Joni Mitchell, original name Roberta Joan Anderson, (born November 7, 1943, Fort McLeod, Alberta, Canada), Canadian experimental singer-songwriter.
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.
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.
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, Marillion, 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.
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.
Thanks to all of the outside exposure, Mitchell began to earn a strong cult following; her 1969 sophomore effort, Clouds, reached the Top 40, while 1970’s Ladies of the Canyon sold even better on the strength of the single “Big Yellow Taxi.” It also included her anthemic composition “Woodstock,” a major hit for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. Still, the commercial and critical approval awarded her landmark 1971 record Blue was unprecedented: a luminous, starkly confessional set written primarily during a European vacation, the album firmly established Mitchell as one of pop music’s most remarkable and insightful talents.
Predictably, she turned away from Blue‘s incandescent folk with 1972’s For the Roses, the first of the many major stylistic turns she would take over the course of her daring career. Backed by rock-jazz performer Tom Scott, Mitchell’s music began moving into more pop-oriented territory, a change typified by the single “You Turn Me On (I’m a Radio),” her first significant hit. The follow-up, 1974’s classic Court and Spark, was her most commercially successful outing; a sparkling, jazz-accented set, it reached the number two spot on the U.S. album charts and launched three hit singles — “Help Me,” “Free Man in Paris,” and “Raised on Robbery.”
SOURCE: Allmusic; IMBd Bio