News archive

JoniMitchell.com has been bringing you the news on Joni since the day the website went live in 1996. It's all archived and searchable here. In addition to the news, you can find an archive of "upcoming tributes and events" that have been listed on the site as well.

News archive

This Thursday - in addition to being Thanksgiving day in the USA - marks the 40th anniversary of The Band's Last Waltz, the legendary concert event held in San Francisco. "The one I remember most was Joni Mitchell," says John Simon, musical director of the event. "The chords she played on the guitar were not standard. The guys would look at her left hand and go, 'What? I remember this one quote from her: I said ‘What’s that chord?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know the name of it. I tune my guitar this way, to make myself stupid’ – in other words, to not fall into pre-determined patterns, patterns she was used to." Rhino has released a 40th Anniversary 5-disc set to commemorate the event. (Photo of Joni and Robbie Robertson © Steve Gladstone)

Joni and Leonard Cohen, both Canadians, met at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967. "For Cohen as well as Mitchell, Toronto played a pivotal career-making role. It was Jack McClelland who almost single-handedly created CanLit, and turned Cohen into a literary star by publishing his work. Joni and Leonard were both blazingly original talents on the verge of breaking into American mainstream culture. Indeed, both would eventually settle in Los Angeles and remain there for decades." Our hearts go out to all those who loved Leonard Cohen.

Oscar Brand, who brought folk music to many generations of people, has left us at 96. He featured a young Joni Anderson on his 'Let's Sing Out' program in October of 1965. Oscar was the host of the 'Folk Song' show for 70 years, and it eventually earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for “longest-airing radio show with the same host.” You will be missed, sir!

The Polaris Music Prize, established in 2006, is an annual award honoring albums by Canadian artists, based on artistic merit rather than sales. But what about all those great Canadian albums that came out before the Polaris Music Prize existed? Well, those records also get some love, courtesy of the Polaris Heritage Prize.

The (Canadian) Heritage award, which was first presented last year, is for albums that would likely have been nominated for the Polaris Prize had it been around back in the day. Ten albums are nominated from each of four time periods: 1960-1975, 1976-1985, 1986-1995 and 1996-2005.

This year's nominees in the 1960-1975 period include Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark, Neil Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, The Band's Music from Big Pink and its self-titled effort, Gordon Lightfoot's Lightfoot! and Leonard Cohen's Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Cast your vote through mid-October.

We are thrilled to see Joni out and about again! Last night she attended a Chick Corea concert at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles. L-R: Joni, Chick Corea, Gayle Moran Corea, Herbie Hancock. (Photo by Toshi Sakurai)

Christopher Cross is working on a new album, and has completed a track called "Roberta" - a tribute to Joni. He's offered to share it with the Joni community, saying "'Roberta' is the first [song] I have completed [on my new album], which is very much influenced by her later work 'Hejira' and beyond." Thanks to Christopher for sharing this preview with the community, we hear the influence!

play  Roberta by Christopher Cross

Joni said in 2006 (in a video message broadcast during Prince's induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame) "Prince. The most amazing performer I have ever witnessed." Prince was also a big fan of Joni's and said that The Hissing of Summer Lawns was "the last album I loved all the way through." As Joni remembered, "Prince attended one of my concerts in Minnesota. I remember seeing him sitting in the front row when he was very young. He must have been about 15. Prince used to write me fan mail with all of the U's and hearts that way that he writes." Prince credited Joni with teaching him "about color and sound." He quoted "Help Me" in his song, "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker." An album by his side project band, The Time, was named Ice Cream Castle. And he covered "A Case of You," with "U" spelled the Prince way, of course. JoniMitchell.com wishes to express its condolences to Prince's family, friends, and fans.