Mitchell, Joni

Mitchell, Joni, 1943–, Canadian-American songwriter, singer, guitarist, poet, and painter, b. MacLeod (now Fort Macleod), Alta., as Roberta Joan Anderson; married musician Chuck Mitchell (1965–67). She moved (1967) from Detroit to New York City, and sang on the East Coast folk circuit. She cut her first record, Joni Mitchell, in 1968, the year singer Judy Collins recorded Mitchell's “Both Sides Now,” which became a top pop hit. Mitchell's quirky, complex, witty, and often introspective songs, frequently marked by social or feminist concerns, resonated with the young folk-rock audience. She had successive hits with such albums as Clouds (1969; Grammy), Ladies of the Canyon (1970), Blue (1971), and Court and Spark (1974), producing her only top ten hit, "Help Me." During the late 1970s she turned to jazz experiments in The Hissing of Summer Lawns (1975), Hejira (1976), Mingus (1979), and other albums. Among her notable later albums are Dog Eat Dog (1985), Turbulent Indigo (1997; Grammy), and Travelogue (2002). Mitchell continued to record into the 21st cent., although she was hampered increasingly by health issues. Her music has been championed as a major influence by many other female singer/songwriters, most notably in the 2020s by Brandi Carlile, who has performed the entire Blue album live in homage to Mitchell. Among her many awards include nine Grammy Awards and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (2002) and a Kennedy Center Honor (2021).

See Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics (1997), Morning Glory on the Vine: Early Songs and Drawings (2019); biographies by B. Hinton (1996), K. O'Brien (2001), D. Yaffe (2017), M.A. O'Neill (2021); studies by S. Nelson, Joni Mitchell: Court and Spark (2006), S. Weller, Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon—And the Journey of A Generation; collections by M. Marom, ed., Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words (2013), B. Hoskyns, ed., Joni: The Anthology (2017), S. Whitall, ed., Joni on Joni: Interviews and Encounters with Joni Mitchell (2018); Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind (documentary, 2003).

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