When I wrote yesterday that Ladies of the Canyon was my favorite Joni Mitchell album so far, I didn’t realize she released Blue just a year later. So that was a short-lived stint at the top of that particular list.
Blue, released in 1971, is widely considered not just Mitchell’s best album but one of the best albums of all time. Rolling Stone recently placed it at #3 on their list of the 500 greatest albums. It redefined the singer-songwriter genre, inspiring countless artists to this day.
Joni Mitchell’s evolution was quick and remarkable, as she dropped an album a year from 1968 through 1972, each building on the strengths of the last. Her third album, 1970’s Ladies of the Canyon, was quite a leap.
Following the acoustic guitar showcases of her first two releases, Ladies of the Canyon saw Mitchell switch to piano on many of its tracks, with excellent results. She also introduced strings, woodwinds and horns to the mix, and included instrumental stretches that broke up the verse-chorus pattern of her earlier work.
Joni Mitchell’s sophomore album, Clouds, came out in 1969, a year after her well-received debut. Mitchell took over the production reins, as she would on every subsequent album she released.
Clouds features two of Mitchell’s best-loved songs — ‘Chelsea Morning’ and ‘Both Sides, Now’ — recorded by her for the first time after charting for other artists (Judy Collins’s version of the latter song reached the top ten of both the Pop and Easy Listening charts, though Mitchell was reportedly not a fan of the recording).
Today’s a day my most loyal readers never thought would come — the kickoff of a series on the legendary Joni Mitchell. A few weeks ago, I promised a Mitchell deep dive in 2021, so I figured there’s no time like the present.
I have long resisted Mitchell’s work, despite its groundbreaking nature, because I’m not a fan of her voice. Specifically, there’s a nasal sliding sound she makes on some of her songs that irritates me.
Happy Valentine’s Day, readers, but more important, Happy Birthday to my daughter Fiona, who turns 15 today.
This is a Random Weekend, so I get to spin the wheel and see if the Random iTunes Fairy can serve up something appropriate for the occasion.
Let’s give it a whirl…