Music fans around the world steeled themselves for tragedy on the evening of March 31 when Joni Mitchell was hospitalized after being found unconscious in her Los Angeles home. Recent updates indicate that Mitchell is doing well and recovering—a tweet from her official account sent early Wednesday morning placed her in intensive care, but “awake and in good spirits”— but still, it provides an opportunity to reflect on the sheer weight of Mitchell’s discography and the breadth of her influence, the tendrils of which snake through the last 40 years of popular music.
Mitchell was born in Canada in 1943 and spent her childhood in rural Saskatchewan, a survivor of a late polio epidemic and passionate about the arts. She moved through Toronto and New York as a young woman and moderately successful songwriter before being discovered by the legendary musician David C...
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