Joni Mitchell booking
Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her
melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most
authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar.
Mitchell’s unflinching struggle for her own artistic independence has made her a role model for many
other musicians, and somewhat of a bane to music industry executives. She is critical of the industry
and of the shallowness that she sees in much of today’s popular music. Mitchell is also a noted painter
and has created the beautiful artwork that appears on the packaging of her music albums.
Joni Mitchell first became famous for penning “Both Sides Now”, a song that helped launched the
career of pop/folk singer Judy Collins. When Mitchell began as a songwriter many of her lyrics
displayed a wisdom that was precocious for someone who was in her early twenties. Mitchell was first
noticed as a performer in New York City’s music scene. Her first album appeared in 1968, which
featured her voice and her acoustic guitar with virtually no other accompaniment on most songs.
She became romantically involved with David Crosby and later Graham Nash, both of the majorly
successful West Coast rock group Crosy, Stills and Nash. Mitchell literally wrote the theme song for
the historic mega-concert Woodstock. Arguably her most popular song from this era may be “Big
Yellow Taxi” with its well-known lyrics: “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got
till it’s gone, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”.
Mitchell’s music was originally considered to be folk, but after her initial success she began to grow in
a jazz direction. Her collaboration with saxophonist and band leader Tom Scott produced the album
“Court and Spark”, one of the most popular and influential albums of all time. As her music style
veered increasingly towards jazz, Mitchell sadly observed that her pop/folk fans did not follow her to
the new musical place she was going to. The sales of her later albums declined. Nonetheless her work
was still followed by many within the music industry. Mitchell worked closely with jazz great Charles
Mingus on his last project. She did several albums with jazz bass player Jaco Pastorius, and several
more with her second husband, musician and sound engineer Larry Klein. The most popular songs in
her career include Big Yellow Taxi, Both Sides Now, Help Me, River, and A Case of You. Her most
popular albums include Court and Spark, Hejira, Turbulent Indigo, and Blue.
Joni Mitchell’s influence on other musicians has been so broad that it is difficult to summarize. She has
been a notable influence on Prince, Elvis Costello, George Michael, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, Morissey,
Seal, Beck, Cassandra Wilson, Diana Krall and a great many of other women songwriters that are too
numerous to mention. Led Zeppelin’s “Going to California” is an homage to Mitchell. Mitchell’s songs
have been covered by the likes of Bob Dylan, Mandy Moore, Minnie Riperton, Frank Sinatra, the
Counting Crows, Linda Ronstadt, Neil Diamond, Tori Amos, the Spin Doctors, Nazareth, the Indigo
Girls, and many more. Mitchell’s music made an appearance in the movie _Love Actually_ (2003) . In
this mostly comedic film, actress Emma Thompson’s character is a fan of Joni Mitchell’s music. At one
point in the movie, Thompson’s character discovers that she has been betrayed by her husband for a
much younger woman. She puts on a brave face for the kids, but her moment of private, painful
revelation is shown on screen accompanied by an audio track that is silent except for an overdub of
Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now”, not the original upbeat recording from the 1960s when Mitchell
was a 23-year-old ingénue, but rather the recent re-recording, a somber sentimental performance by
the now husky-voiced middle-aged Mitchell, backed by a lush orchestra — a performance akin to an
older, wiser Frank Sinatra singing the retrospective “It Was A Very Good Year” when he was sixty.
This poignant scene is the dramatic pinnacle of the film.
Joni Mitchell remains a role model to artists everywhere. Her paintings are being shown in various
galleries and on tours, and she is releasing an album of new music in 2007.
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