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Joni Mitchell’s Post-Retirement Career Has Been Huge On The Charts Print-ready version

by Hugh McIntyre
Forbes
December 19, 2023

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Joni Mitchell performing at "California Celebrates the Whales" at the Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, California on November 20. 1976. (Photo by Larry Hulst/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Joni Mitchell performing at "California Celebrates the Whales" at ... [+]GETTY IMAGES Joni Mitchell has been largely retired from the music industry since 2007. That year marked the release of her final studio album of original material, Shine. Since then, Mitchell has remained elusive, with rare public appearances and a scarcity of new releases. However, her absence from the forefront of the industry doesn't mean she has faded into obscurity. Surprisingly, Mitchell has experienced a remarkable resurgence on at least one significant Billboard chart.

On the Top Album Sales chart, Mitchell has been enjoying a very fruitful period, particularly in the past few years. The singer-songwriter has managed to accumulate more hits on this chart, which ranks the bestselling albums in the U.S. each week, since her retirement than in the years before she stepped out of the spotlight.

Throughout her lifetime, Mitchell has sent 17 different titles to the Top Album Sales chart. This includes 10 projects that have debuted on the list since Shine arrived in 2007 - more than half of all her placements on the list. While the majority of these charting efforts consist of archival releases and special offerings, their consistent success indicates that the American public remains captivated by anything and everything associated with Mitchell.

Her most successful year in terms of sending new titles on the Top Album Sales chart was 2021, during which she debuted an impressive four projects on the tally. The momentum continued into 2022, with three new placements on the chart. In 2023, Mitchell has already secured a pair of wins.

The resurgence of Mitchell's chart success began in 2020 when she returned to the tally for the first time since Shine debuted in 2007. This unexpected comeback marked the start of a remarkable streak that has continued to gain momentum over the years, one which isn't done yet.

Four of Mitchell's five highest-rising titles on the Top Album Sales chart made their mark in the 2020s decade. Her most notable achievement to date occurred in 2021 when The Reprise Albums (1968-1971) peaked at No. 7, becoming her only top 10 placement on the chart.

Despite not producing new material, Mitchell's allure remains nearly as strong as ever. Thousands of longtime fans continue to demonstrate their unwavering support by investing in old recordings, many from live concerts. While some of her recent releases are remasters or slight variations of older projects that millions may already be familiar with, they continue to perform well. With each new charting hit, Mitchell is consistently adding to her legacy, proving that even if she's retired, she's not done just yet.

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Added to Library on December 19, 2023. (803)

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