hurt Mitchell's sales at the time, but they are acclaimed today. In the late 1970s, she began working closely with noted jazz musicians, among them Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
John Francis Anthony Pastorius III , known as Jaco Pastorius, was an American jazz musician and composer widely acknowledged as a virtuoso electric bass player....

, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter is an American jazz saxophonist and composer.He is generally acknowledged to be jazz's greatest living composer, and many of his compositions have become standards...

, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound...

, Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Patrick Bruce "Pat" Metheny is an American jazz guitarist and composer.One of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz musicians to come to prominence in the 1970s and '80s, he is the leader of the Pat Metheny Group and is also involved in duets, solo works and other side projects...

 and Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and civil rights activist.Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third stream, free jazz, and classical music...

, the latter of whom asked her to collaborate on his final recordings. In her later work Mitchell turned again toward pop, embraced electronic music
Electronic music
Electronic music is music that employs electronic musical instruments and electronic music technology in its production. In general a distinction can be made between sound produced using electromechanical means and that produced using electronic technology. Examples of electromechanical sound...

, and engaged in political protest. Mitchell was also the sole record producer
Record producer
A record producer is an individual working within the music industry, whose job is to oversee and manage the recording of an artist's music...

 credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s. With roots in visual art, she designed her own album artwork throughout her career. A blunt critic of the music industry, Mitchell quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. Now based in British Columbia
British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...

, she describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance."

Mitchell has been deeply influential on fellow musicians in a diverse range of genres, and her work is highly respected by critics. Allmusic said, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century," and Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever." Mitchell's lyrics have been noted for their offhand poetic imagery, addressing social and environmental ideals alongside individual feelings of romantic longing, confusion, disillusion and joy.

Early life


Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta
Alberta
Alberta is a province of Canada. It had an estimated population of 3.7 million in 2010 making it the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces...

, Canada, to Bill Anderson and Myrtle Anderson (née McKee). Her mother's ancestors were Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 and Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

; her father's were Norwegian and Sami
Sami people
The Sami people, also spelled Sámi, or Saami, are the arctic indigenous people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses parts of far northern Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Kola Peninsula of Russia, and the border area between south and middle Sweden and Norway. The Sámi are Europe’s northernmost...

. Her mother was a teacher, and her father an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
The history of the Royal Canadian Air Force begins in 1920, when the air force was created as the Canadian Air Force . In 1924 the CAF was renamed the Royal Canadian Air Force and granted royal sanction by King George V. The RCAF existed as an independent service until 1968...

. During the war years
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, she moved with her parents to a number of bases in western Canada. After the war, her father began working as a grocer, and his work took the family to Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is a prairie province in Canada, which has an area of . Saskatchewan is bordered on the west by Alberta, on the north by the Northwest Territories, on the east by Manitoba, and on the south by the U.S. states of Montana and North Dakota....

, to the towns of Maidstone
Maidstone, Saskatchewan
-Transportation:The community is served by Maidstone Aerodrome which is located northwest.-External links:...

 and North Battleford, along the North Saskatchewan River
North Saskatchewan River
The North Saskatchewan River is a glacier-fed river that flows east from the Canadian Rockies to central Saskatchewan. It is one of two major rivers that join to make up the Saskatchewan River....

. She later sang about her small town upbringing in "Song for Sharon."

In Maidstone, a "two-block, one church, one hotel town," Joni's family lived without indoor plumbing and running water. Many of the other residents were First Nations
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 people. Canadians of European origin such as Joni's grandfather had only begun to settle there in recent decades. The town was along the old railway, and the line ran right behind her bedroom. She used to "sit up in bed each morning to watch the one train that always passed daily." Joni said, "The weird thing is that years later my parents met the conductor of that train at a party. He said: 'All I remember of your town is a house with Christmas decorations and a kid that used to wave at me.'" Joni loved spending time outdoors. She also said, "My mother raised me on words... Where other parents would quote from the Bible, she would quote from Shakespeare. She was a romantic woman. She encouraged me in all those old-fashioned things. I kept pressed-flower scrap books."

Joni's father was an amateur musician who loved swing records and played trumpet in marching bands, and Joni would join in town parades with her father's band and other children. Many of her childhood friends were taking music lessons, and she would tag along to their performances, where she developed her first musical obsessions: Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Chopin and Beethoven. Much later, the first LP she saved up to buy was Rachmaninov's Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini
The Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini in A minor, Op. 43 is a concertante work written by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is written for solo piano and symphony orchestra, closely resembling a piano concerto. The work was written at Villa Senar, according to the score, from July 3 to August 18, 1934...

. Mitchell briefly studied classical piano between the ages of six and seven. She said, "I wanted to play... I wanted to do what I do now, which is to lay my hand on it and to memorize what comes off of it and to create with it. But my music teacher told me I played by ear which was a sin, you know, and that I would never be able to read these pieces because I memorized things... I didn't fall into the norm for that system, so I dropped that."

At the age of eight, Joni contracted polio
Poliomyelitis
Poliomyelitis, often called polio or infantile paralysis, is an acute viral infectious disease spread from person to person, primarily via the fecal-oral route...

 during a 1951 Canadian epidemic, the same one in which singer Neil Young
Neil Young
Neil Percival Young, OC, OM is a Canadian singer-songwriter who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation...

, then aged five and living in Ontario, also contracted the virus. It was the last major epidemic in North America before Jonas Salk
Jonas Salk
Jonas Edward Salk was an American medical researcher and virologist, best known for his discovery and development of the first safe and effective polio vaccine. He was born in New York City to parents from Ashkenazi Jewish Russian immigrant families...

's polio vaccine
Polio vaccine
Two polio vaccines are used throughout the world to combat poliomyelitis . The first was developed by Jonas Salk and first tested in 1952. Announced to the world by Salk on April 12, 1955, it consists of an injected dose of inactivated poliovirus. An oral vaccine was developed by Albert Sabin...

 was successfully tested. Bedridden for weeks in hospital, Joni became aware she would have to move across the hall and live in an iron lung
Iron lung
A negative pressure ventilator is a form of medical ventilator that enables a person to breathe when normal muscle control has been lost or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability....

 for the remainder of her life if her condition worsened. As she later described, it was during her time in hospital that winter that she first became interested in singing. She told the story later:

"They said I might not walk again, and that I would not be able to go home for Christmas. I wouldn't go for it. So I started to sing Christmas carols and I used to sing them real loud... The boy in the bed next to me, you know, used to complain. And I discovered I was a ham."


Before she suffered polio, Mitchell had been interested in the arts, but she had been more athletic herself than artistic. Once she recovered, she realized she would no longer be able to compete with the fastest swimmers or runners, and as a compensation she became interested in dancing. At the age of nine she also began smoking, a lifelong habit. Mitchell's smoking has been the subject of criticism from journalists, who blame it for changes in her voice in later decades of her life, but Mitchell has denied the connection, expressing no regret for what she calls "my terrible habits."

When Mitchell was eleven years old, her family settled in the city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which she considers her hometown. Mitchell had always been inspired by the beauty of the Canadian frontier, but she had developed into "a bad student" frustrated by the educational outlook in the provincial towns where she grew up, and school in Saskatoon did not inspire her either. Mitchell's initially dedicated note-taking in class would be replaced by a mess of drawings in her notebooks by year's end, and her report cards would say, "Joan does not relate well." She said, "The way I saw the educational system from an early age was that it taught you what to think, not how to think. There was no liberty, really, for free thinking. You were being trained to fit into a society where free thinking was a nuisance. I liked some of my teachers very much, but I had no interest in their subjects. So I would appease them—I think they perceived that I was not a dummy, although my report card didn't look like it. I would line the math room with ink drawings and portraits of the mathematicians. I did a tree of life for my biology teacher. I was always staying late at the school, down on my knees painting something."

Mitchell was drawn to art, but "growing up just at the time before arts were included as a part of education... at that time I was kind of a freak." In seventh grade, she had "one radical teacher... a reverer of spirit... He criticized my habit of copying pictures. No one else did. They praised me as a prodigy for my technique. 'You like to paint?' he asked. I nodded. 'If you can paint with a brush you can paint with words.' He drew out my poetry. He was a great disciplinarian in his own punk style. We loved him... I wrote an epic poem in class - I labored to impress him. I got it back circled in red with 'cliché, cliche.' 'White as newly fallen snow' - 'cliche'; 'high upon a silver shadowed hill' - 'cliche.' At the bottom he said, 'Write about what you know, it's more interesting.'" Mitchell talked about "going out after the rain and gathering tadpoles in an empty mayonnaise jar," and he suggested she put her experience in writing. Mitchell's debut album included a dedication to the teacher, "Mr. Kratzman, who taught me to love words."

Mitchell wrote poetry as well. She said, "I was good in composition, but I wasn't good in the dissection of English... I wasn't scholastically good in it because I didn't like to break it down and analyze it in that manner, and I liked to speak in slang." Mitchell said, "I finally flunked out in the twelfth grade. I went back later and picked up the subjects that I lost." She said, "My identity, since it wasn't through the grade system, was that I was a good dancer and an artist... I made a lot of my own clothes. I worked in ladies' wear and I modeled. I had access to sample clothes that were too fashionable for our community... I would go hang out on the streets dressed to the T... I hung out downtown with the Ukrainians and the Indians... When I went back to my own neighborhood, I found that I had a provocative image. They thought I was loose because I always liked rowdies... But there also came a stage when my friends who were juvenile delinquents suddenly became criminals. They could go into very dull jobs or they could go into crime. Crime is very romantic in your youth. I suddenly thought, 'Here's where the romance ends. I don't see myself in jail...'"

Mitchell loved rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

. She said, "When I was in my teens, rock 'n' roll was only on the radio from 4 o'clock to 5 o'clock- after school- and two hours on Saturdays. If you didn't have a record player and you just HAD to hear those sounds, you went where there was a jukebox... I hung around two cafés
Canadian Chinese cuisine
Canadian Chinese cuisine is a popular style of cooking exclusive to take-out and dine-in eateries found across Canada. It was the first form of commercially available Chinese food available in Canada. This cooking style was invented by early Cantonese immigrants who adapted traditional Chinese...

 that had jukeboxes. The AM Café was close to my house, and the CM Café was on the other side of town and I was forbidden to go there. They were owned by two Chinese guys- Artie Mack and Charlie Mack. You could loiter in the booths and you could smoke there." As a teenager in the late 1950s, she said, "I loved to dance. That was my thing. I instigated a Wednesday night dance 'cause I could hardly make it to the weekends. For dancing, I loved Chuck Berry. Ray Charles. 'What I'd Say.' I liked Elvis Presley. I liked the Everly Brothers. But then this thing happened. Rock & roll went through a really dumb vanilla period. And during that period, folk music came in to fill the hole. At that point I had friends who'd have parties and sit around and sing Kingston Trio songs. That's when I started to sing again. That's why I bought an instrument. To sing at those parties."

Mitchell bought herself a ukulele
Ukulele
The ukulele, ; from ; it is a subset of the guitar family of instruments, generally with four nylon or gut strings or four courses of strings....

 in 1957. She had wanted a guitar, but her mother, with rural roots herself, strongly opposed the idea because of the "hillybilly" image she connected with the guitar. Before rock n roll, guitar in rural Canada had been mainly used in country and western music and was still widely associated with that genre. Mitchell eventually was able to get a guitar, but she continued to play baritone ukulele well into the early 1960s. She initially taught herself how to play guitar out of a Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger
Peter "Pete" Seeger is an American folk singer and was an iconic figure in the mid-twentieth century American folk music revival. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead...

 songbook, but she never finished the book. Joni's left hand had been weakened by polio, and some fingerings were difficult or impossible for her to execute. As she added new folk songs to her repertoire, she began to devise dozens of alternate tunings that allowed her to play each song. Later this improvised approach would be "a tool to break free of standard approaches to harmony and structure" in her own songwriting.

Joni started singing with her friends at bonfires in the "northern lakes, up around Waskesiu Lake" in the early 1960s. Eventually she got a few gigs in coffeehouse
Coffeehouse
A coffeehouse or coffee shop is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on...

s in Saskatoon. Joni's first paid performance was on October 31, 1962, at a local club that featured folk and jazz performers. She was 18, and her record collection at the time ran from American folk revivalists whose LPs were helping to expand her repertoire of traditional songs, to her more personal favorites like Edith Piaf
Édith Piaf
Édith Piaf , born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer and cultural icon who became widely regarded as France's greatest popular singer. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being ballads...

 and Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

. Joni and her friends were interested in jazz. 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... The Hottest New Sound in Jazz. It was hard to find in Canada, 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."

As Joni finished up high school at Aden Bowman Collegiate
Aden Bowman Collegiate
Aden Bowman Collegiate Institute is located in the Queen Elizabeth subdivision, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, serving students from grades 9 through 12. It is also known as Aden Bowman, Bowman, or ABCI. The school was opened on September 2, 1958.- Fine arts :...

 in Saskatoon, playing music was a way to make some extra money, but she never intended to make a career of it. She wanted to paint, and she left home to attend the Alberta College of Art and Design
Alberta College of Art and Design
-History:The Alberta College of Art & Design is a Canadian degree-granting, publicly-funded art and design college located in Calgary . It was known as the Provincial Institute of Technology and Arts, which was part of SAIT until 1985...

 in Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

. At art school, Joni Anderson excelled academically for the first time in her life. However, she struggled with the sense she was a poorer artist than her grades indicated. She said, "I found that I was an honor student at art school for the same reason that I was a bad student - an equal and opposite reason - because I had developed a lot of technical ability... I found that I seemed to be marked for my technical ability so that in free classes where I was really uninspired, my marks remained the same standard. Whereas people who were great in free class, who were original and loose who didn't have the chops in a technical class, would receive a mark that was pretty similar to their technical ability. So I became pretty disillusioned."

Mitchell was also coming to realize her art was out of step with trends at the time, a movement to nearly total abstraction
Abstract art
Abstract art uses a visual language of form, color and line to create a composition which may exist with a degree of independence from visual references in the world. Western art had been, from the Renaissance up to the middle of the 19th century, underpinned by the logic of perspective and an...

. Influenced by post-impressionists Van Gogh and Gaugin and by Picasso's work, she was still interested in painting landscapes and people, representing real things she saw. Figurative art
Figurative art
Figurative art, sometimes written as figurativism, describes artwork—particularly paintings and sculptures—which are clearly derived from real object sources, and are therefore by definition representational.-Definition:...

ists like herself were being directed to advertising and commercial art
Commercial art
Commercial art is historically a subsector of creative services, referring to art created for commercial purposes, primarily advertising. The term has become increasingly anachronistic in favor of more contemporary terms such as graphic design and advertising art.Commercial art traditionally...

, which didn't at all appeal to her. At art school, to support herself, Joni kept gigging as a folk musician on weekends, playing at her college and at a local hotel. After a year, at age 19, she dropped out of school and kept playing. Mitchell took a $15-a-week job in a Calgary coffee house, "singing long tragic songs in a minor key." She played at The Depression! for three months in the autumn of 1963. She also sang at hootenannies and even made appearances on some local TV and radio shows in Calgary.

Mitchell's parents valued education very highly, having been raised during the Great Depression, and her decision to abandon her art studies was unpopular with her family, causing friction when she returned home to see them in Saskatchewan. In the summer of 1964 at the age of 20, she told her mother 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, Joni wrote her first song, called "Day After Day." She also stopped at the Mariposa Folk Festival
Mariposa Folk Festival
The Mariposa Folk Festival was founded in 1961 in Orillia, Ontario. It was held in Orillia for three years before being banned because of disturbances by festival-goers. After being held in various places in Ontario for a few decades, it returned to Orillia in 2000. Ruth Jones, her husband Dr...

 to see Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie, OC is a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire includes...

, a Saskatchewan-born Cree
Cree
The Cree are one of the largest groups of First Nations / Native Americans in North America, with 200,000 members living in Canada. In Canada, the major proportion of Cree live north and west of Lake Superior, in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories, although...

 folk singer who had inspired her. One year later, Joni too would play Mariposa, her first gig for a major audience, and years later, Sainte-Marie herself would cover her.

Ontario


Toronto's Yorkville
Yorkville
- Locations :In Canada:* Yorkville, Toronto, Ontario, a neighbourhoodIn the United States:*Yorkville, California, in Mendocino County**Yorkville Highlands AVA, California wine region in Mendocino County**Yorkville, Placer County, California*Yorkville, Georgia...

 when Joni arrived was a rougher, Bohemian village on the outskirts of the city proper. Home to a busy coffeehouse circuit second only to New York's Greenwich Village in North America, Yorkville attracted the most seasoned folk singers on the continent, and Joni Anderson struggled to find work there without the right connections. Lacking the $200 needed for musicians' union fees, she managed a few gigs at The Half Beat and The Village Corner, but 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." Without a lot of name recognition, Joni 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." She resolved to write her own originals.

In the autumn of 1964, Joni 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 gave her daughter, Kelly Dale Anderson, up for adoption. The experience remained private for most of her career, but she made allusions to it in several songs, most notably in "Little Green
Little Green (song)
"Little Green" is a song composed and performed by Joni Mitchell. It is the third track on her 1971 album Blue.-Background:Mitchell wrote Little Green in 1967 about the daughter she had given up for adoption in 1965, when she was a poor folk singer in Toronto...

," which she performed in the 1960s but eventually recorded for the 1971 album Blue. At the time, the veiled lyrics were not widely understood- a review described them as impenetrable.

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 adopted daughter was not publicly known until 1993, when a roommate from Mitchell's art school days in the 1960s sold the story about 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 would later identify her daughter's birth and her inability to take care of her as the moment when her songwriting inspiration had really begun. When she was unable to 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 gigging again around Yorkville, beginning to sing more of her 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
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

. Chuck was immediately attracted to Joni 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, Joni marries Chuck only 36 hours after they meet, but it is unclear if they were ever married in Toronto. Sometime in late April, Joni left Canada for the first time in her life, 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. Joni Mitchell said, "We had no money. I made my wedding dress... I walked down the aisle brandishing my daises."

Michigan


In the summer of 1965, Chuck Mitchell took Joni with him to the United States. While living in Detroit, Chuck and Joni were regular performers at area coffee houses as well as The Alcove bar near Wayne State University
Wayne State University
Wayne State University is a public research university located in Detroit, Michigan, United States, in the city's Midtown Cultural Center Historic District. Founded in 1868, WSU consists of 13 schools and colleges offering more than 400 major subject areas to over 32,000 graduate and...

 and the "Rathskelter" a restaurant on the campus of the University of Detroit. Oscar Brand
Oscar Brand
Oscar Brand is a folk singer, songwriter, and author. In his career, spanning over 60 years, he has composed at least 300 songs and released nearly 100 albums, among them Canadian and American patriotic songs...

 featured her several times on his CBC television program Let's Sing Out
Let's Sing Out
Let's Sing Out was a Canadian music television series which aired on CTV from 1963 to 1966, then on CBC Television until 1968.-Premise:This series, patterned after the American Hootenanny show, featured contemporary folk music hosted by folk musician Oscar Brand...

 in 1965 and 1966, broadening her exposure. The marriage and partnership of Joni and Chuck Mitchell dissolved in early 1967, and Joni moved to New York City to pursue her musical dreams 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
Folk clubs
A folk club is a regular event, permanent venue, or section of a venue devoted to folk music and traditional music. Folk clubs were primarily an urban phenomenon of 1960s and 1970s Great Britain and Ireland, and vital to the second British folk revival, but continue today there and elsewhere...

 and, by this time creating her own material, became well known for her unique songwriting and her innovative guitar style.

New York


Folk singer Tom Rush
Tom Rush
Tom Rush is an American folk and blues singer, songwriter, musician and recording artist.- Life and career :Rush was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. His father was a teacher at St. Paul's School, in Concord, New Hampshire. Tom began performing in 1961 while studying at Harvard University after...

 had met Mitchell in Toronto and was impressed with her songwriting ability. He took "Urge For Going" to popular folk act Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

 but she was not interested in the song at the time, so Rush recorded it himself. Country singer George Hamilton IV
George Hamilton IV
George Hege Hamilton IV is an American country musician. He began performing in the late 1950s as a teen idol, later switching to country music in the early 1960s.-Biography:Hamilton was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina...

 heard Rush performing it and recorded a hit country version. Other artists who recorded Mitchell songs in the early years were Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie
Buffy Sainte-Marie, OC is a Canadian Cree singer-songwriter, musician, composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist. Throughout her career in all of these areas, her work has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Her singing and writing repertoire includes...

 ("The Circle Game
The Circle Game
The Circle Game is the 1968 album from folk rock musician Tom Rush. He covers three songs from fellow singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, as well as songs by Jackson Browne and James Taylor...

"), Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk
Dave Van Ronk was an American folk singer, born in Brooklyn, New York, who settled in Greenwich Village, New York, and was eventually nicknamed the "Mayor of MacDougal Street" ....

 ("Both Sides Now"), and eventually Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

 ("Both Sides Now", a top ten hit, and "Michael From Mountains", both included on her 1967 album Wildflowers
Wildflowers (Judy Collins album)
Wildflowers is an album by Judy Collins, released in 1967. It was her highest charting album so far, reaching No 5 on the Billboard Pop Albums charts. It included her hit version of Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now"....

). Collins also covered "Chelsea Morning", a recording which again eclipsed Mitchell's own commercial success early on.

California


While she was playing one night in "The Gaslight South", a club in Coconut Grove, Florida, David Crosby
David Crosby
David Van Cortlandt Crosby is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of three bands: The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash , and CPR...

 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. Crosby convinced a record company to agree to let Mitchell record a solo acoustic album without all the folk-rock overdubs that were in vogue at the time, and his clout earned him a producer's credit in March 1968, when Reprise Records
Reprise Records
Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.-Beginnings:...

 released her debut album, alternately known as Joni Mitchell or Song to a Seagull
Song to a Seagull
Song to a Seagull is Joni Mitchell's 1968 debut album. Mitchell would later note that the album is more a result of her love of classical music than of folk, and this is evident through the thick, rich, and often unusual harmonies, and the densely poetic lyrics of the album...

.

Mitchell continued touring steadily to promote the LP. The tour helped create eager anticipation for Mitchell's second LP, Clouds, which was released in April 1969. It finally contained Mitchell's own versions of some of her songs already recorded and performed by other artists: "Chelsea Morning
Chelsea Morning
"Chelsea Morning" is a song written by Joni Mitchell and introduced on the singer's 1969 album Clouds..The song was inspired by Mitchell's room in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The inspiration for the first verse comes partly from the distinct décor of her apartment...

", "Both Sides, Now", and "Tin Angel." The covers of both LPs, including a self-portrait on Clouds, were designed and painted by Mitchell, a marriage of her art and music which she would continue throughout her career.

1970–1974: Mainstream success



In March 1970 Clouds won Joni Mitchell her first Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance
Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording
The Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording was awarded from 1960 to 1986. During this time the award had several minor name changes:*From 1960 to 1961 the award was known as Best Performance - Folk...

. The following month, Reprise released her third album, Ladies of the Canyon
Ladies of the Canyon
Ladies of the Canyon is Joni Mitchell's third album, released in 1970. Its title refers to Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, a center of popular music culture in Los Angeles during the sixties...

. 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 would become a hallmark of Mitchell's style in her most popular era. Her own version of "Woodstock
Woodstock (song)
"Woodstock" is a song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival of 1969.Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told it would be more advantageous to appear on The Dick Cavett Show by...

", slower and darker than the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover, was performed on a Wurlitzer electric piano
Wurlitzer electric piano
Wurlitzer 200A|250px|thumbThe Wurlitzer electric piano was one of a series of electromechanical stringless pianos manufactured and marketed by the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company, Corinth, Mississippi, U.S. and Tonawanda, New York...

. The album also included the already-familiar song "The Circle Game" and the environmental
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 anthem "Big Yellow Taxi
Big Yellow Taxi
"Big Yellow Taxi" is a song written and originally performed by Joni Mitchell in 1970. It was a big hit in her native Canada as well as Australia and the UK...

", 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 through the summer and fall, eventually becoming Mitchell's first gold album (selling over a half million copies). Mitchell 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
Melody Maker
Melody Maker, published in the United Kingdom, was, according to its publisher IPC Media, the world's oldest weekly music newspaper. It was founded in 1926 as a magazine targeted at musicians; in 2000 it was merged into "long-standing rival" New Musical Express.-1950s–1960s:Originally the Melody...

, the UK's leading pop music magazine. On the April 1971 release of James Taylor
James Taylor
James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000....

's Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon
-Track listing:All songs by James Taylor unless otherwise noted.#"Love Has Brought Me Around" – 2:41#"You've Got a Friend" – 4:28#"Places in My Past" – 2:01#"Riding on a Railroad" – 2:41#"Soldiers" – 1:13#"Mud Slide Slim" – 5:20...

 album, Joni Mitchell is credited with backup vocals – along with Carole King
Carole King
Carole King is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. King and her former husband Gerry Goffin wrote more than two dozen chart hits for numerous artists during the 1960s, many of which have become standards. As a singer, King had an album, Tapestry, top the U.S...

 – on the track "You've Got A Friend
You've Got a Friend
"You've Got a Friend" is a song from 1971, originally written and performed by Carole King. It was included in her album Tapestry of 1971, but was made famous by James Taylor's cover version the same year...

". The songs she wrote during the months she took off for travel and life experience would appear on her next album, Blue
Blue (Joni Mitchell album)
Blue is the fourth album of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. 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...

, released in June 1971. Of Blue and in 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" (A 65th Birthday Tribute to Joni Mitchell, 2008).

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. Lushly produced "Carey
Carey (song)
"Carey" is a song from the 1971 Joni Mitchell album Blue. It was inspired by her time with a cave-dwelling hippie community in the village of Matala, on the Greek island of Crete.-Autobiographical elements:...

" was the single at the time, but musically, other parts of Blue departed further from the sounds of Ladies of the Canyon in favor of simpler, rhythmic acoustic parts allowing a focus on Mitchell's voice and emotions ("All I Want", "A Case of You"), while others such as "Blue
Blue (Joni Mitchell song)
"Blue" is the title song from Joni Mitchell's 1971 album of the same name. There has been persistent speculation that the song is about fellow songwriter David Blue, who was a friend and possible love interest of Mitchell's when the album was released...

", "River" and "The Last Time I Saw Richard
The Last Time I Saw Richard
The Last Time I Saw Richard is a song by Joni Mitchell from her 1971 album Blue.The song could be a reference to Joni Mitchell's first husband Chuck Mitchell and their brief marriage. According to Richard Flynn, as noted in the official Joni Mitchell website , biographer Karen O'Brien believes...

" were sung to her rolling piano accompaniment. 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 made the decision to return to the live stage after the great success of Blue, and she presented many new songs on tour which would appear on her next album. Her fifth album, For the Roses
For the Roses
For the Roses is a 1972 album by Joni Mitchell, between her two biggest commercial and critical successes - Blue and Court and Spark. Despite this, in 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry...

, 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 #25 in the Billboard Charts in February 1973, becoming her first bonafide hit single. The album was critically acclaimed and earned her success on her own terms, though it was somewhat overshadowed by the success of Blue and by Mitchell's next album.

Court and Spark
Court and Spark
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

, released in January 1974, would see Mitchell begin the flirtation with jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 and jazz fusion
Jazz fusion
Jazz fusion is a musical fusion genre that developed from mixing funk and R&B rhythms and the amplification and electronic effects of rock, complex time signatures derived from non-Western music and extended, typically instrumental compositions with a jazz approach to lengthy group improvisations,...

 that marked her experimental period ahead, but it was also her most commercially successful recording, and among her most critically acclaimed. Court and Spark went to #1 on the Cashbox Album Charts. The LP made Joni 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 #7 in the first week of June. "Free Man in Paris
Free Man in Paris
"Free Man In Paris" is a song written by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. It appeared on her 1974 album Court and Spark, as well as her live album Shadows and Light. It is one of her most popular songs...

" 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
Fusion (music)
A fusion genre is music that combines two or more styles. For example, rock and roll originally developed as a fusion of blues, gospel and country music. The main characteristics of fusion genres are variations in tempo, rhythm, i a sometimes the use of long musical "journeys" that can be divided...

 band the L.A. Express
L.A. Express
The L.A. Express was an American jazz-pop ensemble. Members of L.A. Express played on several Joni Mitchell albums, including The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Miles of Aisles ....

 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
Gibson Amphitheatre
The Gibson Amphitheatre is a theatre located in Universal City, California, USA. It seats up to 6,189 for concerts, including 6,089 chairback seats...

 from August 14–17 were recorded for a live album release. In November, Mitchell released a live album called Miles of Aisles
Miles of Aisles
Miles of Aisles is a 1974 double live album by Joni Mitchell backed by the L.A. Express, recorded on the Court and Spark tour. It reached #2 on the charts and became one of her biggest-selling records....

, a two-record set including all but two songs from the L.A. concerts (one selection each from the Berkeley Community Center, on March 2, and the LA Music Center, on March 4, were also included in the set). The live album slowly moved up to #2, matching Court and Sparkss chart peak on Billboard. "Big Yellow Taxi", the live version, was also released as a single and did reasonably well (Mitchell would ultimately release yet another recording of "Big Yellow Taxi" in 2007).

In January 1975, Court and Spark received four nominations for Grammy Awards, including Grammy Award for Album of the Year
Grammy Award for Album of the Year
The Grammy Award for Album of the Year is the most prestigious award category at the Grammys. It has been awarded since 1959 and though it was originally presented to the artist alone, the award is now presented to the artist, the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer...

, for which Mitchell was the only woman nominated. She won only the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)
The Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist has been awarded since 1963. The award is presented to the arranger of the music.There have been several minor changes to the name of the award:...


1975–1980: Jazz explorations


Mitchell went into the studio in the spring of 1975 to record acoustic demos of some songs that she had written since the Court and Spark tour ended. A few months later she recorded versions of the tunes with her band. Mitchell's 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. On "The Jungle Line", she also made an early effort at sampling a recording of African musicians, something that would become more commonplace among Western rock acts in the 1980s. Meanwhile, "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 Southern California.

The new song cycle was released in November 1975 as The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns is a studio album by Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell.-Reception:The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and although the album achieved initial commercial success, reaching number four on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers...

. The album was initially a big seller, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Album Charts, but it received mixed reviews at the time of its release. A common legend holds that Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 magazine declared it the "Worst Album of the Year"; in truth, it was called only the year's worst album title. However, Mitchell and Rolling Stone have had a contentious relationship, beginning years earlier when the magazine featured a "tree" illustrating all of Mitchell's alleged romantic partners, primarily other musicians, which the singer said "hurt my feelings terribly at the time." During 1975, Mitchell also participated in several concerts in the Rolling Thunder Revue tours featuring Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 and Joan Baez
Joan Baez
Joan Chandos Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter, musician and a prominent activist in the fields of human rights, peace and environmental justice....

, and in 1976 she performed as part of The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz
The Last Waltz was a concert by the rock group The Band, held on American Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 1976, at Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco...

 by The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

. In January 1976, Mitchell received one nomination for the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
The Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance is the latest in a series of awards recognizing superior vocal performance by a female in the pop category, the first of which was presented in 1959. The award goes to the artist...

 for the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns is a studio album by Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell.-Reception:The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and although the album achieved initial commercial success, reaching number four on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers...

, though the Grammy went to Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt is an American popular music recording artist. She has earned eleven Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden...

.

In early 1976, Mitchell traveled with friends who were driving cross country to Maine. Afterwards, Mitchell drove back to California alone and composed several songs during her journey which would feature on her next album, 1976's Hejira
Hejira (album)
Hejira is a 1976 folk/rock/jazz album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The album title is a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra, which means "journey", referring specifically to the prophet Muhammad's and his followers' escape from Mecca to Medina in 622...

. 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 legendary jazz virtuoso bass guitarist Jaco Pastorius
Jaco Pastorius
John Francis Anthony Pastorius III , known as Jaco Pastorius, was an American jazz musician and composer widely acknowledged as a virtuoso electric bass player....

 on several songs including the first single, "Coyote
Coyote (song)
"Coyote" is the opening song from Joni Mitchell's 1976 album Hejira and also the album's first single.Though the song had been introduced on the tour to support 1975's The Hissing of Summer Lawns, "Coyote" was a significant musical departure: where Hissing was ornate with pianos, layered vocals...

", 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. While the album was greeted by many fans and critics as a "return to form", by the time she recorded it her days as a huge pop star were over. However, if Hejira "did not sell as briskly as Mitchell's earlier, more "radio friendly" albums, 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 the summer of 1977, Mitchell began work on new recordings, what would become 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
Weather Report
Weather Report was an American jazz-rock band of the 1970s and early 1980s. The band was co-led by the Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul and the American saxophonist Wayne Shorter...

, including drummer Don Alias and saxophonist Wayne Shorter, who had once worked closely with Miles Davis. 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
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

 on backing vocals, were percussion dominated tracks. Other songs continued the jazz-rock-folk collisions of Hejira. Mitchell also revived "Jericho", written but never recorded years earlier (a version is found on her 1974 live album). Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is a 1977 double album by the folk/pop/rock musician Joni Mitchell. It is unusual for its experimental style, expanding even further on the jazz fusion sound of Mitchell's Hejira from the year before...

 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 on the cover, including one where she was disguised as a black man (this is a reference to a character in one song on the album).

A few months after the release of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Mitchell was contacted by jazz great Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus Jr. was an American jazz musician, composer, bandleader, and civil rights activist.Mingus's compositions retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third stream, free jazz, and classical music...

, who had heard the orchestrated song, "Paprika Plains", and wanted her to work with him. Mitchell began a collaboration with Mingus, who died before the project was completed in 1979. She finished the tracks (most were her own Mingus-inspired compositions, though "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
Goodbye Pork Pie Hat
"Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" is a jazz standard composed by Charles Mingus originally recorded by his sextet in 1959 as listed below, and released on his album Mingus Ah Um. Mingus wrote it as an elegy for saxophonist Lester Young, who had died two months prior to the recording session...

" is a Mingus instrumental standard to which Mitchell composed lyrics) and the resulting album, Mingus
Mingus (album)
Mingus is the tenth studio album by Joni Mitchell, and a collaboration with jazz musician Charles Mingus. Recorded in the months before his death, it would be Mingus's final musical project; the album is wholly dedicated to him....

, 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 summer tour to promote Mingus began in August 1979 in Oklahoma City and concluded six weeks later with five shows at Los Angeles' Greek Theater, where she recorded and filmed the concerts. It was her first tour in several years, and with Pastorius, jazz guitar great Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Patrick Bruce "Pat" Metheny is an American jazz guitarist and composer.One of the most successful and critically acclaimed jazz musicians to come to prominence in the 1970s and '80s, he is the leader of the Pat Metheny Group and is also involved in duets, solo works and other side projects...

, 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 Los Angeles shows 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
The Persuasions
The Persuasions are an a cappella group that began singing together in Brooklyn, New York in the mid 1960s. They have performed interpretations of both secular and non-secular music, and have covered a wide range of musical genres....

 (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 Mitchell recorded with bassist Larry Klein
Larry Klein
Larry Klein is a music producer, songwriter and bass guitar player, commonly known for being the frequent musical collaborator, and ex-husband, of Joni Mitchell....

, eventually marrying him in 1982. While the album was being readied for release, her friend David Geffen
David Geffen
David Geffen is an American record executive, film producer, theatrical producer and philanthropist. Geffen is noted for creating Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, and DGC Records in 1990...

, founder of Asylum Records
Asylum Records
Asylum Records is an American record label founded in 1971 by David Geffen, and partner Elliot Roberts, who had previously worked as agents at the William Morris Agency. Founded specifically to provide a record contract for Jackson Browne, the label signed Tom Waits, Linda Ronstadt, Joni Mitchell...

, decided to start a new label, Geffen Records
Geffen Records
Geffen Records is an American record label, owned by Universal Music Group, and operated as one third of UMG's Interscope-Geffen-A&M label group.-Beginnings:...

. Still distributed by Warner Bros,, (who controlled Asylum Records), Geffen was able to negate the remaining contractual obligations Mitchell had with Asylum and signed her to his new label. 1982's Wild Things Run Fast
Wild Things Run Fast
Wild Things Run Fast is Joni Mitchell's eleventh studio album and her first for Geffen Records. Released in 1982, it represents her departure from jazz to a more 80s pop sound....

 marked a return to pop songwriting, including "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody
Unchained Melody
"Unchained Melody" is a 1955 song with music by Alex North and lyrics by Hy Zaret. It has become one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century, by some counts having spawned over 500 versions in hundreds of different languages....

", which incorporated the chorus and parts of the melody of the famous Righteous Brothers hit, and "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care
" Baby I Don't Care" is a song written in 1957 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It has become a minor pop standard, with notable versions being performed by Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Elvis Presley's version was released on his Jailhouse Rock EP, and reached number fourteen on the R&B charts...

", a remake of the Elvis chestnut which charted higher than any Mitchell single since her '70s sales peak when it climbed to No. 47 on the charts. However, The album peaked on the Billboard Charts in its fifth week at only No. 25.

As 1983 began, Mitchell began a world tour, visiting Japan, Australia, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, 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 had 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 synth-pop performer and producer Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby
Thomas Dolby is an English musician and producer. Best known for his 1982 hit "She Blinded Me with Science", and 1984 single "Hyperactive!", he has also worked extensively in production and as a session musician.-Early life:Dolby was born in London, England, contrary to information in early 1980s...

 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, received a mostly negative critical response. It 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
Christian right
Christian right is a term used predominantly in the United States to describe "right-wing" Christian political groups that are characterized by their strong support of socially conservative policies...

 in American politics. "The churches came after me", she wrote, "they attacked me, though the Episcopalian Church
Episcopal Church (United States)
The Episcopal Church is a mainline Anglican Christian church found mainly in the United States , but also in Honduras, Taiwan, Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands and parts of Europe...

, which I've 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
Willie Nelson
Willie Hugh Nelson is an American country music singer-songwriter, as well as an author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie , combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust , made Nelson one of the most recognized...

, Billy Idol
Billy Idol
William Michael Albert Broad , better known by his stage name Billy Idol, is an English rock musician. A member of the Bromley Contingent of Sex Pistols fans, Idol first achieved fame in the punk rock era as a member of the band Generation X...

, Wendy & Lisa
Wendy & Lisa
Wendy & Lisa are a music duo consisting of Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman. They began working with Prince in the early 1980s and were part of his band The Revolution, before branching out on their own and releasing their debut album in 1987...

, Tom Petty
Tom Petty
Thomas Earl "Tom" Petty is an American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch. He has also performed under the pseudonyms of Charlie T...

, Don Henley
Don Henley
Donald Hugh "Don" Henley is an American singer, songwriter and drummer, best known as a founding member of the Eagles before launching a successful solo career. Henley was the drummer and lead vocalist for the Eagles from 1971–1980, when the band broke up...

, Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, musician, and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career...

, and Benjamin Orr
Benjamin Orr
Benjamin Orr was an American rock musician best known as the bassist and vocalist for the Boston based rock band, The Cars....

 of The Cars
The Cars
The Cars are an American rock band that emerged from the early New Wave music scene in the late 1970s. The band consisted of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Ric Ocasek, lead singer and bassist Benjamin Orr, guitarist Elliot Easton, keyboardist Greg Hawkes and drummer David Robinson...

. 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 deadly battle between Native American activists and the FBI on the Lakota Sioux reservation in the previous decade. Musically, several songs fit into the trend of world music
World music
World music is a term with widely varying definitions, often encompassing music which is primarily identified as another genre. This is evidenced by world music definitions such as "all of the music in the world" or "somebody else's local 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.

After its release, Mitchell, who rarely performed live anymore, participated in Roger Waters
Roger Waters
George Roger Waters is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. He was a founding member of the progressive rock band Pink Floyd, serving as bassist and co-lead vocalist. Following the departure of bandmate Syd Barrett in 1968, Waters became the band's lyricist, principal songwriter...

' The Wall Concert in Berlin
The Wall Concert in Berlin
The Wall – Live in Berlin was a live concert performance by Roger Waters and numerous guest artists, of the Pink Floyd studio album, The Wall, itself largely written by Waters during his time with the band. The show was held in Berlin, Germany, on 21 July 1990, to commemorate the fall of the Berlin...

 in 1990. She performed the song, "Goodbye Blue Sky
Goodbye Blue Sky
"Goodbye Blue Sky" is a song by Pink Floyd. It appeared on The Wall album in 1979.-Plot:In a brief prologue, birds are heard chirping peacefully...

" and also was one of the performers on the concerts ending song, "The Tide Is Turning
The Tide Is Turning
"The Tide Is Turning " is a song from the 1987 album Radio K.A.O.S., by Roger Waters. Though Waters had offered his services for the Live Aid concert in 1985 and was turned down by organizer Bob Geldof, the event still inspired Waters to write this song...

" along with Waters, Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper
Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album...

, Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams, is a Canadian rock singer-songwriter, guitarist, bassist, producer, actor and photographer. Adams has won dozens of awards and nominations, including 20 Juno Awards among 56 nominations. He has also received 15 Grammy Award nominations including a win for Best Song Written...

, Van Morrison
Van Morrison
Van Morrison, OBE is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are regarded as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now, are widely...

 and Paul Carrack
Paul Carrack
Paul Carrack is an English singer, songwriter and musician. Carrack has been a member of several bands including Ace, Squeeze, Mike + The Mechanics, and Roxy Music, been a session and touring musician for several others including Nick Lowe, and has enjoyed success as a solo artist as well...

.

Throughout the first half of 1990, Mitchell recorded songs that would appear 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
Night Ride Home
Night Ride Home is the fourteenth album by Joni Mitchell, released in 1991. It was the last of four albums she recorded for Geffen Records....

 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 '80s 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 first since 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
Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group is the third largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry, making it one of the big four record companies...

).

1994–2001: Resurgence and vocal development


To wider audiences, the real "return to form" for Mitchell came with the 1994's Grammy-winning Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo is the fifteenth album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1994, and became one of her most critically acclaimed releases, winning a Grammy Award for Pop Album of the Year....

. While the recording period also saw the divorce of Mitchell and bassist Larry Klein
Larry Klein
Larry Klein is a music producer, songwriter and bass guitar player, commonly known for being the frequent musical collaborator, and ex-husband, of Joni Mitchell....

, 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
Hits (Joni Mitchell album)
Hits is a 1996 greatest hits compilation by Joni Mitchell. , it has sold 488,000 copies in the United States. A counterpart album, Misses, was released on the same day as Hits...

 collection when label Reprise also allowed her a second Misses
Misses (album)
Misses is a 1996 compilation album by Joni Mitchell. The tracks were chosen by Mitchell herself, and her selections concentrate on her lesser known, more experimental work, including jazz influenced recordings from the late 1970s and electronic music from the 1980s. Mitchell also designed the album...

 album 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 but was previously released only as a B-side.

Two years later, Mitchell released her final set of "original" new work before nearly a decade of other pursuits, 1998's Taming the Tiger
Taming the Tiger
Taming the Tiger is the sixteenth studio album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1998 and was widely believed to be the last album of new material Mitchell would ever release . The title refers to the unexpected commercial and critical success of her previous album Turbulent Indigo...

. She promoted Tiger with a return to regular concert appearances, most notably a co-headlining tour with Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 and Van Morrison
Van Morrison
Van Morrison, OBE is a Northern Irish singer-songwriter and musician. His live performances at their best are regarded as transcendental and inspired; while some of his recordings, such as the studio albums Astral Weeks and Moondance, and the live album It's Too Late to Stop Now, are widely...

. On the album, Mitchell had played a "guitar synthesizer" on most songs, and for the tour she adapted many of her old songs to this instrument, and reportedly had to re-learn all her complex tunings once again.

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 nineties 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 familiar material. Both Sides, Now (2000) was an album composed mostly of covers of jazz standards, performed with an orchestra, featuring orchestral arrangements by Vince Mendoza
Vince Mendoza
Vince Mendoza is a music arranger and composer.Mendoza was born in Connecticut and studied guitar as a child, influenced by classical music, soul and jazz. He then took up the trumpet, which he continued to play throughout his time at Ohio State University, where he played in the Jazz Ensemble and...

. The album also contained remakes of "A Case of You
A Case of You
"A Case of You" is a song by Joni Mitchell, from her 1971 album Blue. It is one of her most well-known songs.-Writing and recording:Mitchell recorded A Case of You in 1971, during her early folk period. The song was first released on the 1971 album Blue with Mitchell playing Appalachian dulcimer,...

" 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
Travelogue (Joni Mitchell album)
Travelogue is a 2002 double album by Joni Mitchell featuring orchestral re-recordings of songs from throughout her career. It is the follow-up to 2000's Both Sides Now which had a similar format...

, a collection of re-workings of her previous songs with lush orchestral accompaniments.

2002–2005: Retirement and retrospectives


Mitchell stated at the time that this 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, Mitchell's Geffen recordings were collected in a remastered, four-disc box set, The Complete Geffen Recordings, including notes by Mitchell and some previously unreleased tracks. A series of themed compilations of songs from earlier albums were also released: The Beginning of Survival (2004), Dreamland
Dreamland (Joni Mitchell album)
Dreamland is a compilation album by Joni Mitchell, released in 2004 by Rhino. The songs for the album were selected by the singer herself. The booklet contains an essay by Cameron Crowe on Mitchell's career and several paintings by Joni Mitchell...

 (2004), and 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 Saskatchewan Centennial
Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan
The Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan also called the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal is a commemorative medal struck to celebrate the first 100 years since Saskatchewan's entrance into Canadian Confederation....

 concert in Saskatoon. The concert, which featured a tribute to Mitchell, was also attended by Queen Elizabeth II. In 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
Random House
Random House, Inc. is the largest general-interest trade book publisher in the world. It has been owned since 1998 by the German private media corporation Bertelsmann and has become the umbrella brand for Bertelsmann book publishing. Random House also has a movie production arm, Random House Films,...

 to publish an autobiography. In 1998 she told The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 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."

As well in the early 2000s, Mitchell worked with artist Gilles Hebert. She visited the Mendel Art Gallery in Saskatoon, where she and Giles produced a book called 'Voices'. The book received international attention and extended her fame, and the fame of Gilles Hebert.

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 acres (32.4 ha) property in Sechelt, British Columbia
Sechelt, British Columbia
The District Municipality of Sechelt is on the lower Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Approximately 50 km northwest of Vancouver, Sechelt is accessible to the mainland of British Columbia via a 40 minute ferry trip between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale, and a 25 minute drive from Langdale...

 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 which she displays only on rare occasions.

2006–2009: Late recordings and Morgellons advocacy


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
Shine (Joni Mitchell album)
Shine is the nineteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and was released on September 25, 2007 by Starbucks' Hear Music...

, 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 environmental issues.

In February 2007, Mitchell also returned to Calgary
Calgary
Calgary is a city in the Province of Alberta, Canada. It is located in the south of the province, in an area of foothills and prairie, approximately east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies...

 and served as an advisor for the Alberta Ballet Company
Alberta Ballet Company
The Alberta Ballet is located in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. It is Canada’s third largest dance company. Alberta Ballet has developed a distinctive repertoire and performance quality that has brought it to the forefront of national and international stages.- Creation :The Alberta Ballet was...

 premiere of "The Fiddle and the Drum", a dance choreographed to both new and old songs. Mitchell 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 summer 2007, Mitchell's official fan-run site confirmed speculation that she had signed a two-record deal with Starbucks
Starbucks
Starbucks Corporation is an international coffee and coffeehouse chain based in Seattle, Washington. Starbucks is the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with 17,009 stores in 55 countries, including over 11,000 in the United States, over 1,000 in Canada, over 700 in the United Kingdom, and...

' Hear Music
Hear Music
Hear Music, also known as StarCon is the brand name of Starbucks' retail music concept and record label. Hear Music began as a catalog company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1990 before being purchased by Starbucks in 1999.-Concept:...

 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
Hejira (album)
Hejira is a 1976 folk/rock/jazz album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The album title is a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra, which means "journey", referring specifically to the prophet Muhammad's and his followers' escape from Mecca to Medina in 622...

 in 1976, over thirty years previously, and at number 36 on the United Kingdom albums chart.

On the same day, Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound...

, a longtime associate and friend of Mitchell's, released River: The Joni Letters
River: The Joni Letters
River: The Joni Letters is the 2007 album by Herbie Hancock. His 47th studio album, it was released on September 25, 2007 by Verve Records. The tribute album is a homage to Joni Mitchell, a longtime associate and friend of Hancock...

, an album paying tribute to Mitchell's work. Among the album's contributors were Norah Jones
Norah Jones
Norah Jones is an American singer-songwriter and occasional actress.In 2002, she launched her solo music career with the release of the commercially successful and critically acclaimed album Come Away With Me, which was certified a diamond album in 2002, selling over 20 million copies...

, Tina Turner
Tina Turner
Tina Turner is an American singer and actress whose career has spanned more than 50 years. She has won numerous awards and her achievements in the rock music genre have led many to call her the "Queen of Rock 'n' Roll".Turner started out her music career with husband Ike Turner as a member of the...

, Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

, 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
Miles Davis
Miles Dewey Davis III was an American jazz musician, trumpeter, bandleader, and composer. Widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Miles Davis was, with his musical groups, at the forefront of several major developments in jazz music, including bebop, cool jazz,...

 and John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz...

. 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.

On February 12, 2010, "Both Sides, Now" was performed at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics
2010 Winter Olympics
The 2010 Winter Olympics, officially the XXI Olympic Winter Games or the 21st Winter Olympics, were a major international multi-sport event held from February 12–28, 2010, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with some events held in the suburbs of Richmond, West Vancouver and the University...

 in Vancouver.

Mitchell is currently receiving treatment for the controversial condition called "Morgellons syndrome
Morgellons
Morgellons , is a name given in 2002 by Mary Leitao to a proposed condition characterized by a range of cutaneous symptoms including crawling, biting, and stinging sensations ; finding fibers on or under the skin; and persistent skin lesions...

". Mitchell spoke to the Los Angeles Times on April 22, 2010 about the disease, 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 described Morgellons as a "slow, unpredictable killer" but said she is determined to fight the disease. "I have a tremendous will to live: I've been through another pandemic – I'm a polio survivor, so I know how conservative the medical body can be." According to Mitchell, Morgellons is often misdiagnosed as "delusion of parasites," and sufferers of the disease are offered psychiatric treatment. Mitchell said she plans to leave the music industry to work toward giving people diagnosed with Morgellons more credibility. In the same interview, Mitchell made the statement that singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, with whom she had worked closely in the past, was a fake and plagiarist
Plagiarism
Plagiarism is defined in dictionaries as the "wrongful appropriation," "close imitation," or "purloining and publication" of another author's "language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions," and the representation of them as one's own original work, but the notion remains problematic with nebulous...

. The controversial remark was widely reported by other media. Mitchell did not explain the contention further, but it may have related to the allegations of plagiarism surrounding some lyrics on Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times
Modern Times (Bob Dylan album)
Modern Times is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's 32nd studio album, released by Columbia Records in August 2006. The album was Dylan's third straight to be met with nearly universal praise from fans and critics...

.

Unique guitar style


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, which she has referred to as "Joni's weird chords." The use of alternative tunings allows guitarists to produce accompaniment with more varied and wide-ranging textures. Mitchell's use of alternative tunings and a highly rhythmic picking/strumming style creates a rich and unique guitar sound. 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", that have been featured on later albums.

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 alternate 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's longtime archivist, the San Francisco-based Joel Bernstein, maintains a detailed list of all her tunings, and has assisted her in relearning the tunings for several older songs.

Mitchell was also highly innovative harmonically
Harmony
In music, harmony is the use of simultaneous pitches , or chords. The study of harmony involves chords and their construction and chord progressions and the principles of connection that govern them. Harmony is often said to refer to the "vertical" aspect of music, as distinguished from melodic...

 in her early work (1966–72) using techniques including modality, chromaticism
Chromaticism
Chromaticism is a compositional technique interspersing the primary diatonic pitches and chords with other pitches of the chromatic scale. Chromaticism is in contrast or addition to tonality or diatonicism...

, and pedal point
Pedal point
In tonal music, a pedal point is a sustained tone, typically in the bass, during which at least one foreign, i.e., dissonant harmony is sounded in the other parts. A pedal point sometimes functions as a "non-chord tone", placing it in the categories alongside suspensions, retardations, and passing...

s.

In 2003 Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone is a US-based magazine devoted to music, liberal politics, and popular culture that is published every two weeks. Rolling Stone was founded in San Francisco in 1967 by Jann Wenner and music critic Ralph J...

 named her the 72nd greatest guitarist of all time; she was the highest-ranked woman on the list.

Influence on other artists


Mitchell's work has had an influence on artists as disparate as S. J. Tucker, Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

, Nancy Wilson, Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth is an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. The current lineup consists of Thurston Moore , Kim Gordon , Lee Ranaldo , Steve Shelley , and Mark Ibold .In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City...

, Morrissey
Morrissey
Steven Patrick Morrissey , known as Morrissey, is an English singer and lyricist. He rose to prominence in the 1980s as the lyricist and vocalist of the alternative rock band The Smiths. The band was highly successful in the United Kingdom but broke up in 1987, and Morrissey began a solo career,...

, Prince
Prince (musician)
Prince Rogers Nelson , often known simply as Prince, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of...

, Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan , frequently known as the Queen of Funk, is a 10-time Grammy Award winning American singer-songwriter who gained fame in the 1970s as the frontwoman and focal point of the funk band Rufus. While still a member of the group in 1978, Khan embarked on a successful solo career...

, Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette
Alanis Nadine Morissette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress. She has won 16 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and also shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination...

, Björk
Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir , known as Björk , is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk...

, Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Counting Crows is an American rock band originating from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1991, the group gained popularity following the release of its debut album in 1993, August and Everything After, which featured the hit single "Mr. Jones"...

, Stevie Nicks
Stevie Nicks
Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks is an American singer-songwriter, best known for her work with Fleetwood Mac and an extensive solo career, which collectively have produced over forty Top 50 hits and sold over 140 million albums...

, Jeff Buckley
Jeff Buckley
Jeffrey Scott "Jeff" Buckley , raised as Scotty Moorhead, was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was the son of Tim Buckley, also a musician...

, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

, Dan Fogelberg
Dan Fogelberg
Daniel Grayling "Dan" Fogelberg was an American singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, whose music was inspired by sources as diverse as folk, pop, rock, classical, jazz, and bluegrass music...

, Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

, Maynard James Keenan
Maynard James Keenan
Maynard James Keenan is an American rock singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, winemaker, and actor. Originally from Ohio, Keenan spent his high school and college years in Michigan. After serving in the Army in the early 1980s, he attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids...

, Cyndi Lauper
Cyndi Lauper
Cynthia Ann Stephanie "Cyndi" Lauper is an American singer, songwriter, actress and LGBT rights activist. She achieved success in the mid-1980s with the release of the album She's So Unusual and became the first female singer to have four top-five singles released from one album...

, Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox, OBE , born Ann Lennox, is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving minor success in the late 1970s with The Tourists, with fellow musician David A...

, k.d. lang
K.D. Lang
Kathryn Dawn Lang, OC , known by her stage name k.d. lang, is a Canadian pop and country singer-songwriter and occasional actress...

, Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
Kurt Donald Cobain was an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist, best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the grunge band Nirvana...

, Frank Turner
Frank Turner
Frank Turner is an English folk/punk singer-songwriter from Meonstoke, Winchester. Initially the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, Turner embarked upon a primarily acoustic-based solo career following the band's split in 2005. To date, Turner has released four solo albums, two rarities...

, Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson is an American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack [who has] expanded the playing field" by incorporating country, blues and folk music into her...

, Cat Power
Cat Power
Charlyn Marie Marshall , also known as Chan Marshall or by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer/songwriter and occasional actress and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall's first band, but has come to refer to her musical projects with various backing bands...

, George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

, Marillion
Marillion
Marillion are a British rock band, formed in Aylesbury, England in 1979. Their recorded studio output comprises sixteen albums generally regarded in two distinct eras, delineated by the departure of original vocalist & frontman Fish in late 1988, and the subsequent arrival of replacement Steve...

, Juice Newton
Juice Newton
Judith Kay "Juice" Newton is an American Pop music and Country singer, songwriter and guitarist...

, Conor Oberst
Conor Oberst
Conor Mullen Oberst is an American singer-songwriter best known for his work in Bright Eyes. He has also played in several other bands, including Desaparecidos, Norman Bailer , Commander Venus, Park Ave., Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and Monsters of Folk.-Musical career:Oberst began...

, The Roots
The Roots
The Roots is an American hip hop/neo soul band formed in 1987 by Tariq "Black Thought" Trotter and Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are famed for beginning with a jazzy, eclectic approach to hip hop which still includes live instrumentals...

, Roxette
Roxette
Roxette are a Swedish pop music duo, consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle . Formed in 1986, the duo became an international act from the late 1980s, when they released their breakthrough album Look Sharp!...

, The Sundays
The Sundays
The Sundays were an English alternative rock band. The band formed in the late 1980s and released three albums in the 1990s.-Career:The band's beginnings came with the meeting of Harriet Wheeler and guitarist David Gavurin at university. Wheeler had played gigs with 'Cruel Shoes' an early...

, Clannad, Shawn Colvin
Shawn Colvin
Shawn Colvin is an American singer-songwriter and musician.-Childhood and early career:Colvin was born in Vermillion, South Dakota. Her formative years were spent in the town of Carbondale, Illinois, where she attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She learned to play guitar at the age...

, Anita Baker
Anita Baker
Anita Baker is an American R&B/soul jazz singer-songwriter. To date, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards, and has four platinum albums and two gold albums to her credit....

, Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart is an American singer-songwriter and pianist. Apple met international acclaim for her 1996 debut album, Tidal, which was a critical and commercial success...

, Holly Brook
Holly Brook
Holly Brook Hafermann , better known by her stage name Skylar Grey, is a Grammy-nominated American multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Grey was signed to Machine Shop Recordings under the name Holly Brook. She released her debut album as Holly Brook, Like Blood Like...

, KT Tunstall
KT Tunstall
Kate Victoria "KT" Tunstall is a Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist from St Andrews, Scotland. She broke into the public eye with a 2004 live solo performance of her song "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree" on Later... with Jools Holland...

, Seal
Seal (musician)
Seal Henry Olusegun Olumide Adeola Samuel , known simply as Seal, is a British soul and R&B singer-songwriter, of Nigerian and Brazilian background. Seal has won numerous music awards throughout his career, including three Brit Awards—winning Best British Male in 1992, four Grammy Awards, and an...

, Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

, Keith Green
Keith Green
Keith Gordon Green was an American gospel singer, songwriter, musician, and Contemporary Christian Music artist originally from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York. Beyond his music, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same...

, Spank Rock
Spank Rock
Spank Rock is an American hip-hop group consisting of rapper Naeem Juwan and producer Alex Epton . Their style is generally described as a mix of underground alternative rap and electro and rock.- Biography :...

, Schuyler Fisk
Schuyler Fisk
Schuyler Elizabeth Fisk is an American actress and singer-songwriter.-Early life:Fisk was born in Los Angeles, California to actress Sissy Spacek and production designer Jack Fisk....

, Kate Voegele
Kate Voegele
Kate Elizabeth Voegele is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actress. She is signed to Interscope Records. She is also known for her part as Mia Catalano in the CW TV series One Tree Hill.-Career:...

, Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor
Regina Ilyinichna Spektor is a Russian American singer-songwriter and pianist. Her music is associated with the anti-folk scene centered in New York City's East Village.-Early life:...

, Me'Shell Ndegeocello
Me'shell Ndegeocello
Meshell Ndegeocello is an American singer-songwriter, rapper, bassist, and vocalist. Her music incorporates a wide variety of influences, including funk, soul, hip hop, reggae, R&B, rock, and jazz. She has received significant critical acclaim throughout her career, and has had ten career Grammy...

, Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett
Keith Jarrett is an American pianist and composer who performs both jazz and classical music.Jarrett started his career with Art Blakey, moving on to play with Charles Lloyd and Miles Davis. Since the early 1970s he has enjoyed a great deal of success in jazz, jazz fusion, and classical music; as...

, Slash
Slash (musician)
Saul Hudson , known by his stage name Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N'...

, Stephin Merritt
Stephin Merritt
Stephin Merritt is an American singer-songwriter based in Los Angeles , best known as the principal singer and songwriter in the band The Magnetic Fields...

, Laura Marling
Laura Marling
Laura Beatrice Marling is an English folk musician from Eversley, Hampshire.Initially prominent within the London folk scene, she has also toured with a number of well-known indie artists in the UK. Her debut album Alas, I Cannot Swim and her second album I Speak Because I Can were nominated for...

, Keri Noble
Keri Noble
Keri Noble is an American singer-songwriter born in Fort Worth, Texas and raised in Detroit. Her father was a Baptist minister, and Noble sang in church as a child. She attended a local Assembly of God school for Jr High and high school in Dearborn Heights...

, Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom
Joanna Newsom is an American harpist, pianist and singer-songwriter from Nevada City, California.- Early life :Newsom grew up in the small town of Nevada City, California...

, Boards of Canada
Boards of Canada
Boards of Canada are a Scottish electronic music duo consisting of brothers Mike Sandison and Marcus Eoin...

 and Sarah Dawn Finer
Sarah Dawn Finer
Sarah Dawn Finer, born 14 September 1981 in Stockholm, Sweden, is a singer, songwriter and actress. Sarah Dawn Finer has Russian and American heritage. Her grandparents emigrated from Russia to America, and her mother is American.-Career:...

.

For instance, Prince
Prince (musician)
Prince Rogers Nelson , often known simply as Prince, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of...

's song "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles....

" on the album Sign 'O' the Times (1987), pays tribute to Mitchell, both through his evocative Mitchell-like harmonies and through the use of one of Mitchell's own techniques: as in Mitchell's song "This Flight Tonight
This Flight Tonight
"This Flight Tonight" is a song by Joni Mitchell, from her 1971 album Blue. It tells of the singer's regrets as she leaves her lover on a flight and wishes to return. Its opening lines are:-Covers:...

", Prince references a song in his lyrics (Mitchell's own "Help Me") as the music begins to emulate the chords and melody of that song. Another Mitchell reference left by Prince can also be seen on the back cover of his 1981 Controversy record, where one of the headlines reads "★JONI★." His song "Raspberry Beret
Raspberry Beret
"Raspberry Beret" is a song by Prince and The Revolution. It was the first U.S. single from their 1985 album, Around the World in a Day. The sound was different from any previous Prince track, incorporating Middle Eastern finger cymbals, stringed instruments, and even a harmonica on the extended...

" also references "McGee's general store" from Mitchell's song "Paprika Plains".

Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

 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
Court and Spark
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

; I worshipped her when I was in high school. Blue
Blue (Joni Mitchell album)
Blue is the fourth album of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. 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...

 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 view."

Steve Hogarth
Steve Hogarth
Steve Hogarth also known as "h", is the lead vocalist and occasional keyboardist/guitarist with the British rock band Marillion. Hogarth was formerly a keyboard player and co-lead vocalist with The Europeans and vocalist with How We Live...

, Steve Rothery
Steve Rothery
Steve Rothery is the guitarist of the English rock band Marillion. He was born in Brampton, South Yorkshire, England. From the age of six he lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire.-Biography:...

 and Mark Kelly of Marillion
Marillion
Marillion are a British rock band, formed in Aylesbury, England in 1979. Their recorded studio output comprises sixteen albums generally regarded in two distinct eras, delineated by the departure of original vocalist & frontman Fish in late 1988, and the subsequent arrival of replacement Steve...

 all cite Mitchell as a favorite artist.

A number of artists have had success covering
Cover version
In popular music, a cover version or cover song, or simply cover, is a new performance or recording of a contemporary or previously recorded, commercially released song or popular song...

 Mitchell's songs. Judy Collins
Judy Collins
Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins is an American singer and songwriter, known for her eclectic tastes in the material she records ; and for her social activism. She is an alumna of the University of Colorado.-Musical career:Collins was born and raised in Seattle, Washington...

'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 587 versions recorded at latest count. Hole
Hole (band)
Hole is an American alternative rock band that originally formed in Los Angeles in 1989. The band is fronted by vocalist/songwriter and rhythm guitarist Courtney Love, who co-founded Hole with former songwriter/lead guitarist Eric Erlandson...

 also covered "Both Sides Now" in 1990, renaming it Clouds and changing the lyrics. Pop group Neighborhood in 1970 and Amy Grant
Amy Grant
Amy Lee Grant is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and actress, best known for her Christian music. She has been referred to as "The Queen of Christian Pop"...

 in 1995 scored hits with covers of "Big Yellow Taxi", the second most covered song in Mitchell's repertoire (with 223 covers). Recent releases of this song have been by Counting Crows
Counting Crows
Counting Crows is an American rock band originating from Berkeley, California. Formed in 1991, the group gained popularity following the release of its debut album in 1993, August and Everything After, which featured the hit single "Mr. Jones"...

 in 2002 and Nena
Nena
Gabriele Susanne Kerner , better known by her stage name Nena, is a German singer and actress. She rose to international fame in 1983 with the New German Wave song "99 Luftballons". In 1984, she re-recorded this song in English as "99 Red Balloons". Nena was also the name of the band with whom she...

 in 2007. Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

 used a sample of the chorus of "Big Yellow Taxi" as the centerpiece of her 1997 hit single "Got 'Til It's Gone
Got 'Til It's Gone
"Got 'til It's Gone" is a song by American singer Janet Jackson, featuring American rapper Q-Tip and Canadian singer Joni Mitchell. It was released as the lead single from Jackson's sixth studio album, The Velvet Rope .-Song information:...

", which also features rapper Q-Tip
Q-Tip (rapper)
Kamaal Ibn John Fareed , better known by his stage name Q-Tip, is an American hip hop artist, producer, singer, and actor from St. Albans, Queens, New York, part of the critically acclaimed group A Tribe Called Quest...

 saying "Joni Mitchell never lies." Rap artists Kanye West
Kanye West
Kanye Omari West is an American rapper, singer, and record producer. West first rose to fame as a producer for Roc-A-Fella Records, where he eventually achieved recognition for his work on Jay-Z's album The Blueprint, as well as hit singles for musical artists including Alicia Keys, Ludacris, and...

 and Mac Dre
Mac Dre
Andre Hicks , better known by his stage name Mac Dre, was an American rapper.-Biography:Andre Hicks was born in Oakland, California but moved to Vallejo while still a child...

 have also sampled Mitchell's vocals in their music. In addition, Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox
Annie Lennox, OBE , born Ann Lennox, is a Scottish singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist. After achieving minor success in the late 1970s with The Tourists, with fellow musician David A...

 has covered "Ladies Of The Canyon" for the B-side of her 1995 hit "No More I Love You's
No More I Love You's
"No More I Love You's" is a song written by Joseph Hughes and David Freeman and was first released by their band, The Lover Speaks, in 1986. The song was later covered by the Scottish singer Annie Lennox and became a hit for her in 1995.-The Lover Speaks version:"No More "I Love You's"" was the...

". Mandy Moore
Mandy Moore
Amanda Leigh "Mandy" Moore is an American singer-songwriter, actress and fashion designer. Moore became famous as a teenager in the late 1990s, after the release of her teen pop albums So Real, I Wanna Be with You, and Mandy Moore. In 2007, she took an adult pop-folk direction with the release of...

 covered "Help Me" in 2003. In 2004 singer George Michael
George Michael
George Michael is a British musician, singer, songwriter and record producer who rose to fame in the 1980s when he formed the pop duo Wham! with his school friend, Andrew Ridgeley...

 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
Dianne Reeves
Dianne Reeves is an American jazz singer. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado.-Early life:Reeves was born in Detroit, Michigan to a very musical family. Her father, who died when she was two years old, was also a singer. Her mother, Vada Swanson, played trumpet. A cousin, George Duke, is a...

 (1999), James Taylor
James Taylor
James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, Taylor was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2000....

 (recorded for television in 2000, and for CD release in 2004), Allison Crowe
Allison Crowe
Allison Louise Crowe is a Canadian singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist from Nanaimo, British Columbia who lives in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, communities spanning the breadth of Canada....

 (2004), Rachael Yamagata
Rachael Yamagata
Rachael Yamagata is an American singer-songwriter and pianist from Arlington, Virginia. She began her musical career with the band Bumpus before becoming a solo artist and releasing four EP's and three studio albums...

 (2004), Aimee Mann
Aimee Mann
Aimee Mann is an American rock singer-songwriter, guitarist and bassist.-Early life:Aimee Mann grew up in Bon Air, Virginia, graduated from Open High School in 1978 and attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but dropped out to sing with her first punk rock band, the Young Snakes...

 (2005), and Sarah McLachlan
Sarah McLachlan
Sarah Ann McLachlan, OC, OBC is a Canadian musician, singer and songwriter. Known for her emotional ballads and mezzo-soprano vocal range, as of 2006, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide. McLachlan's best-selling album to date is Surfacing, for which she won two Grammy Awards and four...

 (2006). McLachlan also did a version of "Blue" in 1996, and Cat Power
Cat Power
Charlyn Marie Marshall , also known as Chan Marshall or by her stage name Cat Power, is an American singer/songwriter and occasional actress and model. Cat Power was originally the name of Marshall's first band, but has come to refer to her musical projects with various backing bands...

 recorded a cover of "Blue" in 2008. Other Mitchell covers include the famous "Woodstock
Woodstock (song)
"Woodstock" is a song about the Woodstock Music and Art Festival of 1969.Joni Mitchell wrote the song from what she had heard from then-boyfriend, Graham Nash, about the festival. She had not been there herself, since she was told it would be more advantageous to appear on The Dick Cavett Show by...

" by both Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Crosby, Stills & Nash (and Young)
Crosby, Stills & Nash is a folk rock supergroup made up of David Crosby, Stephen Stills and Graham Nash, also known as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young when joined by occasional fourth member Neil Young...

 and Matthews Southern Comfort, "This Flight Tonight" by Nazareth
Nazareth (band)
Nazareth is a Scottish hard rock band, founded in 1968, that had several hits in the UK in the early 1970s, and established an international audience with their 1975 album Hair of the Dog. Perhaps their best-known hit single was a cover of the ballad "Love Hurts", in 1975...

, and well-known versions of "Woodstock" by Eva Cassidy
Eva Cassidy
Eva Marie Cassidy was an American vocalist known for her interpretations of jazz, blues, folk, gospel, country and pop classics. In 1992 she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by a live solo album, Live at Blues Alley in 1996...

 and "A Case of You" by Tori Amos
Tori Amos
Tori Amos is an American pianist, singer-songwriter and composer. She was at the forefront of a number of female singer-songwriters in the early 1990s and was noteworthy early in her career as one of the few alternative rock performers to use a piano as her primary instrument...

, Michelle Branch
Michelle Branch
Michelle Jacquet DeSevren Branch is an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and actress. During the early 2000s, she released two top-selling albums, The Spirit Room and Hotel Paper, and was subsequently nominated for the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2003...

, Jane Monheit
Jane Monheit
Jane Monheit is a jazz and adult contemporary vocalist for Concord Records. She has collaborated with artists such as Michael Bublé, Ivan Lins, Terence Blanchard and Tom Harrell, and has received Grammy nominations for two of her recordings.-Early life:Jane Monheit was raised in Oakdale, New York...

, Prince
Prince (musician)
Prince Rogers Nelson , often known simply as Prince, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor. Prince has produced ten platinum albums and thirty Top 40 singles during his career. Prince founded his own recording studio and label; writing, self-producing and playing most, or all, of...

, and Diana Krall
Diana Krall
Diana Jean Krall, OC, OBC is a Canadian jazz pianist and singer, known for her contralto vocals. She has sold more than 6 million albums in the US and over 15 million worldwide; altogether, she has sold more albums than any other female jazz artist during the 1990s and 2000s...

. A 40th anniversary version of "Woodstock" was released in 2009 by Nick Vernier Band featuring Ian Matthews (formerly of Matthews Southern Comfort).

Prince's version of "A Case of U" appeared on A Tribute to Joni Mitchell
A Tribute to Joni Mitchell
A Tribute To Joni Mitchell is a tribute to Joni Mitchell featuring Sufjan Stevens, Björk, Caetano Veloso, Brad Mehldau, Cassandra Wilson, Prince, Sarah McLachlan, Annie Lennox, Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello, k.d. lang and James Taylor.-Track listing:...

, a 2007 compilation released by Nonesuch Records
Nonesuch Records
Nonesuch Records is an American record label, owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Bros. Records.-Company history:Nonesuch was founded in 1964 by Jac Holzman to produce "fine records at the same price as a trade paperback", which would be half the price of a normal LP...

, which also featured Björk
Björk
Björk Guðmundsdóttir , known as Björk , is an Icelandic singer-songwriter. Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk...

 ("The Boho Dance"), Caetano Veloso
Caetano Veloso
Caetano Emanuel Viana Teles Veloso , better known as Caetano Veloso, is a Brazilian composer, singer, guitarist, writer, and political activist. Veloso first became known for his participation in the Brazilian musical movement Tropicalismo which encompassed theatre, poetry and music in the 1960s,...

 ("Dreamland"), Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris
Emmylou Harris is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to her work as a solo artist and bandleader, both as an interpreter of other composers' works and as a singer-songwriter, she is a sought-after backing vocalist and duet partner, working with numerous other artists including...

 ("The Magdalene Laundries"), Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter and musician born in Detroit, Michigan. Stevens first began releasing his music on Asthmatic Kitty, a label co-founded with his stepfather, beginning with the 1999 release, A Sun Came...

 ("Free Man in Paris") and Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson is an American jazz musician, vocalist, songwriter, and producer from Jackson, Mississippi. Described by critic Gary Giddins as "a singer blessed with an unmistakable timbre and attack [who has] expanded the playing field" by incorporating country, blues and folk music into her...

 ("For the Roses"), among others. Some of the recordings were made in the late 1990s when a project entitled A Case of Joni was developed but left incomplete. Among those who recorded tracks for the first tribute album, which remain unreleased, were Janet Jackson
Janet Jackson
Janet Damita Jo Jackson is an American recording artist and actress. Known for a series of sonically innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows, television and film roles, she has been a prominent figure in popular culture for over 25 years...

, Steely Dan
Steely Dan
Steely Dan is an American rock band; its core members are Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. The band's popularity peaked in the late 1970s, with the release of seven albums blending elements of jazz, rock, funk, R&B, and pop...

, and Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Suzanne Crow is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, musician, and actress. Her music incorporates elements of rock, folk, hip hop, country and pop...

. Chaka Khan recorded "Ladies Man" from Mitchell's LP Wild Things Run Fast on her 2007 CD titled Funk This. Cassandra Wilson recorded "Black Crow" from Mitchell's Hejira on her Blue Light 'Til Dawn CD.

Several other songs reference Joni Mitchell. The song "Our House" by Graham Nash
Graham Nash
Graham William Nash, OBE is an English singer-songwriter known for his light tenor vocals and for his songwriting contributions with the British pop group The Hollies, and with the folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Nash is a photography collector and a published photographer...

 refers to Nash's brief affair with Mitchell at the time Crosby, Stills Nash and Young recorded the Déjà Vu album. Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed in 1968, they consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham...

's "Going to California
Going to California
"Going to California" is a song performed by English rock band Led Zeppelin from their fourth album, released in 1971.-Overview:The song's wistful folk-style sound, with Robert Plant on lead vocals, acoustic guitar by Jimmy Page and mandolin by John Paul Jones, contrasts with the heavy...

" was said to be written about Robert Plant
Robert Plant
Robert Anthony Plant, CBE is an English singer and songwriter best known as the vocalist and lyricist of the iconic rock band Led Zeppelin. He has also had a successful solo career...

 and Jimmy Page
Jimmy Page
James Patrick "Jimmy" Page, OBE is an English multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and record producer. He began his career as a studio session guitarist in London and was subsequently a member of The Yardbirds from 1966 to 1968, after which he founded the English rock band Led Zeppelin.Jimmy Page...

's infatuation
Limerence
Limerence is a term coined c. 1977 by the psychologist Dorothy Tennov to describe an involuntary state of mind which seems to result from a romantic attraction to another person combined with an overwhelming, obsessive need to have one's feelings reciprocated...

 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 uses. The Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth
Sonic Youth is an American alternative rock band from New York City, formed in 1981. The current lineup consists of Thurston Moore , Kim Gordon , Lee Ranaldo , Steve Shelley , and Mark Ibold .In their early career, Sonic Youth was associated with the No Wave art and music scene in New York City...

 song "Hey Joni" from their acclaimed Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation
Daydream Nation is the fifth studio album by the American alternative rock band Sonic Youth. It was released in October 1988 by Enigma Records in the United States, and by Blast First in the United Kingdom....

 album is named for Mitchell. Sonic Youth also uses a wide variety of alternate guitar tunings. Alanis Morissette
Alanis Morissette
Alanis Nadine Morissette is a Canadian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, record producer, and actress. She has won 16 Juno Awards and seven Grammy Awards, was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and also shortlisted for an Academy Award nomination...

 also mentions Mitchell in one of her songs, "Your House." British folk singer; Frank Turner
Frank Turner
Frank Turner is an English folk/punk singer-songwriter from Meonstoke, Winchester. Initially the vocalist of post-hardcore band Million Dead, Turner embarked upon a primarily acoustic-based solo career following the band's split in 2005. To date, Turner has released four solo albums, two rarities...

 mentions Mitchell in his song 'Sunshine State'. Fellow Canadian songwriter Ferron
Ferron
Ferron, born Debby Foisy on , is a Canadian folk singer/songwriter and poet. In addition to being one of Canada's most famous folk musicians, she is one of the most influential writers and performers of women's music, and an important influence on later musicians such as Ani DiFranco, Mary Gauthier...

 invokes Mitchell to open the song "Maya": "Last night I dreamed Joni Mitchell cut her hair and changed her name to Gaia. And she spoke to me in a confident air and said...'You better push the edge of Maya.'" The respected folk-rock band Fugue Plane wrote their song "Roberta" as a love letter to Joni urging her to continue on despite the sorry conditions of the music industry and life in general.

Melody Green wrote in "No Compromise, the life story of Keith Green", that her husband Keith Green
Keith Green
Keith Gordon Green was an American gospel singer, songwriter, musician, and Contemporary Christian Music artist originally from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York. Beyond his music, Green is best known for his strong devotion to Christian evangelism and challenging others to the same...

 and some friends found that Mitchell's Southern California home security gate was open and they sang in her front lawn until she came out. She invited them all in and Green entertained her for a while on her piano.

Also, on the 2004 album eMOTIVe by A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle is an American rock supergroup formed in 1999 by guitarist Billy Howerdel and Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan. The original incarnation of the band also included Paz Lenchantin on bass, Troy Van Leeuwen on guitar, and Tim Alexander on drums...

, Maynard James Keenan
Maynard James Keenan
Maynard James Keenan is an American rock singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, winemaker, and actor. Originally from Ohio, Keenan spent his high school and college years in Michigan. After serving in the Army in the early 1980s, he attended Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids...

 covered Mitchell's song Fiddle and the Drum.

Awards and honors



In 1995, Mitchell received Billboard's Century Award. In 1996, she was awarded the Polar Music Prize
Polar Music Prize
The Polar Music Prize is a Swedish international music award founded in 1989 by Stig Anderson, possibly best known to be the manager of the Swedish pop group ABBA, with a donation to the Royal Swedish Academy of Music....

. In 1997, Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a museum located on the shore of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, United States. It is dedicated to archiving the history of some of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers and others who have, in some major way,...

, but did not attend the ceremony.

She has received eight Grammy Awards during her career, with the first coming in 1969 and the most recent in 2008. She received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded by the Recording Academy to "performers who, during their lifetimes, have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording."...

 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 fitting tribute to Mitchell, the TNT network presented an all-star celebration at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, April 6, 2000. Many legendary performers sang Mitchell's songs, including James Taylor, Elton John, Wynonna Judd, Bryan Adams, Cyndi Lauper, Diana Krall, and Richard Thompson of Fairport Convention fame. Mitchell herself ended the evening with a rendition of "Both Sides Now" with a full 70 piece orchestra. The version was featured on the soundtrack to the hit movie, Love Actually
Love Actually
Love Actually is a 2003 British romantic comedy film written and directed by Richard Curtis. The screenplay delves into different aspects of love as shown through ten separate stories involving a wide variety of individuals, many of whom are shown to be interlinked as their tales progress...

.

Regarding her as a national treasure, Mitchell's home country Canada has bestowed a number of honours on her. She was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame
Canadian Music Hall of Fame
The Canadian Music Hall of Fame honors Canadian musicians for their lifetime achievements in music. The ceremony is held each year as part of the Juno Award ceremonies. Members of the Canadian Music Hall of Fame represent many of the world's great talents...

 in 1981 and received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2000. In 2002 she became only the third popular Canadian singer/songwriter (Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Lightfoot
Gordon Meredith Lightfoot, Jr. is a Canadian singer-songwriter who achieved international success in folk, folk-rock, and country music, and has been credited for helping define the folk-pop sound of the 1960s and 1970s...

 and Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen
Leonard Norman Cohen, is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist. Cohen published his first book of poetry in Montreal in 1956 and his first novel in 1963. His work often explores religion, isolation, sexuality and interpersonal relationships...

 being the other two), to be appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, Canada's highest civilian honour. She received an honorary doctorate in music from McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

 in 2004. In January 2007 she was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is a Canadian non-profit organization, founded in 1998 by Frank Davies, that inducts Canadians into their Hall of Fame within three different categories: songwriters, songs, and those others who have made a significant contribution with respect to...

. In June 2007 Canada Post
Canada Post
Canada Post Corporation, known more simply as Canada Post , is the Canadian crown corporation which functions as the country's primary postal operator...

 featured Mitchell on a postage stamp.

In November 2006, the album Blue was listed by TIME magazine as among the "All-Time 100 Albums."

In 1999 Mitchell was listed as fifth on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Women of Rock N' Roll." In 2010, Vh1 would name her the #44 Greatest Artist of All Time.

In the 2010 film The Kids Are All Right
The Kids Are All Right (film)
The Kids Are All Right is a 2010 American comedy-drama film directed by Lisa Cholodenko and written by Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg.One of Sundance 2010's breakout hits, it opened in limited release on July 9, 2010, expanding to more theaters on July 30, 2010. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray...

, the character Joni is supposed to have been named after Joni Mitchell since the character Nic, Joni's mother, declares to be a fan
Fan (person)
A Fan, sometimes also called aficionado or supporter, is a person with a liking and enthusiasm for something, such as a band or a sports team. Fans of a particular thing or person constitute its fanbase or fandom...

 of Mitchell.

Grammy Awards

Year Category Work Result
1969 Best Folk Performance Clouds  Won
1974 Album of the Year Court and Spark
Court and Spark
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

 
Nomination
1974 Record of the Year "Help Me" Nomination
1974 Pop Female Vocalist Court and Spark
Court and Spark
Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

 
Nomination
1974 Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) "Down To You" Won
1976 Pop Female Vocalist The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns
The Hissing of Summer Lawns is a studio album by Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell.-Reception:The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and although the album achieved initial commercial success, reaching number four on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers...

 
Nomination
1977 Best Album Package Hejira
Hejira (album)
Hejira is a 1976 folk/rock/jazz album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The album title is a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra, which means "journey", referring specifically to the prophet Muhammad's and his followers' escape from Mecca to Medina in 622...

 
Nomination
1988 Pop Female Vocalist Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm  Nomination
1995 Best Pop Album Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo is the fifteenth album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1994, and became one of her most critically acclaimed releases, winning a Grammy Award for Pop Album of the Year....

 
Won
1995 Best Album Package Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo
Turbulent Indigo is the fifteenth album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1994, and became one of her most critically acclaimed releases, winning a Grammy Award for Pop Album of the Year....

 
Won
2000 Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Both Sides, Now  Nomination
2000 Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Both Sides, Now Won
2002 Lifetime Achievement Award Won
2007 Album of the Year River: The Joni Letters
River: The Joni Letters
River: The Joni Letters is the 2007 album by Herbie Hancock. His 47th studio album, it was released on September 25, 2007 by Verve Records. The tribute album is a homage to Joni Mitchell, a longtime associate and friend of Hancock...

 
Won*
2007 Best Pop Instrumental Performance
"One Week Last Summer" Won


*Although officially a Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock
Herbert Jeffrey "Herbie" Hancock is an American pianist, bandleader and composer. As part of Miles Davis's "second great quintet," Hancock helped to redefine the role of a jazz rhythm section and was one of the primary architects of the "post-bop" sound...

 release, Mitchell also received a Grammy due to her vocal contribution to the album.

Discography


Studio releases
  • 1968: Song to a Seagull
    Song to a Seagull
    Song to a Seagull is Joni Mitchell's 1968 debut album. Mitchell would later note that the album is more a result of her love of classical music than of folk, and this is evident through the thick, rich, and often unusual harmonies, and the densely poetic lyrics of the album...

  • 1969: Clouds
  • 1970: Ladies of the Canyon
    Ladies of the Canyon
    Ladies of the Canyon is Joni Mitchell's third album, released in 1970. Its title refers to Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles, a center of popular music culture in Los Angeles during the sixties...

  • 1971: Blue
    Blue (Joni Mitchell album)
    Blue is the fourth album of Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. 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...

  • 1972: For the Roses
    For the Roses
    For the Roses is a 1972 album by Joni Mitchell, between her two biggest commercial and critical successes - Blue and Court and Spark. Despite this, in 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry...

  • 1974: Court and Spark
    Court and Spark
    Court and Spark is the sixth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Released in January 1974, the album saw Mitchell infusing her folk-rock style, which she developed throughout her previous five albums, with jazz inflections...

  • 1975: The Hissing of Summer Lawns
    The Hissing of Summer Lawns
    The Hissing of Summer Lawns is a studio album by Canadian songwriter Joni Mitchell.-Reception:The album was not as radio-friendly as Mitchell's earlier work, and although the album achieved initial commercial success, reaching number four on the charts and quickly going gold, contemporary reviewers...

  • 1976: Hejira
    Hejira (album)
    Hejira is a 1976 folk/rock/jazz album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. The album title is a transliteration of the Arabic word hijra, which means "journey", referring specifically to the prophet Muhammad's and his followers' escape from Mecca to Medina in 622...

  • 1977: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
    Don Juan's Reckless Daughter
    Don Juan's Reckless Daughter is a 1977 double album by the folk/pop/rock musician Joni Mitchell. It is unusual for its experimental style, expanding even further on the jazz fusion sound of Mitchell's Hejira from the year before...

  • 1979: Mingus
    Mingus (album)
    Mingus is the tenth studio album by Joni Mitchell, and a collaboration with jazz musician Charles Mingus. Recorded in the months before his death, it would be Mingus's final musical project; the album is wholly dedicated to him....

  • 1982: Wild Things Run Fast
    Wild Things Run Fast
    Wild Things Run Fast is Joni Mitchell's eleventh studio album and her first for Geffen Records. Released in 1982, it represents her departure from jazz to a more 80s pop sound....

  • 1985: Dog Eat Dog
  • 1988: Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm
  • 1991: Night Ride Home
    Night Ride Home
    Night Ride Home is the fourteenth album by Joni Mitchell, released in 1991. It was the last of four albums she recorded for Geffen Records....

  • 1994: Turbulent Indigo
    Turbulent Indigo
    Turbulent Indigo is the fifteenth album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1994, and became one of her most critically acclaimed releases, winning a Grammy Award for Pop Album of the Year....

  • 1998: Taming the Tiger
    Taming the Tiger
    Taming the Tiger is the sixteenth studio album by Joni Mitchell. It was released in 1998 and was widely believed to be the last album of new material Mitchell would ever release . The title refers to the unexpected commercial and critical success of her previous album Turbulent Indigo...

  • 2000: Both Sides Now
  • 2002: Travelogue
    Travelogue (Joni Mitchell album)
    Travelogue is a 2002 double album by Joni Mitchell featuring orchestral re-recordings of songs from throughout her career. It is the follow-up to 2000's Both Sides Now which had a similar format...

  • 2007: Shine
    Shine (Joni Mitchell album)
    Shine is the nineteenth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and was released on September 25, 2007 by Starbucks' Hear Music...


External links