Joni Mitchell is a Canadian-American singer who is revered as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. However, Joni wasn’t always given the acclaim and respect she deserved, as she details in this interview for Elton John’s Rocket Hour on Apple Music 1. With two astronomical talents like this, you know we got an interview that is full of golden insights and unfiltered honesty.
Joni Discusses Her Legacy
Who can say they had a Number One album 50 years after its release? Not many people, but Joni Mitchell is one of the few who can! After Brandi Carlile performed Joni Mitchell’s album Blue in full at Disney Hall, the album rocketed to the top of the charts. How could it not? Blue is such an immensely influential and moving album, but it also has generational appeal with its content matter.
If you’re new to Joni’s music and want to find a good place to start, this album is all you could need and more. Seriously, one look at her wiki page will show you how many Top Albums of All Time lists this record has landed on- and for a good reason! We’ve also got to give you a recommendation of our personal fave Joni songs, ‘Both Sides Now,’ ‘Big Yellow Taxi,’ (hello Harries), and ‘River.’ They are all songwriting genius, we can’t get enough.
She’s Not Always Gotten Proper Recognition
We wish we could say that as a female songwriter, Joni Mitchell was given the credit and recognition she deserved from early on in her career, but the world is not always just. During the interview, Elton asked what the reception was like for her early work, noting that he thought it was groundbreaking (we agree). When he asked if it got the recognition he believed it deserved, here’s what Joni had to say:
At the time, no, it took a lot of flack, if anything. People thought that it was too intimate. It was almost like Dylan going electric. I think it upset the male singer-songwriters. They’d go, “Oh, no. Do we have to bear our souls like this now?” I think it made people nervous. More nervous than… It took to this generation, they seem to be able to face those emotions more easily than my generation.
Joni Mitchell for Apple Music 1
While we’re sad that her work wasn’t fully embraced at the time, we love that she took the time to shout out our generation for their ability to be more openly emotive. It’s all about creating a safer environment for the next generations, and we love that ours is being recognized for trying to do that. We know we couldn’t have had the space to do so without Joni’s early work though, and we wanted to commend her for forging the way for us. As Elton said, her work was ground-breaking at the time it was released, and we wouldn’t have music as we know it without Joni’s influence.
Her Performance At The Newport Folk Festival
For those of you who haven’t followed Joni Mitchell’s career closely, you may not know that in 2015 Joni suffered a brain aneurysm. This left her debilitated and unable to sing, speak or walk. In the years since, she has been undergoing rehabilitation and relearning. Many fans were unsure if they would ever see her on a stage again. It was, therefore, an incredible triumph and an absolute delight to fans to witness her take to the stage at the Newport Folk Festival in July. We wish we were in that audience because we’ve heard the performance had an immensely positive and supportive crowd that day. Not to mention she was slaying the lower harmonies, which our Altos out there will know is no mean feat!
In the interview, you can see how much it meant to Joni that she had that support and loving energy. It really got us emotional. Elton John conducts interviews so well, and it’s clear through the interview the adoration and respect he has for Joni. If you want to watch the full interview (and we highly recommend you do!), you can catch it here! Joni also mentioned that recordings from the festival will hopefully soon be available. We can’t wait for it, nothing has made us as emotional in a long time as her performance of ‘Both Sides Now’ from that festival. Gosh, Joni, we just love you so much. Thank you for your music.