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

On June 22, 1971, Joni released Blue, concluding her prolific four-album run for Reprise Records with an album considered by many to be one of the greatest of all time. Its stirring songs have been celebrated by music lovers and critics alike for decades while inspiring a wide variety of artists as diverse as Prince and Taylor Swift. Even today, its stature as a masterpiece continues to grow. Just last year, the album was named #3 on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

To celebrate the album’s 50th anniversary, Rhino is releasing THE REPRISE ALBUMS (1968- 1971), featuring newly remastered versions of Blue (1971) and the three albums that came before it: Song To A Seagull (1968), Clouds (1969), and Ladies Of The Canyon (1970). In the case of Song To A Seagull, the original mix has been recently updated by Joni and mixer Matt Lee. “The original mix was atrocious,” says Joni. “It sounded like it was recorded under a jello bowl, so I fixed it!”

THE REPRISE ALBUMS (1968-1971) will be available on July 2 in 4-CD and 4-LP 180-gram vinyl (Limited Edition of 10,000) versions, as well as digitally. The newly remastered version of “A Case Of You” from Blue is available today on all digital download and streaming services. Pre-order the CD or LP version of THE REPRISE YEARS (1968-1971) from JoniMitchell.com and you'll also receive an exclusive limited edition 7” x 7” print of the self-portrait featured on the cover art.

Read the press release here and visit the store for more information.

Joni Mitchell's 75th birthday celebration concert from Music Center LA is coming to select theater locations as a Private Watch Party! Through April 22, you can safely gather up to 20 friends in your own auditorium to see Brandi Carlile, Glen Hansard, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Chaka Khan, Seal, Rufus Wainwright and more light up the big screen with incredible musical performances from throughout Joni's remarkable career.

More information on booking your screening here.

SFJAZZ announces new members of the award-winning SFJAZZ Collective – saxophonist and music director Chris Potter, vocalist Lizz Wright, bassist Aneesa Strings, and drummer Kendrick A.D. Scott. This lineup will explore the music of Joni Mitchell in 2021 and is planning tours in 2022. Formed in 2004, SFJAZZ Collective lineup also includes tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, trumpeter Etienne Charles, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, and pianist Edward Simon.

During the Spring of 2021, the SFJAZZ Collective will explore the music of iconic singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell who received the 2015 SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award. Mitchell is a singular artist with deep connections to the jazz continuum whose work continues to have an extraordinary impact on popular culture. The SFJAZZ Collective is currently in the studio, virtually, recording innovative versions of her classic songs as well as new compositions inspired by her legacy. This material will be the basis for the band’s upcoming album to be released in Fall 2021. The group is making plans to present this material in 2022 on US and international tours.

More information here. Press release here.

"It is well known that Joni Mitchell and her engineer and creative catalyst Henry Lewy worked as a partnership to make all of her 1970s albums, in a pretty closed door operation. However, on Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter and Mingus, a third production partner was involved, from running the tape machine to mic placement, from tracking through mixing - A&M staff engineer Steve Katz.

"Steve was at A&M from 1974 to 1983, nine important years in the booming record business at that time, and he helped create some of the great albums of that time coming out of Los Angeles." -Dave Blackburn

Steve passed away on January 28. Read more here. [Photo L-R: Steve, Henry Lewy, Joni]

Beginning in New York City as a teenager, Sherry chronicled the artists redefining what pop music was as the 60s gave way to the 70s for various underground magazines. Early iconic photographs of Tina Turner, Joni, James Taylor, and Laura Nyro created trust and opened doors for revelatory images of Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.

By the time she arrived in Los Angeles, the Troubadour scene was full-force. Sherry, who plays a blue Fender Stratocaster, was on the frontlines of the rock, pop, folk and Laurel Canyon country-rock scenes as much a fellow musician as a photographer documenting the music.

A great coffee table addition for all Joni and Troubadour completists! More information here.

"As the first staff photographer for Rolling Stone magazine in the 1960s, he captured some of the most enduring faces of the era in their prime: Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Who, Janis Joplin, Rolling Stones, Joni Mitchell, Grateful Dead and Steve Miller, among others.

On Oct. 4, Wolman posted a grim message on social media saying that in 2019 he was diagnosed with ALS - the terminal motor-neuron illness better known as Lou Gehrig's disease - and was nearing the end of his life.

"Sad to say I'm now in the final sprint to the end," he wrote. "I go forward with a huge amount of gratitude for the many blessings bestowed upon me... with no regrets, and appreciation for how my photographs - my life's work - have been received."

He died at his home in Santa Fe, N.M., on Monday, Nov. 2, Dianne Duenzl, his representative, said in a statement. He was 83.
-Aidin Vaziri

Joni is opening her vault for the first time to create the Joni Mitchell Archives, a new series of boxed set releases that will span the next several years, featuring deep dives into unreleased content from different eras of her storied career. Joni has been intimately involved in producing the archive series, lending her vision and personal touch to every element of the project. The first set is being officially announced today, to be released October 30. Click the new STORE link above for special exclusive website offers.

Annie Ross of Lambert, Hendricks and Ross died today in New York City. She was 4 days shy of her 90th birthday. In a 1986 interview, Joni stated that "...friends of mine who were older than me and in college began talking about Lambert, Hendricks and Ross as the hottest new sound in jazz. Their record flipped me out, but it was already out of print. I had to finally buy it off somebody and pay a lot, maybe fifteen dollars, which was unheard of at that time. But you couldn't get the record anywhere. Lambert, Hendricks and Ross were my Beatles. In high school, theirs was the record I wore thin, the one I knew all the words to."

In 1952, Ross met Prestige Records owner Bob Weinstock, who asked her to write lyrics to a jazz solo in a similar way to King Pleasure, a practice that would later be known as vocalese. The next day, she presented him with the song "Twisted", a treatment of saxophonist Wardell Gray's 1949 composition of the same name- a song Joni later recorded on the Court and Spark album.

Superstars (including Joni) and rising stars band together to ask Congress to support independent music venues across the country in the quest to #SaveOurStages.

"Independent venues give artists their start, often as the first stage most of us have played on. These venues were the first to close and will be the last to reopen. With zero revenue and the overwhelming overhead of rent, mortgage, utilities, taxes and insurance, 90% of independent venues report that if the shutdown lasts six months and there’s no federal assistance, they will never reopen again."

A new two-part documentary series titled Laurel Canyon, focusing on the fertile music scene that coalesced in the Los Angeles neighborhood of the same name, where many famous artists resided and congregated starting in the late 1960s, will premiere on Epix on May 31 and June 7 at 9 p.m. ET.

The program will include music from such legendary artists as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Joni Mitchell, The Doors, Linda Ronstadt, The Byrds, Eagles, The Mamas & the Papas, Jackson Browne, The Monkees, The Turtles, Buffalo Springfield and more.

It also will feature rare and newly rediscovered film footage and audio, as well as new interviews with Browne, Don Henley, Michelle Phillips, Graham Nash, Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Roger McGuinn and others.

You can check out a teaser trailer for Laurel Canyon now at the Epix YouTube channel. The video includes a montage of archival film and photos of various famous musicians, along with commentary from The Monkees' Micky Dolenz, Nash, David Crosby and more.

Dolenz notes that Laurel Canyon "was a very small community of musicians and long-haired weirdos," while Nash declares, "We were at the very center of this beautiful bubble of creativity and friendship."

Crosby, meanwhile, says, "When a chemistry happens between people musically, it's magic."

Laurel Canyon was directed by Alison Ellwood, whose credits include 2013's History of the Eagles and the new documentary The Go-Go's.

Philadelphia’s Gene Shay — the voice of a music community for over 50 years, a celebrator and curator of folk music on the airwaves and an eager supporter of it from the stage — has passed away at age 85 from complications surrounding COVID-19. Shay debuted on Philadelphia radio in 1962 at WRTI, and hosted the Folk Show on WXPN from 1995 to 2015.

The impact and influence of that show cannot be overstated. Joni famously wrote her song “Both Sides Now” during downtime when she was playing two nights at Sansom Street venue The Second Fret, and premiered it with an acoustic performance for Shay and his listeners on the WDAS airwaves. [-John Vettese].

You can read a series of interviews with Gene and Joni here.

Wallace Roney, a trumpeter and composer who embodied the pugnacious, harmonically restive side of post-bop throughout an illustrious four-decade career, died Tuesday at St. Joseph's University Medical Center in Paterson, N.J. He was 59. The cause was complications from COVID-19. (Nate Chinen)

Wallace played trumpet for Joni on her 2000 "Both Sides Now" tour.

In a new book, available April 7, 28 crime writers pay tribute to Joni's musical legacy with short stories inspired by her lyrics, representing each of her seventeen studio albums from 1968's Song to a Seagull to 2007's Shine. Joni was once asked to explain a song: "Who cares what I meant, what does it mean to you?" This book answers that.

Lyle Mays passed away this morning in Los Angeles. Lyle was an integral part of Joni's 1979 tour with Pat Metheny, Jaco, Michael Brecker, and Don Alias. He and Pat's hauntingly beautiful transition between Amelia and Hejira stands as one of the enduring highlights of the tour. Lyle was a founding member of the Pat Metheny Group, providing arrangements, orchestration, and the harmonic and metric backbone of the group's musical signature.

Craft Recordings has announced the first-ever vinyl release of Joni’s 2007 album, Shine. Available April 3rd, and pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI, the acclaimed title includes such tracks as “One Week Last Summer” (which received the 2008 GRAMMY® Award for Best Instrumental Pop Performance), and an updated version of Mitchell’s iconic 1970 track “Big Yellow Taxi.” More information here.

Hailed as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century, Joni will receive the prestigious Les Paul Innovation Award at the 35th Annual NAMM Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards (NAMM TEC Awards), being held Saturday, January 18, 2020 in Anaheim, California. The award is given on behalf of the Les Paul Foundation to honor individuals that have set the highest standards of excellence in creative application of artistry in the spirit of the famed audio pioneer, inventor and musician, Les Paul. More information here.

The Barnes and Noble book store chain has selected MORNING GLORY ON THE VINE to be part of this year’s #BNSignedEditions selection for holiday. Copies of the book, hand-signed by Joni, will be at B&N stores and online starting Saturday, November 16.

For all concerned, know that Joni is safe and sound from the fire threatening the area.

I always dreamed of seeing my book in a bookstore window. This feels even better than I imagined.
- Joni Mitchell

Thank you, Book Soup in Los Angeles for this beautiful window display featuring Joni’s new book Morning Glory on the Vine.

In the image, taken on release day, you can see reflected in Book Soup’s window the old sign from Tower Records on Sunset—in that store over 40 years ago Joni had her first window display of an album. Photo courtesy of Hannah K. Johnson.