Friday, May 9, 2008
Joni Mitchell has always amazed me. Back in the 60' I used to listen to her albums and later 8-tracks, then tapes, then CD's, and they helped to shape the person I was, and the person I was to become. She and her old boyfriend, Leonard Cohen, were the poets of rock; the two most talented folk rock artists of their period. She could sing like no one else, moving up and down the scales like a trapeze artist. He couldn't sing at all, but they managed to write poetic lyrics that stay with you, that stand alone as poetry. Bob Dylan has been called a poet, yet his poetry was sophomoric when contrast to Joni's and Lennie's. Interesting that as we have all aged, Joni's lilting soprano has become a huskier jazz singer's tones. I still love her. There has never been another singer like her.
Joni Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, to Bill Anderson and Myrtle Anderson (born McKee). Her mother was a teacher, and her father an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During the war years, 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 to the towns of Maidstone and North Battleford. When she was eleven years old, the family settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which Mitchell considers her hometown.
At the age of nine, Mitchell contracted polio during a Canadian epidemic, but recovered after a stay in the hospital. It was during this time that she first became interested in singing. She describes her first experience singing while in hospital during the winter in the following way:
"They said I might no[t] 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."
She began smoking at the age of nine as well, a habit which is debatably one of the factors contributing to the change in her voice in recent years (Mitchell herself disputes this in several interviews).
As a teenager, she taught herself ukulele and, later, guitar and began performing at parties, which eventually led to busking and gigs playing in coffeehouses and other venues in Saskatoon. After finishing high school, she attended the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary for a year, but then left, telling her mother: “I'm going to Toronto to be a folksinger”.
And so, after leaving art-college in June 1964, Mitchell left her home in Saskatoon to relocate to Toronto. Joni also found out that she was pregnant by her college ex-boyfriend, and in February 1965 she gave birth to a baby girl. A few weeks after the birth, Joni married folk-singer Chuck Mitchell, and took his surname. He promised to help take responsibility for the child but something changed, and a few weeks later Joni 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 the song "Little Green" (from Blue), and, years later, the song "Chinese Cafe" from Wild Things Run Fast ("Your kids are coming up straight/My child's a stranger/I bore her/But I could not raise her"). Her daughter, renamed Kilauren Gibb, began a search for her as an adult, and the two were reunited in 1997.
In the summer of 1965, Chuck Mitchell took Joni with him to the U.S. However, the marriage and partnership of Joan & Chuck Mitchell dissolved in a year and a half, in early 1967. Thereafter, Mitchell launched her solo career.
1960s: folk singer
In early 1967 Joni Mitchell 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 and, by this time creating her own material, became well known for her unique songwriting and her innovative guitar style. Oscar Brand featured her several times on his CBC television program Let's Sing Out in 1965 and 1966, broadening her exposure.
Folk singer Tom Rush had met Mitchell in Toronto and was impressed with her songwriting ability. He took "Urge For Going" to Judy Collins but she was not sufficiently interested in the song at the time, so Rush recorded it himself. Then country singer George Hamilton IV heard Rush performing it and recorded a hit country version. Other artists who recorded Mitchell songs in the early years were Buffy Sainte-Marie ("The Circle Game"), Dave Van Ronk ("Both Sides Now"), and eventually Judy Collins ("Both Sides Now").
While she was playing one night in "The Gaslight South", a club in Florida, David Crosby walked in and was immediately struck by her ability and her appeal as an artist. He took her back to Los Angeles, where he set about introducing her and her music to his friends. David convinced a record company to agree to let Joni 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 released her debut album, Song to a Seagull.
She continued her steady touring to promote the LP. The touring helped create an eager anticipation for Mitchell's second LP, Clouds, which was released in April 1969. It contained Mitchell's own versions of songs already recorded and being performed by other artists: "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides Now", and "Tin Angel".
Early and mid-1970s: chart success
Joni won the Grammy in March 1970 for Best Folk Performance of 1969 for her album, Clouds. Reprise released her third album, Ladies of the Canyon, soon after. It was an instant smash on FM radio and sold briskly through the summer and fall, eventually becoming Joni's first gold album (selling circa 500,000 copies).
Joni made a decision to stop touring for a year and just write and paint, yet was still voted Top Female Performer for 1970 by Melody Maker, the UK's leading pop music magazine. The songs she wrote during the months she took off for travel and life experience would appear on her next album.
The album, Blue, was released in June 1971. Blue was an almost instant critical and commercial success, and peaked in the top 20 in the Billboard Album Charts in September. The album was regarded as a culmination of her inspired early work, with depressed assessments of the world around her serving as counterpoint to exuberant expressions of romantic love. 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."
She made the decision to return to the stage after the great success of Blue and she presented many new songs on that tour that would appear on her later album. Joni's fifth album, For the Roses 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 for two weeks beginning in February 1973, becoming her first bona-fide hit single. The album was critically acclaimed and earned her success on her own terms.
Mitchell's next album, Court and Spark, released in January 1974, was her most commercially successful, critically acclaimed, and widely popular collection of songs; it went all the way to #2 on the Billboard album charts and stayed there for four weeks. It contained such popular tracks as "Free Man in Paris", which was released right before Christmas 1973, and "Help Me", which was released in March of the following year, and became Joni's only Top 10 single when it peaked at #7 in the first week of June.
In February of 1974, her tour with the L.A. Express began, and they received rave notices as they traveled across the U.S. and Canada during the next two months. A series of shows at L.A.'s Universal Amphitheater from August 14-17 were recorded for a live album release. In November, that live album called Miles of Aisles, a two-record set with all but two songs coming from the L.A. concerts - a selection each from the Berkeley Community Center, on March 2nd, and the LA Music Center, on March 4th, were also included in the set – was released. The album slowly moved up to #2, matching Court and Sparks's peak. "Big Yellow Taxi", the live version, was released as a single and did reasonably well.
In January of 1975, the Grammy nominations were announced and Mitchell received four nominations, which included being the only female in the Album of the Year contest. However, she only won one; for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocals.
Mid to late-1970s: jazz experimentation
Joni went into the studio in the spring of 1975 to record acoustic demos of some songs she'd written since the tour ended. A few months later she recorded band versions of the tunes. This song cycle was released in November 1975 as the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns. The LP was a big seller and peaked at #4 on the Billboard album charts, but generally it was not well received at the time of its release. A common legend holds that Rolling Stone magazine declared it the "Worst Album of the Year"; in truth, it was called only the year's worst album title. (Mitchell and Rolling Stone have had a contentious relationship, initiated years earlier when Rolling Stone 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 and Joan Baez, and in 1976 she performed as part of "The Last Waltz" by The Band.
In early 1976, Joni traveled with friends, who were driving cross country to Maine to retrieve the fellow's daughter who was living there with her grandmother. After, Joni drove back to California alone. Joni says "This album was written mostly while I was traveling in the car. That's why there were no piano songs..." These songs, along with some new ones she did live on the tour would appear on the next album she released, called Hejira. Joni recorded Hejira (meaning a journey especially when undertaken to seek refuge away from a dangerous or undesirable environment) in the summer of 1976, and the album was released in November.
Hejira was greeted as a return to form for Mitchell by both fans and critics. The album climbed to #13 on the Billboard Charts, reaching gold status three weeks after release, and did receive a great deal of airplay from album oriented FM rock stations. "Coyote", backed with "Blue Motel Room", was released as a single, but failed to chart on the Hot 100 charts. While Hejira "did not sell as briskly as [Mitchell's earlier] more accessible albums", its stature in her catalogue has grown over the years. Joni 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 early January, Joni received one Grammy nomination as Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female for the album The Hissing of Summer Lawns, though the Grammy went to Linda Ronstadt.
In the summer of 1977, Joni began work on what would be her first studio double 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 and said, "This record followed on the tail of persecution, it's experimental, and it didn't really matter what I did, I just had to fulfill my contract". The double LP and cassette, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, was released in December 1977. The album received mixed reviews - its experimentation and originality were not generally expected of such a celebrated music star - but still did relatively well on the Billboard Charts, peaking at #25 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.
A few months after the release of Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Joni was contacted by jazz great Charles Mingus, who had heard the orchestrated song, "Paprika Plains", and wanted her to work with him. Mitchell's next work was a collaboration with Mingus, who died before the project was completed in 1979. Mitchell finished the tracks and the resulting album, Mingus, was released in June 1979, though it was poorly received. Topping out at #17 on the Billboard album charts, which was a higher placement than her last LP, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, Mingus still fell short of gold status, her first album since the 60s to not sell at least a half-million copies.
Joni's summer tour to promote Mingus began in August in Oklahoma City and concluded six weeks later with five shows at the Greek Theater in L.A. where she recorded and filmed the concerts. When the tour ended, Joni began a year of work turning the tapes from the L.A 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 #38 on the Billboard Charts. A single from the LP, "Why Do Fools Fall in Love?", Joni's duet with The Persuasions (her opening act for the tour), bubbled under on Billboard, just missing the Hot 100.
1980s: the "Geffen era"
For a year and a half, Joni worked meticulously on the tracks for her next album. While the album was being readied for release, Joni's friend David Geffen, founder of Asylum Records, decided to start a new label, Geffen Records. As one of his premiere artists, he wanted his old friend and client Joni Mitchell. However, Joni still owed Asylum one record on her contract, and up through the fall of 1982, a new album from her was on their release lists. But when Wild Things Run Fast was finally shipped to record stores in late October, it was, indeed, on the new Geffen Records label. It appears that Geffen's power and influence was able to negate the remaining obligation Joni had with Asylum. Wild Things Run Fast marked a return to pop songwriting, including "Chinese Cafe/Unchained Melody", 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", a remake of the Elvis chestnut which charted higher than any Mitchell single since her 70s sales peak when it climbed to #47 on the charts. The album, unfortunately, peaked on the Billboard Charts in its fifth week at only #25.
As 1983 began, Joni began a world tour, visiting Japan, Australia, Ireland, the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Scandinavia, Denmark and then back to the U.S. As 1984 ended, Joni was writing new songs, when she had a suggestion from Geffen that perhaps an outside producer with experience in the modern technical arenas they wanted to explore might be a worthy addition. British synth-pop performer and producer Thomas Dolby was brought on board. Of Dolby's role, Mitchell later commented: "I was reluctant when Thomas was suggested because he had been asked to produce the record [by Geffen], and would he consider coming in as just a programmer and a player? So on that level we did have some problems... He may be able to do it faster. He may be able to do it better, but the fact is that it then wouldn't really be my music."
The album that resulted, Dog Eat Dog, released in October 1985, received a critical response that was mostly negative. Not surprisingly, the album turned out to be only a moderate seller, charting at #63 on Billboard's Top Albums Chart. This was Joni's lowest chart position since her first album peaked at #189 almost eighteen years before.
Joni continued experimenting with synthesizers, drum machines and sequencers for the recordings of her next album, as she had on Dog Eat Dog, as well as collaborating with artists including Willie Nelson, Billy Idol, Wendy and Lisa, Tom Petty, Don Henley and Peter Gabriel. The album that eventuated was entitled Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm. The official first single of the album was "My Secret Place". It was released in March and "bubbled under" for a few weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. The video, a black & white film featuring Joni and Peter Gabriel, got a bit of video airplay on VH-1, where it premiered in May of 1988. Other reviews were mostly very favorable towards the new album, and the fact that there were cameos by many well-known musicians brought it a great deal of notice. The album easily bested Dog Eat Dog's chart position, peaking at #45 on the Billboard Top Album chart.
After the release of Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm, Mitchell participated in Roger Waters' The Wall Concert in Berlin.
1990s: turbulence and resurgence
Turbulent Indigo (1994)Throughout the first half of 1990, Joni recorded and worked on the 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 was released by Geffen Records in March, 1991. In the U.S. it premiered on Billboard's Top Album charts at #68, moving up to #48 in its second week, and peaking at #41 in its sixth week. In the UK the new album premiered at #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. But to many, the real return to form came with the Grammy-winning Turbulent Indigo.
Indigo (1994) was Mitchell's most simple, straightforward set of songs in years, mixing politics (in "Sex Kills") with social commentary ("Sunny Sunday", "Borderline") to create "a startling comeback" that won two Grammy awards, including Best Pop Album. The recording of Indigo saw the divorce of Mitchell and Larry Klein, whose musical collaboration had lasted four albums.
Mitchell then released her last set of 'original' new work before nearly a decade of other pursuits with Taming the Tiger (1998). She promoted Tiger with a return to regular concert appearances, most notably a co-headlining tour with Bob Dylan and Van Morrison.
It was around this time that critics began to notice a change in Mitchell's voice; 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 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 interesting live interview with NPR in October of 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 more interesting and expressive when she no longer could hit the high notes, let alone hold them like she did in her remarkable youth.
Early 2000s: "I hate music"
The singer's next two albums featured no new songs and, Mitchell has said, were recorded to "fulfill contractual obligations". Both Sides Now (2000) was an album composed mostly of covers of jazz standards, performed with an orchestra. It received mostly strong reviews and featured orchestral arrangements by Vince Mendoza, who would collaborate with her again on Travelogue, and remains a strong seller. The album contained reappraisals of "A Case of You" and the title track "Both Sides Now", two early hits transposed down to Mitchell's now dusky, soulful alto range. Its success led to 2002's Travelogue, a collection of re-workings of her previous songs with lush orchestral accompaniments. Mitchell had stated that this would be her final album.
Dreamland (2004)In a 2002 interview with Rolling Stone, Mitchell voiced her discontent with the current state of the music industry, describing it as a "cesspool". She expressed her dislike of the record industry's dominance and her desire to control her own destiny, possibly through 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 four-disc box set, The Complete Geffen Recordings. Included were remastered versions of all four albums, personal notes by Mitchell herself and three bonus tracks: a wordless vocal demo of what would become "Two Grey Rooms" (from Night Ride Home), the basic piano demo for "Good Friends" (from Dog Eat Dog), and an unreleased cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue". A series of themed compilations of songs from earlier albums were also released: The Beginning of Survival (2004), Dreamland (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 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".
Although Mitchell stated that she would no longer tour or give concerts, she has made occasional public appearances to speak (for example) on environmental issues. Mitchell divides her time between her long-time home in Los Angeles, and the 80 acre property in Sechelt, British Columbia she's owned since the early '70s. "L.A. is my workplace", she said in 2006, "B.C. is my heartbeat". She focuses mainly on her visual art, which she does not sell and which she displays only on rare occasions.
In the early 1990s, Mitchell had signed a deal with Random House to publish an autobiography. In 1998, she told The New York Times that her memoirs were "in the works", that they would be published in as many as four volumes, and that the first line would be "I was the only black man at the party". In 2005, Mitchell said that she continued to work on the project, and was using a tape recorder to get "down [her memories] in the oral tradition".
In an October 2006 interview with The Ottawa Citizen, Mitchell "revealed she's recording her first collection of new songs in nearly a decade", but gave few other details. Four months later, in an interview with The New York Times, Mitchell said that the forthcoming album, titled Shine, was inspired by the war in Iraq and "something her grandson had said while listening to family fighting: 'Bad dreams are good—in the great plan'". Early media reports characterized the album as having "a minimal feel....that harks back to [Mitchell's] early work", and a focus on political and environmental issues.
In February 2007, Mitchell returned to Calgary and served as an advisor for the Alberta Ballet Company 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 she's 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 2-record deal with Starbucks' Hear Music label. Shine was released by the label on September 25, 2007. On the same day, Herbie Hancock, a longtime associate and friend of Mitchell's, released River: The Joni Letters, an album paying tribute to Mitchell's work. Among the album's contributors were Norah Jones, Tina Turner, Leonard Cohen, and Mitchell herself, who contributed a vocal to the re-recording of "The Tea Leaf Prophecy (Lay Down Your Arms)" (originally on her album Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm).
On February 10, 2008, Herbie Hancock's "River: The Joni Letters" won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. It was the first time in 43 years that a jazz artist took the top prize at the annual award ceremony. In accepting the award, Hancock paid tribute to Mitchell as well as to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. At the same ceremony Mitchell was awarded a grammy for Best Instrumental Pop Performance for "One Week Last Summer" from the Album "Shine."
Unique guitar style
Almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open, or non-standard, tuning; she has written songs in some 50 different tunings, which she has referred to as "Joni's weird chords". The use of alternative tunings allows more varied and complex harmonies to be produced on the guitar, without the need for difficult chord shapes. Indeed, many of Joni's guitar songs use very simple chord shapes, but her 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.
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.
In 2003 Rolling Stone named her the 72nd greatest guitarist of all time; she was the highest-ranked woman on the list.
Influences on other artists
Mitchell could be labelled a "musician's musician"; her work has had an enormous influence on artists as disparate as Annie Lennox, Jeff Buckley, Dan Fogelberg, Elvis Costello, Tori Amos, Juice Newton, Maynard James Keenan, Clannad, Madonna, Prince, Björk, George Michael, Conor Oberst, Morrissey, The Roots, The Sundays, KT Tunstall, Meg & Dia and Marie Fredriksson (Roxette) .
For instance, Prince's song "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker" off the album Sign 'O' the Times, 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", Prince references a song in his lyrics (Joni's own "Help Me") as the music begins to emulate the chords and melody of that song. Another Joni reference left by Prince can also be seen on the back cover of his 1981 Controversy record - one of the headlines reads "★JONI★". Mandy Moore also expressed a huge admiration for Mitchell upon the release of her 2003 album Coverage on which she covered Mitchell's classic "Help Me".
A number of artists have had hits covering Mitchell's songs; most recently Sarah McLachlan, who included her version of "River" on her 2006 Christmas album, Wintersong (a year after Aimee Mann covered the same song on her own 2005 Christmas EP). McLachlan also did a version of "Blue" years before. Amy Grant scored a hit in 1995 with a cover of "Big Yellow Taxi", as did The Counting Crows in 2002. Further to this, Janet Jackson used a sample of "Big Yellow Taxi" as the centerpiece of her 1997 single "Got 'Til It's Gone". Rap artists Kanye West and Mac Dre have also sampled Mitchell's vocals in their music. In 2004 singer George Michael covered her song "Edith And The Kingpin" for a radio show. Annie Lennox has covered "Ladies Of The Canyon" for the B-side of her 1995 hit "No More I Love You's". Other famous Mitchell covers include "Woodstock" by both Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and Matthews Southern Comfort, "This Flight Tonight" by Nazareth, "Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins, Clannad, Paul Young and Roger Whittaker, "Woodstock" by Eva Cassidy and "A Case Of You" by Tori Amos, Jane Monheit, Prince, and Diana Krall.
Although Mitchell usually refrains from commenting on other artists, particularly ones that she influences, she has expressed satisfaction with the work of two jazz-based artists who have interpreted her songs, Cassandra Wilson and Diana Krall. Although most listeners tend to remember Mitchell's earlier, more commercially popular work, many musicians have found inspiration in her more experimental work, particularly The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira.
Led Zeppelin's "Going to California" was said to be written about Robert Plant and Jimmy Page's infatuation with Mitchell, a claim that seems to be borne out by the fact that, in live performances, Plant often says "Joni" after the line "To find a queen without a king, they say she plays guitar and cries and sings". Jimmy Page uses a double dropped D guitar tuning similar to the alternative tunings Mitchell uses.
The Sonic Youth song Hey Joni from their Daydream Nation album is named for Mitchell. Sonic Youth also uses a wide variety of alternate guitar tunings.
Madonna has cited Mitchell as the first female artist that really spoke to her as a teenager; "I was really, really into Joni Mitchell. I knew every word to Court and Spark; I worshiped her when I was in high school. Blue is amazing. I would have to say of all the women I've heard, she had the most profound effect on me from a lyrical point of view."
Marie Fredriksson has also cited Joni Mitchell as one of her greatest inspirations. For example fellow Roxette band member Per Gessle has written that the Roxette Album "Pearls of Passion" was a mix of Joni Mitchell and other musicians: "Clarence Öfwerman produced the album and it certainly was a somewhat strange combination; Clarence with his Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush preferences, Marie with her Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega-fantasies and me with my candy-coated Blondie collection." Fredriksson had also covered Mitchell's hit For Free. There are rumours that she is working on a new Joni Mitchell tribute album.
In 2007, Nonesuch Records released A Tribute to Joni Mitchell, a CD 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. Some of the recordings were made in the late 1990s when a project entitled 'A Case Of Joni' was developed, although never released. Among those who recorded tracks for the first tribute album, and remain unreleased were Janet Jackson and Sheryl Crow.
Awards and honors
Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. In 1995, she received Billboard's Century Award. In 1996 she was awarded the Polar Music Prize.
She has received nine regular Grammy Awards during her career, with the first coming in 1969 and the most recent in 2008. She received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, with the citation describing her as "one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity."
Regarding Mitchell as a national treasure, Mitchell's home country Canada has bestowed her with a number of honours. She was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame 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 and Leonard Cohen being the other two), to be appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. She received an honourary doctorate in music from McGill University in 2004. She has been recognized as a member of an influential group of Canadian singer-songwriters who emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, and in January 2007 she was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In June, 2007, Canada Post 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 the 1990s Mitchell was listed as fourth on VH-1's list of "The One Hundred Most Important Women in Rock."
*****All this data, this wonderful history,makes me want to rush out and get a half dozen Joni CD's and starting playing them in my car. I don't listen to enough music anymore; getting old, I guess.