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Joni Mitchell Receives Billboard Century Award Print-ready version

December 16, 1995
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The remarks of Peter Gabriel upon introducing Joni Mitchell as the winner of the 1995 Billboard Century Award:

"I'm here to honor one of the very few artists I believe has been a real pioneer. I'm a songwriter, and for something like 20 years, this writer's work has been a regular inspiration. It is unique. With her melodies, harmonies, guitar tunings, lyrics, extraordinary voice, and arrangements, she has continuously and courageously experimented, putting substance before style, passion before packaging, and all the time creating wonderful pictures with her songs.

"She's been a major influence on my work, as she has on many other artists as diverse as Seal, Madonna, Sting, Natalie Merchant, Annie Lennox, and the Artist Formerly Known As The Artist Formerly Known As.

"When I think of her music, I think of imagination, invention, intelligence, and, most important, a lot of soul. I was very happy to have had the chance to work with her, and tonight I'm delighted that all her remarkable work is being recognized with the Billboard Century Award. Ladies and gentlemen, here is the 1995 Billboard Century Award honoree, Joni Mitchell."

Joni Mitchell's comments upon acceptance:

"Thank you. I want to thank Billboard very much for this honor, and especially Tim White, who championed the last three, at least, of my projects, as far as I know. Oh, there's so many people I should thank, but I've been thinking a lot about arrogance and humility - trying to find some genuine humility to bring to this situation, but I feel like I'm emerging from the McCarthy era in a certain way. I never thought of it as difficult being a woman in this industry, but it has been pointed out to me in the last few days how few women there really were, and there were some strikes against us in the beginning.

"The people that I need to especially thank are the people who love my music, because it's the record-buying people who keep you in this business. Through the sea of misunderstandings and rejections and dismissals, there were always those people who came forward in the street to tell me that they love one song or another or to tell me sometimes a story of a particular lyric that affected their life, and to those people I'm so grateful, because they are the ones who kept me wanting to make another album. Thank you, music lovers."

BB Awards Honor Joni, TLC, Hootie


The Century Award, Billboard's highest honor for creative achievement, was presented to Joni Mitchell by Peter Gabriel. In his presentation, Gabriel called Mitchell a "true pioneer" and "great influence."

Backstage At The Billboard Awards

A backstage report by Larry Flick, Melinda Newman, and Paul Verna from the Billboard Awards.

BILLBOARD CENTURY AWARD winner Joni Mitchell said she was excited to begin work on a new album, possibly to be followed by a tour. "I'm playing with this extraordinary young drummer, Brian Blade, and we're about to start recording the next album with optimism to tour," she said. "So I'm excited to perform with him in front of people. We did a little gig here at the Fez, just Brian and I. We sound like a whole orchestra." Mitchell has six new songs thus far.

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