Joni Mitchell: 15 Facts You Didn’t Know (Part 2)

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We previously brought you part one of our list of 15 interesting facts about Joni Mitchell. Now, we bringing you eight more facts about Mitchell’s inspiring and influential music career that has earned her several awards and international fame.

Number Eight: She Can Be Heard on a James Taylor Hit. Around 1972, she 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.”

Number Seven: She Wrote Songs with Charles Mingus. Mingus was a fan of Joni Mitchell’s work and really wanted to collaborate with her. At first, he wanted her to turn a T.S. Eliot poem into a song, but when she refused, he came up with a new solution. He had written six songs for Mitchell and wanted her to write the lyrics. She took the challenge and created what would become her album, Mingus. The band she recorded the music with included Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Don Alias, Peter Erskine and Jaco Pastorious.

Number Six: She is a Hall of Famer. In 1981, she was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, receiving the award from then Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 by Shawn Colvin.

Number Five: 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 1985 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 1988’s Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm;, however, this time, she sold her paintings.

Number Four: There was a Revue Written Around Her Music. Dubbed The Joni Mitchell Project, the show ran at the L.A. Theater Center for three months in 1990. The show featured three female singers and two male singers performing her music. On an evening when Mitchell came to the show, she was asked to perform a couple of songs for the audience.

Number Three: She Retired from Touring. Over the years, she has had a love/hate stance about touring, but in the mid-2000s, she decided to retire from touring and performing in public. She does, however, continue to support environmental initiatives and occasionally will make a public appearance to speak on the cause.

Number Two: She Had a Brain Aneurysm in 2015. Mitchell pulled through it, though. Statements have said that she was able to speak well after just two months, and she is currently undergoing rehabilitation.

Number One: “Big Yellow Taxi” Covers. One of Joni Mitchell’s 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 1970, Amy Grant in 1995 and the Counting Crows in 2002. Even with 300-plus covers of the song, it is still only her third most covered song behind “River” (number two) and “Both Sides Now” (number one). Thank you for reading our list of 15 interesting facts about Joni Mitchell. We hope you enjoyed it!

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