Happy 70th Birthday, Joni Mitchell!  The singer/songwriter/painter was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943 in Alberta, Canada.  In honor of her birthday, I’m sharing some of my favorite Joni Mitchell quotes and 3 amazing performances to watch and share!

On songwriting:

“You could write a song about some kind of emotional problem you are having, but it would not be a good song, in my eyes, until it went through a period of sensitivity to a moment of clarity. Without that moment of clarity to contribute to the song, it’s just complaining.”

On formal piano lessons:

“I wanted to play… I wanted to do what I do now, which is to lay my hand on it and to memorize what comes off of it and to create with it. But my music teacher told me I played by ear which was a sin, you know, and that I would never be able to read these pieces because I memorized things… I didn’t fall into the norm for that system, so I dropped that.”

On our planet:

“I see the entire world as Eden, and every time you take an inch of it away, you must do so with respect.”

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.”

On painting:

“I have always thought of myself as a painter derailed by circumstance.”

“I sing my sorrow, and I paint my joy.”

On love:

“Love is touching souls.”

3 Amazing Joni Mitchell Performances:

1. “California”- Her voice is completely one-of-a-kind and this performance of “California” (1971) showcases it. I love watching her play the dulcimer as she sings- the music just seems to pour out of her!


2. “Big Yellow Taxi”- I love this performance from a concert in 1970. Such great lyrics and such a great melody! From Joni: “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.” (source)


3. “A Case of You”- This gorgeous song is from Joni’s 1971 album Blue. The recording featured James Taylor on acoustic guitar!

“Oh, you’re in my blood like holy wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling
And I would still be on my feet
Oh, I would still be on my feet.”


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