Joni Mitchell

In Canadian, Groovy, Joni Mitchell, Love, Music, Nifty, Peace, Seasons, Versatile Blogger, Woodstock on August 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

“Joni, you have more class than Richard Nixon, Mick Jagger, and Gomer Pyle combined!”

~ Audience member, recorded on Miles of Aisles


I received a Versatility Award courtesy of F-stop Fun? Kinda got me thinking. The anniversary of Woodstock got me thinking, too. The song Woodstock got me thinking, yet again, this Time about it’s author, Joni Mitchell

I grew up on the same Saskatchewan prairie — with the exception of three years in Lotus Land from kindergarten to grade 3, been in and around the Green since I was 14. She’s always been there. All my life. I am unaware of a Universe in exclusion of her, her Music. She’s perennial. Omnipresent. A lot of who I am — who Saskatchewan is/was — is because of her. A lot of who we all of are is because of her even if it isn’t always obvious.

There was a thriving hippie scene in Saskatchewan when I was kid. My uncles even had an ersatz hippie commune on a farm that they rented for $75 a month. Used to spend weekends and Christmases there. I think the Saskatchewan scene might have rivalled ‘Frisco, Haight-Ashbury but was smaller, bucolic, humbler, groovier? Maybe, even more sincere?

Big Yellow Taxi* was a favourite song from THE moment I heard it.

We lived with Nanny and Granddad when I was four in a town that was the birthplace of W.O. Mitchell and home to Tommy Douglas and ‘psychedelic’ Dr. Humphry Osmond. (Saskatchewan is WAY groovier than you might initially suspect.) I thought the ‘old man’ in the song was literally an old man like Granddad. Not the ‘old man’ of sixties slang: your boyfriend. I wondered why a man like Granddad would slam the screen door and take a taxi late at night? Where would he go? What would he do?

I Loved that she laughed at the end. That she mentioned birds, bees, apples and trees…

She has written more songs than you can imagine, she paints, she does everything and she does it all very well. A veritable renaissance woman. She is an icon, in a class — alone — by herself, head and shoulders above the rest.

The Versatility Award really belongs to her.

Joni, you are the cat’s pyjamas, the bee’s knees, baby. I ❤❤❤❤❤ you!


“That’s the music that I play at home all the time, Joni Mitchell. Court and Spark I love because I’d always hoped that she’d work with the band. But the main thing with Joni is that she’s able to look at something that’s happened to her, draw back and crystallize the whole situation, then write about it. She brings tears to my eyes, what more can I say? It’s bloody eerie. I can relate so much to what she says. ‘Now old friends are acting strange/They shake their heads/They say I’ve changed’ (Both Sides Now).”

~ No less than Jimmy Page in Rolling Stone magazine (March 13, 1975)

In early 1987 I had the opportunity to spend an evening with then-drummer of The Cult, Les Warner. Really nice guy. Les was listening to Joni, too, while touring the prairies? He completely dug her. She Sells Sanctuary. She does. Hey? Who knew?

She’s ubiquitous.

So, hey, here’s Both Sides Now and The Circle Game. (Whether you are 20, are a parent or on your last legs the C-game is for you. It’s SO sweet. Might even make you cry — in a good way.)

Vintage CBC from The Way It Is. I give you Joni, the Magical Prairies… circa 1968.

Dig her. DIG her. She is but lovely.

“She is of course well past the stage of having to prove herself artistically. She is in possession of one of the most extraordinary song catalogs of the past half-century. Her chords break harmonic rules, have no technical names and defy Western musical theory. Her voice is an instrument that has grown sublimely heavier and huskier over the decades… Once you get past the security gates, Ms. Mitchell’s house feels like a pocket of middle-class comfort in the midst of zillionaire Beverly Hills. In some ways life is still as it was in 1974, when she bought the house: She has no computer, no voice mail, no cellphone and no e-mail. At one point, when we tried to remember one of her lyrics, we scrolled through my iPod. She said it was the first time she had listened to one.”

~ The New York Times (February 4, 2007)

You’re So Square. Baby, I don’t care… 💋



* Support your local Big Yellow Taxi Drivers! Don’t drink and drive, cats and kittens!

Just don’t do it!

Related Links:
The Song
The Dream

  1. Great post! Liked to read it!

  2. Thanks, Eric! The link to Dr. Osmond is really cool. I watched a documentary about it — I think there is a book, too. Wild, cutting edge stuff right there on the Saskatchewan prairie.

    Hope you had a great day! 💋

  3. what an excellent idea – dedicating an award you get to … someone else; to JONI MITCHELL. Brilliant. Nice sketches. Saskatchewan. Your UNCLES! This is becoming a bit of a habit, but I’d like to add …


    There is more Joni Mitchell on the way …

    • Sweet!

      I was actually feeling quite humbled and not the least bit like a fraud and a hack. Awards are for people like Joni not me. 😊

      My youth on the prairie, although at Times very difficult and often frightening, was a magical Time. A different age. Aunty X was teenager and lived wth us.

      We were latchkey kids and had the run of the house. We were wild things — wild things, I tell ya! — and all the kids would hang there. In summer we’d listen to music, ride our bikes and get up to all sorts of midnight mischief.

      Eventually, it got out of hand because word got out and ALL the wild things in town started showing up to ‘play’ with us. Then, one day they all showed at once! The police made an appearance and our days of free reign, sadly, came to an abrupt end.

      We’d head to “the farm” and hang with the hippies. (Winter was most magical there!)

      I used to spend all my $$$ on these records and newsprint mags that had the lyrics to all the hit songs on the radio… We were having a campfire at the farm, everyone had heir guitars out and we were singing. My younger uncle asked what we should sing next. I said, “Fly Like an Eagle.”


      “You know that?!?”

      “Uh, yeah.”


      “Yeah! All the words. We could do “Hotel California,” too, if you want, instead?”

      “You know that, too?”


      “You’re only 12.”

      “So…? *shrug*”

      We sang “Fly Like an Eagle”…

      Do do do-do! 😜 lol

      I ❤ your poems and do not mind the links in the least. Not al all. I like them. A lot. (Just can’t dig ideological propaganda. Otherwise… I am COMPLETELY down with links. 😃)

      I am first-gen Canadian, Lewis. Half my family is from Great Britain. Scottish, Irish and English. The other half is from Greece.

      Hope you have a great day! 💋

      • uh huh, Wild Things Run Fast, then. To someone who has lived in SE England most of his life words like ‘prairie’, ‘farm’, ‘fire’, ‘guitars out’ ‘Sasketchewan’ have an evocative power of their own. Fascinating vignette.

      • Uh, yeah. And in spite of it all we’re still SO square! 😉 lol

        Funny. I’d say the same of you and just about everyone else who lives in a distant and “evocative” locale, as well. Everyone else always seems so much more interesting than you seem to yourself, hey?

        So whereabouts in SE England? That’s where we’re from, too. Small world…

        Fascinating? Thanks a bunch. Really. But, it’s just my very weird, dysfunctional, preposterous and unsupervised (un-stupid-vised? *shrug* lol) childhood, hey? Although, I must admit looking back it was really magical and free.

        We made our own rules. Lived on our own terms. Well, until the police shut us down. But, that was really more about the grown-ups in our lives abdicating their responsibilities. 😊 What else were we going to do with ALL that freedom? We were kids. And, Trix ARE for kids! (That’s an American sugary breakfast cereal advert slogan, in any case.)

        Hope you had a great day! 💋

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