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Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell is one of the most critically acclaimed, influential female singer-songwriters of all time. She has been credited as a major influence by artists such as Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Colvin and Madonna, and is widely credited with blazing a path for women who desire to make meaningful music.

Mitchell was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 17, 1943 in Ft. McLeod, Saskatchewan, Canada. Hospitalized with polio at age 9, Mitchell began singing to entertain herself and others and, when she recovered, learned to play guitar using a book written by folk legend Pete Seeger. After finishing art school, the young singer-songwriter became a coffeehouse regular in Calgary, then moved to Toronto, where she met and married folk singer Chuck Mitchell. Now called Joni Mitchell, she and Chuck moved to Detroit. When they divorced, Joni remained in Detroit, where she became increasingly famous for her moving, heartfelt songs.

Successful New York shows led Reprise Records to sign Mitchell in 1967; her self-titled debut album, produced by David Crosby, came out the following year. Joni Mitchell, a concept album comparing city life to the seashore, was quickly followed by Clouds, another acoustic album, though darker, which reached the Top 40. 1970's Ladies of the Canyon expanded Mitchell's following with the radio hit "Big Yellow Taxi," an environmental ballad; it also featured longer instrumental passages and added complex accompaniment (piano, woodwinds and strings), two directions further explored in Mitchell's later work. Ladies of the Canyon also contains her song "Woodstock," later turned into a hit by her friend, David Crosby, with Crosby, Stills and Nash.

Joni Mitchell received widespread critical acclaim for her 1972 breakthrough Blue, an honest, introspective, acoustic effort that defined the "confessional" singer-songwriter album for years to come. 1973's For the Roses was a radical departure from Blue, a jazz-oriented, piano-guitar album that featured the hit single "You Turn Me On (I'm a Radio)." Mitchell continued drawing on jazz on 1974's Court and Spark, which reached No. 2 and spawned the singles "Raised on Robbery," "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris."

The Hissing of Summer Lawns, released in 1975, broke new ground for Mitchell with its experimental mix of jazz, folk and world beat music (specifically, Burundi drumming). Hejira, released the following year, featured bass work by none other than Jaco Pastorius (of Weather Report); inspired by a road trip across the U.S., Hejira was Mitchell's most jazz-influenced album yet. 1977's Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, a double album, further pushed the boundaries of Mitchell's songcraft, consisting of detached, mostly improvisational jazz recorded with a cast of accomplished musicians, including Chaka Khan. 1979's Mingus (a jazz album, of course) grew out of a brief collaboration between Mitchell and jazz legend Charles Mingus, who died before the album was recorded.

After a several year hiatus, Mitchell returned to the studio in 1982 to record Wild Things Run Fast, her first album for Geffen Records. Reintroducing pop and folk to Mitchell's jazz stylings, Wild Things spawned the radio single "(You're So Square) Baby I Don't Care," an Elvis cover that became Mitchell's first commercial hit in nearly a decade. Three years later she returned with Dog Eat Dog, a jazz/folk/pop fusion which featured synthesizer work by Thomas Dolby. Mitchell continued her use of electronics on 1988's Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm, a percussion-heavy album featuring guest appearances by Peter Gabriel, Don Henley, Billy Idol, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and ex-Cars member Benjamin Orr. Her next album, 1991's Night Ride Home, was a return to her folk roots, while 1994's Turbulent Indigo featured only Mitchell and her acoustic guitar, recalling her critically acclaimed work in the early 1970s.

In 1996 she released two compilations Hits and Misses; two years later, in 1998, she announced her first live concert appearances in more than a decade, supporting Bob Dylan on several of his West Coast dates. An album of new material, Taming the Tiger, appeared in 1998, while a collection of Mitchell singing old standards (such as “At Last” and “Stormy Weather”) called Both Sides Now was released in 2000.

In the fall of 2002, Mitchell released orchestrated versions of songs that span her career on Travelogue. Vince Mendoza served as arranger and conductor, while filmmaker Alison Anders documented the recording sessions. The film will be broadcast on PBS in March of 2003.

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Joni Mitchell Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story

Red Distribution
DVD Release Date: June 3, 2003
Reviewer: from East Coast

If you aren't a fan of Joni Mitchell, you will be after watching this. Chronicles her life from childhood, early roots of her music, to present time. It is wonderful to see her interviewed about her work and to see her perform the songs. I saw the DVD version which has extra shots of concert clips - do not know if the VHS version has this.
Interviews with her contemporaries such as Graham Nash, David Crosby, provide additional insight into her creative process.
Mitchell diiscusses her lyrics and metaphors.....as an avid fan of hers all these years, I gained even more insight into her personae and if possible.....appreciate her even more.

Joni Mitchell Hits

CD (October 29, 1996)
Original Release Date: October 29, 1996
Label: Warner Brothers

US Release  SEALED

Joni Mitchell Misses

CD (October 29, 1996)
Original Release Date: October 29, 1996
Label: Warner Brothers

Canadian Release  SEALED

Joni Mitchell For Free

SEALED

Joni Mitchell Taming the Tiger

Release Date: 29 September, 1998

US Release  SEALED

Taming the Tiger finds Mitchell playing her guitar through a Roland VG8, adding fresh texture to her continuing musical association with Wayne Shorter's sax and the rhythm section of Larry Klein and Brian Blade. 'Happiness is the best facelift' is the line you'll hear quoted, but it isn't truly representative. Song painter Joni knows that light creates infinite gradations of shadow, and this is as varied a collection as she's given us. 'Love has many faces,' she sings in 'Love Puts on a New Face'; and her portraits of longing ('Man from Mars'), abandon ('Crazy Cries of Love') and quiet fury ('No Apologies') are exquisite. --Ben Edmonds

Joni Mitchell
Both Sides Now

CD (March 21, 2000)
Original Release Date: March 21, 2000
Label: Warner Brothers

Canadian Release SEALED

BOTH SIDES NOW, Reprise. Grammys for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Performance, with Larry Klein, producer; Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist, Vince Mendoza.

Joni Mitchell
The Beginning of Survival

Original Release Date July 27, 2004
Label-Geffen

Canadian Release

The Beginning of Survival is a whopping 16-track collection from Joni Mitchell's Geffen period, recorded between 1985-1998, and carefully chosen by the artist as "commentaries on the world in which we live."

Joni Mitchell
Chalk Mark In A Rain Storm

Release Date: 25 October, 1990
Label: Geffen

US Release  SEALED

Joni Mitchell
Wild Things Run Fast

Release Date: 26 June, 1992
Label: Geffen

US Release  SEALED

Joni Mitchell's 13th album

Joni Mitchell For The Roses

CD (October 25, 1990)
Original Release Date: November 1972
Label: Elektra/Asylum

Canadian Release  SEALED