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Inside Joni Mitchell's Career Resurgence Since Her Step Back From The Limelight Print-ready version

by Lora Michelle
The List (UK)
February 3, 2024

Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Since her first paid performance in 1962 in her hometown of Saskatoon in Saskatchewan, Canada, Joni Mitchell has been an undeniable, guitar-playing vocal force with legions of fans. Her most popular songs, including "Circle Game," "Big Yellow Taxi," "Both Sides Now," and "A Case of You," have been idolized and covered by everyone from Prince to Willie Nelson, and Green Day to Tori Amos.

The singer recorded her last studio album of new music in 2007, and after performing on and off for decades, all musical activity came to a complete stop in 2015, when Mitchell tragically suffered an aneurysm. She revealed in late 2020 that she was still working her way toward a full recovery, and in an interview published in The Guardian, she told Cameron Crowe that the aneurysm had made a significant impact on her life. "[It] took away my speech and my ability to walk. And, you know, I got my speech back quickly, but the walking I'm still struggling with. But I mean, I'm a fighter."

The interview was in promotion of Mitchell releasing an album, "Joni Mitchell Archives Vol 1: The Early Years (1963-1967)," a collection of over 100 previously unreleased songs she performed for demos and small gigs early in her career. That album earned her a Grammy for Best Historical Album - and it wasn't even the first time after leaving the limelight that her music made a splash without her stepping into the studio. She has continued to enjoy tremendous success ever since. 

Joni Mitchell's last studio album of original music, "Shine," was released in 2007, but the singer, who turned 80 in November 2023, has hardly been off the radar, keeping a solid base of faithful fans content and happy. Over a dozen various compilations of her previous work, including both studio and live recordings, have been released since 2007, with 10 of them achieving top album sales on the charts.

Since 2020 alone, Mitchell has had her album "Clouds" inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, earned two honorary doctorates, received Kennedy Center honors from President Biden, been named Person of the Year by MusiCares, won her ninth Grammy, and was handed the Gershwin Prize by the Library of Congress. "My songs ... they're not folk music, they're not jazz, they're art songs," she told the Library of Congress during the prize event. "They embody classical things and jazzy things and folky things, long line poetry."

One of Mitchell's most popular albums, "Blue," celebrated the 50th anniversary of its release in June 2021. In honor of the record, which gave the world such songs as "A Case of You," "Carey," and "California," a new EP, "Blue at 50: Demos and Outtakes," was released, including different takes of five tracks from the original album. "Blue" hit number 21 on the Billboard Top Album Sales chart; "Blue at 50" hit number 13, proving some things, like Joni Mitchell's voice, never go out of style.

While fans keep listening to Joni Mitchell in vinyl, CD, and digital formats, there's nothing like a live performance, and luckily, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has returned to performing on stage. In July 2022, she made a surprise appearance at the Newport Music Festival, her first full-set concert in 20 years. From that performance came the live-record album "At Newport," released a year later in 2023. The singer received her 18th Grammy nomination for the effort, this one for Best Folk Album.

Not only do the 2024 Grammy Awards honor Mitchell's newest nomination, but they also signify a first for the singer. Despite winning her first Grammy 54 years prior, she never performed on stage at the Grammys until the 66th annual show in February 2024.

In keeping with her "firsts" streak, she also announced in 2024 that she would be headlining her first concert in Los Angeles in over 24 years, scheduled for October 19, 2024 at the Hollywood Bowl. The response was so overwhelming and ticket demand so high that a second show was immediately added. "I'm feeling the love," Mitchell told CBS about her career resurgence. "It's very rewarding. It feels good."

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Added to Library on February 3, 2024. (946)


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Giles on

To describe Joni's recent live album in this way is inaccurate The quality of the recording is superb and it captures the feeling of the event .There is real joy and a sense of fun !
I like Taylor Swift but unlike Joni a lot of her songs are not just written buy her and her process often relies on electronically .assisted techniques .
To compare artists in this way is not useful .They are both great artists and Joni is an original her work stands up there with Dylan and Morrison and in many ways she is the best of them