Happy 75th Birthday Joni Mitchell

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Happy 75th Birthday Joni Mitchell

joni mitchell
Joni Mitchell in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1972 (Photo by Gijsbert Hanekroot/Redferns/Getty Images)

The whole world is celebrating the 75th birthday of an icon today.

Joni Mitchell is without a doubt one of the most influential female singer-songwriters of all time with a career spanning decades and an ability to tell a story through song like no other. 

She is being honoured in L.A. this week with two sold-out nights billed as “JONI 75: A Birthday Celebration Live at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.” James Taylor and Graham Nash are amongst the star-studded line-up, with newer artists like Rufus Wainwright, Norah Jones and Brandi Carlile who cites Joni as her greatest influence.

Rhino Records are celebrating with this brand new lyric video animation for her best-known song, "Big Yellow Taxi." The lyrics as relevant today as they were in 1970.

Those of you paying attention may have spotted at 42 seconds in, the lyrics used are in fact the lyrics from Joni's re-record of the track later on.

On writing the song, Joni said - "I wrote 'Big Yellow Taxi' on my first trip to Hawaii. I took a taxi to the hotel and when I woke up the next morning, I threw back the curtains and saw these beautiful green mountains in the distance. Then, I looked down and there was a parking lot as far as the eye could see, and it broke my heart... this blight on paradise. That's when I sat down and wrote the song."

A true pioneer of "DIY" in music, Joni produced all of her own albums and often designs the artwork for the cover of her albums, as is the case on the reissue of Love Has Many Faces. Having found fame in the late 60s and early 70s and widely considered a pioneer of the folk movement, Joni went on to explore sounds in jazz in the later 70s, and also played with pop and electronics in the 80s.

While some of Joni Mitchell's most popular songs were written on piano, almost every song she composed on the guitar uses an open, or non-standard, tuning; she has written songs in over 50 tunings, playing what she has called "Joni's weird chords". Her right-hand picking/strumming technique has evolved over the years from an initially intricate picking style, typified by the guitar songs on her first album, to a looser and more rhythmic style. 

Remind yourself of her stunning vocal ability and emotive catalogue of songs here on Spotify...

Read more: Joni Mitchell - Love Has Many Faces

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