TORONTO -- Singer-songwriter James Taylor, funk legend Chaka Khan and jazz innovator Herbie Hancock were among the stars gathered at a black-tie gala to pay tribute to Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell.
The reclusive folk icon drew a crowd the moment she entered a cocktail reception before the show, smiling and shaking hands with journalists and invited guests.
Mitchell was one of several homegrown artists to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame at a glitzy ceremony in Toronto last night.
She was later serenaded by some of her biggest hits, including Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me and Woodstock.
Hancock, who collaborated with Mitchell in the late '70s as she experimented with free-form jazz, said backstage that he was honoured to have been asked to present the award to the Canadian songstress.
"I don't know how she does it," Hancock said of his friend's acclaimed songwriting, known for its musical complexity and astute lyrics. "Everything that she writes sounds unbelievable to me."
The star-filled event also featured jazz crooner Michael Buble, country singer Corb Lund, singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy and soprano Measha Brueggergosman.
Country pioneer Wilf Carter, Broadway lyricist Raymond B. Egan and Montreal chanteur Jean-Pierre Ferland were also inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Ferland is considered a figurehead of Quebec music, receiving two major tributes from his peers in recent years.
Classic songs inducted at the ceremony included David Clayton-Thomas's Spinning Wheel, Ralph Freed and Burton Lane's How About You and Sylvia Tyson's You Were On My Mind, recorded with her then-husband Ian Tyson.
Mitchell is an accomplished singer, painter, poet and photographer.
Her songs have been covered by thousands of artists, including Judy Collins, Fairport Convention, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Aimee Mann and Sarah McLachlan.
CBC Radio will broadcast segments of the tribute gala, beginning with Sounds Like Canada on Radio One at 11 a.m. today, and as a two-hour special at 8 p.m. today on Radio Two.
A CBC-TV show about the gala will follow on March 5.
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Added to Library on January 29, 2007. (6824)
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