Author(s): Michael A. O'Neill
One of the most important female recording artist of the last 50 years Joni Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her hometown of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and throughout western Canada, before busking in the streets and nightclubs of Toronto, Ontario. In 1965, she moved to the United States and began touring. Settling in Southern California, Mitchell, with popular songs like "Big Yellow Taxi" and "Woodstock", helped define an era and a generation. Mitchell's fifth album, For the Roses, was released in 1972. She then switched labels and began exploring more jazz-influenced melodic ideas, by way of lush pop textures, on 1974's Court and Spark, which featured the radio hits "Help Me" and "Free Man in Paris" and became her best-selling album. Mitchell is the sole producer credited on most of her albums, including all her work in the 1970s. A blunt critic of the music industry, she quit touring and released her 17th, and reportedly last, album of original songs in 2007. With roots in visual art, Mitchell has designed most of her own album covers. She describes herself as a "painter derailed by circumstance".