Celebrations are in order as legendary singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell turns 80 on November 7.
Born Roberta Joan “Joni” Anderson in Alberta, Canada, Mitchell’s rise to fame began in the ’60s and ’70s with such classic songs as “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Chelsea Morning,” “River” and “Both Sides Now.” She also wrote “Woodstock,” which later became a huge hit for her friends Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Mitchell has released 19 studio albums over the course of her career, but it’s her fourth album, 1971’s Blue, that is considered by many to be one of the best pop and rock albums in history.
Her biggest commercial success came with the 1974 release Court and Spark, which features the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Help Me.”
Turning 80 is a pretty big deal considering in 2015 Mitchell suffered a brain aneurysm. She once revealed that she had to learn to walk again following the medical emergency. She made few public appearances after that but hadn’t performed live in 20 years when, in 2022, she surprised audiences at the Newport Folk Festival, joining Brandi Carlile for a guest-filled “Joni Jam.”
Mitchell again returned to the stage in June 2023, headlining a night at Carlile’s Echoes Through the Canyon festival at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington. The set again featured a “Joni Jam” with guests like Annie Lennox and Sarah McLachlan.
Joni has received several accolades over the course of her career. She was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. She received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, the Kennedy Center Honor in 2021 and was awarded the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2023.
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