Singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell turned 70 Thursday, and social media filled with birthday wishes and introspective looks at this musician who pushed boundaries with her music.
From anti-war songs like “The Fiddle and the Drum” to “The Big Yellow Taxi” and “Both Sides Now,” the outspoken Mitchell was an artist who defined a generation. Her much-recorded battles with the music industry and love-hate relationship with her own fame brought numerous articles in publications like Rolling Stone.
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“It got more and more difficult to be a public person,” she told Rolling Stone in a 2007 article,
referring to the criticism her music in the 1990s. “Aspects of the job became repugnant to me. I started having nightmares, and when it hits your subconscious like that, it's time to quit.”
Despite an announced backing off from the music industry in 2002 — “I really believed I was never going to make another record,” she told Rolling Stone — Mitchell came back to write songs for the ballet “The Fiddle and the Drum” and once again wow audiences.
Her popularity and music endure today, particularly as folk music makes a comeback into popular music.
CBC Music put together “20 Things you didn’t know about one of Canada’s greatest musicians,”
which included a slideshow with pictures throughout the singer’s life. Included there are notes from interviews highlighting the fact that she became interested in singing after being in the hospital with polio when she was 8.
“They said I might not walk again, and that I would not be able to go home for Christmas,” CBC quoted Mitchell as saying. “I wouldn’t go for it. So I started to sing Christmas carols and I used to sing them real loud. ... The boy in the bed next to me, you know, used to complain. And I discovered I was a ham.”
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