Joni Mitchell – Not one of my personal favs but respected

Joni Mitchell, performing in 2004
Joni Mitchell, performing in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joni Mitchell  (born 1943) is a Canadian folk, pop and jazz singer-songwriter whose hippie era lyrics speak volumes about the current situation:

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.

–Big Yellow Taxi

We are stardust, we are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden


Mitchell has played, collaborated and recorded with many top pop, rock and jazz stars, to include James Taylor, Carole King, CSNY, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, and the list goes on. Some believe she is the most important female pop artist of the 20th century.¹

Some of my female friends were really into her back in the day. But she never really turned my crank, for whatever reasons. As a kid and young adult I found the likes of Patsy Cline, Carole King and Annie Lennox far more appealing when it came to woman composers/vocalists.

Their music seemed less “involved” and more up front. For me, getting a good simple hook is the hardest thing to do. It’s less impressive to do long complicated pieces that never really fly. And I suppose I felt that Mitchell’s tunes, for the most part, were stuck on the ground or mired in drama. That’s an entirely subjective opinion, though, and it’s hard not to respect her for songs like those mentioned above, along with “Both Sides Now” and, I suppose,”California,” “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio,” and “Help Me.”


Related » Bruce Cockburn


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