Joni Mitchell has been an influential force in the entertainment industry for more than 5 decades. Releasing 19 albums since the beginning of her career in the 60’s, she has had countless chart hits. Her songs, including Big Yellow Taxi, River and Both Sides Now, have been covered hundreds of times over by generations of artists, guaranteeing that her music will live on forever. Here, MusicSnake Magazine put together a list of top 10 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about the musician.
Joni Mitchell Can Be Heard on a James Taylor Hit
Around ’72, Mitchell did some collaborating with Carole King and James Taylor, singing back-up for both of them. Most notably, her vocals are featured in Taylor’s biggest hit You’ve Got a Friend.
The Singer Had a Brain Aneurysm in ’15
She pulled through it, though. Statements have said that Joni Mitchell was able to speak well after just 2 months.
Joni Mitchell is a Hall of Famer
In ’81, the musician was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, receiving the award from then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in ’97 by Shawn Colvin.
Big Yellow Taxi Covers
One of her most recognizable songs, Big Yellow Taxi, is known to many generations of music fans, simply because it has been covered so many times. The most notable covers of the song are by Bob Dylan in ’70, Amy Grant in ’95 and the Counting Crows in ’02. Even with 300+ covers of the song, it’s still only her third most covered song behind River (number two) and Both Sides Now (number one).
Georgia O’Keefe Tried to Discourage Her
In an off-the-cuff meeting with painter Georgia O’Keefe, O’Keefe told Mitchell that she couldn’t be a good painter and a good musician at the same time. Mitchell proved her wrong, as her art has been featured in books, as well as art galleries. With the release of her ’85 album, Dog Eat Dog, she threw a release party at a gallery in Los Angeles, where she also displayed her artwork. She did something similar to coincide with the release of 88’s Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm. However, this time, she sold her paintings.
Joni Had Polio as a Child
Mitchell (neé Roberta Joan Anderson) lost her ability to walk because of the disease, which she contracted at the age of 9. Unlike most people who are stricken with polio, though, she made a full recovery. The whole experience brought her back to her church, where she joined the choir.
Mitchell was Inspired to Write by Her English Teacher
When Joni was 12, she had an English teacher that inspired her to “paint with words” the same way she did with a paint brush. He also taught the singer to write about what she knows. These lessons sparked her interest in poetry.
David Crosby has a Production Credit on Her Debut Album
David Crosby saw her performing at a Florida club and immediately fell in love with Mitchell’s style. He ended up being so instrumental in getting the record company to allow Mitchell to record her debut album, which was released on Reprise Records in ’68, without overdubs, that he was given a producer credit.
She Never Played Woodstock
The Singer was supposed to play at Woodstock but was advised not to by her manager due to traffic and her scheduled performance on The Dick Cavett Show. Instead, she wrote a song about it.
Joni Mitchell’s First Husband Saved Her Life and Career
Starting out, Mitchell found it hard to make it as a musician in her native Canada without the money to join the musician’s union. On top of that, around the same time she became pregnant with an ex-boyfriend’s child. Struggling to make ends meet, she met fellow folk musician Chuck Mitchell and the two wed. When the two moved to the US, he helped her get her footing in the music industry. They divorced a year-and-a-half later, but Joni kept her married name.
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