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Joni Mitchell (1945- )
Singer and songwriter, poet and painter
Joni Mitchell
Joni Mitchell at Fort Macleod, Alberta in January 1969.
(Frank Prazak/National Archives of Canada/PA-211916)

If you know the famous song "Woodstock" you're familiar with the work of Joni Mitchell. The Canadian singer is one of the most influential musicians of her time. In 1981 Joni Mitchell had the honour of being inducted into the Juno Hall of Fame and in 1997 she became the first Canadian woman named to the US Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The legendary performer and songwriter received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 - the first Canadian to earn this recognition.

Joni Mitchell's roots are in Western Canada. Born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, the girl named Roberta Joan Anderson grew up in Saskatoon. A victim of polio as a child, she studied piano and the baritone ukulele before picking up a guitar. Joni began writing songs when she moved to Toronto, where she met musician Chuck Mitchell. Adopting the stage name of Joni Mitchell after their marriage, she began performing in Ontario and the northern United States. Joni's first album, Song to a Seagull was produced by David Crosby after she moved to New York City. Joni Mitchell's fame grew as musicians such as Judy Collins and Buffy Sainte-Marie began singing her songs.

Canadian singer Joni Mitchell soon became a celebrity, known around the world. She toured widely, performing in concerts and festivals, and recorded 21 popular albums in about 30 years. Throughout her impressive career in the music business Joni has maintained full control of her work and influenced other artists. Her music has ranged from folk to jazz and rock.

Discover more

  • CBC Life&Times I - Canada's Biography Series: Joni Mitchell
    Sites describes a biography aired by the CBC on television March 2003. Includes eight video clips from the program.
  • Celebration at Big Sur
    20th Century Fox, 1971. 90 minutes. Produced by Carl Gottlieb.
    A musical documentary about the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival, featuring performances by Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and many others.
  • Joni Mitchell
    Joni Mitchell: Painting with Words and Music
    1998 TV concert with Joni Mitchell, now on DVD.
  • Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind
    PBS documentary, 2003. 90 minutes. Now available on DVD.
    Video clips of interviews with Joni Mitchell, David Crosby and Elliot Roberts.
  • The Last Waltz
    Rhino/Warner Bros. Records, 1978. Directed by Martin Scorsese.
    A rock movie filmed during the 1976 farewell concert of 'The Band'. Features performances of rock legends like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and Ringo Starr. Now available as a 4-CD set.
  • Bego, Mark. Joni Mitchell: Both Sides Now. Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004.
  • Belz, Carl. The Story of Rock. Oxford University Press, 1972.
  • Cuellar, Carol. Joni Mitchell: Hits.
  • Cuellar, Carol. Joni Mitchell: Turbulent Indigo. 1995.
  • Fleischer, Leonore. Joni Mitchell. Flash, 1976.
  • Hebert, Gilles, editor. Joni Mitchell: voices. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan: Saskatoon's Art Gallery, 2000.
    Catalogue of an exhibition at the Mendel Art Gallery.
  • Hinton, Brian. Joni Mitchell: both sides now. London: Sanctuary Publications, c. 1996.
  • Luftig, Stacey, editor. The Joni Mitchell Companion: four decades of commentary. New York: Schirmer Books, c. 2000.
  • Mitchell, Joni. Joni Mitchell Anthology. Warner Brothers Publications, 1998.
    Sheet music.
  • Mitchell, Joni and Brian Fround, illustrator. Chelsea Morning. Milk & Cookie Press, 2004.
    For young readers.
  • Mitchell, Joni and Mark Graham, illustrator. Circle Game. Scholastic, 1993.
    For young readers.
  • Mitchell, Joni. Joni Mitchell: The Complete Poems and Lyrics. Crown Publishing Group, 1998.
  • O'Brien, Karen. Joni Mitchell: shadows and light. London: Virgin Books, c. 2001.
  • Smith, Larry Smith. Elvis Costello, Joni Mitchell and the Torch Song Tradition. Praeger Publishers, 2004.


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