40 Artists Praise Joni Mitchell: ‘She Saved My Life’
When Joni Mitchell arrived on the scene in the '60s, many artists weren't sure what to make of her intricate guitar tunings, lively vocal range and achingly personal lyrics.
"At the time, I took a lot of flak if anything – people thought that [my songwriting] was too intimate," she told Elton John in 2022. I think it upset the male singer-songwriters. They'd go, 'Oh, no. Do we have to bare our souls like this now?' I think it made people nervous."
It also excited them, because there was now a singer-songwriter who not only tapped into the depth of human emotion in a way that was both individual and universal but who was also unafraid to work in strange keys, integrate jazz techniques and later, re-imagine her work in orchestral forms.
Mitchell's music is most closely associated with the folk singer-songwriter movement, but her impact and influence have reached artists from all walks of life - from heavy rockers Led Zeppelin and Tool to guitar greats like Jimi Hendrix and Steve Lukather to punk powerhouses like Elvis Costello and Chrissie Hynde.
Many of these artists, being a decade a two younger than Mitchell, came of age on her music. "Having received her first LP as a gift from my father," Costello recalled in Vanity Fair in 2004. "Each subsequent Joni Mitchell record was greatly anticipated, saved for and bought on or close to the day of the release."
We've collected quotes from some of these people in the below list of 40 Artists Praise Joni Mitchell.