Canadian icon Joni Mitchell was honored in Los Angeles on Wednesday with a starred gala marking her 75th birthday –…
Canadian icon Joni Mitchell was honored in Los Angeles on Wednesday with a starred gala marking her 75th birthday – and she had a front seat to celebrate with guests like George Takei, Mandy Moore, Rita Wilson and Tom Hanks .
“Every woman in my world lived and died by Joni Mitchell,” said Hanks on the red carpet before the event. “In many ways, I enjoyed this great vicarious understanding of what her artist was.”
Mitchell wearing her signature black hat and a long red jacket did not talk to reporters but took the stage at a time to accept a birthday cake surrounded by musicians.
JONI 75: A birthday party featured numbers by James Taylor, Emmylou Harris, Norah Jones, Seal and Chaka Khan, who performed songs from Mitchell’s extensive repertoire. Canadian musicians Diana Krall and Rufus Wainwright also participated.
Good health, good spirit
Wainwright said that tribute was particularly moving in view of Mitchell’s latest health care: she was introduced to a brain breakthrough 2015. The fans were told she was expected to get drunk recovery, but the details of her physical health have been kept private in recent years.
“The epic story we all have seen of her learn to go again and really communicate, I think it will be quite deep,” said Wainwright about the tribute.
Known for timeless classics as Both sides now and Big Yellow Taxi ] The legendary singer’s writer appeared to be in good health and breath at the evening’s soirée – her actual birthday.
“She’s still, and always Joni,” said Taylor, a long friend and musical partner. “That energy continues. She’s a world tax. I know she’s a national treasure if you’re Canadian – and you’re absolutely right to be proud of her – but she belongs to the world.”
Danny Kapilian, the program’s music producer, said that Mitchell’s “sadness” is part of what made her so legendary in the industry.
She is perhaps the most brave lyricist, except Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and maybe Neil [Young]Kapilian says. “But Joni really goes to a place that they do not. Joni’s perspective as a woman from her place and time is unique. Her disobedience is the most important thing I think will come through.”
The Saskatoon-grown Mitchell became part of Southern California’s flowering people scene in the late 1960s.
Her breakthrough second album Clouds – featuring hits Both Sides Now and Chelsea Morning – Mitchell won his first Grammy for best folk performance. It was followed by her 1970 album, Canyon of the Canyon with what would become two defining anthems: Woodstock and the environmental ode Big Yellow Taxi, with now famous texts “they paved the paradise and set up a parking lot.”
“The general message of my songs, it’s just my joy,” Mitchell told CBC in 1967 during an interview early in his career. “Most have a happy ending, and I do not write protest matters. If they protest at all, it’s very subtle.”
In total, Saskatoon-raised musicians have recorded 19 studio albums and won nine Grammy Awards, including a 2002 Lifetime Award. She was introduced to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and became a companion of Canada’s Order 2004.
Her 1971 album Blue ranked 30th on the Rolling Stone magazine “The Greatest Albums of All Time”.
“She is a good musician and she is influenced me as a pianist,” says BC-born Krall. “It’s very complex how she plays. It is very unique and there is always a jazz thread in everything. “
With a decade of long-standing genre transcending music, Mitchell has been particularly worried about seeking commercial success.
She has always seen herself as an artist who has gone her own way, the commercial market is Danny Kapilian, JONI 75 Producer and Long Friend
“The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you do not get anything out of it, “Mitchell said in an interview in 2013 with CBC News, discussing her heritage as an artist.
“If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will make you cry and you learn something about yourself and now you get something out of it.”
A gala that followed The Wednesday concert also served as a collection in favor of The Music Center, an ideal organization for fine art such as home LA Opera and LA Philharmonic.
“She has always seen, rightly, as an artist who has gone on her own way, the commercial market is being condemned,” says Kapilian. “And whoever gets it, get it.”