In terms of status as a songwriter, you don’t get much more revered than Joni Mitchell. Whether it be her early period as a countercultural heroine or throughout the 1970s where she really took off as one of the most profound figures in music, Mitchell continues to inspire new generations of budding songwriters. Mitchell has managed to speak to people of all walks of life, of all musical backgrounds, and her talent transcends that of genre.
Even at the ripe age of 78, Mitchell is one of the most captivating figures in music, possessing sage wisdom that only a true musical legend can withhold. The singer-songwriter was there when alternative music really took off, in the heady days of the 1960s. Slightly unorthodox but always refreshing, Mitchell has always been steadfast in her beliefs, a quality that gives her music a pulp that her contemporaries could only have dreamed of achieving.
With that considered, it is no coincidence that Joni Mitchell has legions of fans of all ages. There’s a universal quality to her music that and, in addition to her being one of the first women in rock to show the men how to do it, Mitchell has consistently endeared herself to fans and critics. It’s an interesting point to note that without Mitchell’s tremendous contributions to music, there might not have been room for the likes of Adele, Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey and other leading female artists of today.
With that, Madonna, one of the most celebrated and influential pop musicians of all time, also cites Joni Mitchell as having a transformative effect on her artistry. To have one of the most iconic figures in pop culture history namecheck Mitchell, is indicative of just how far-reaching and comprehensive her influence has been.
It was as a teenager that Mitchell really spoke to Madonna. Explaining her impact during an interview with Rolling Stone in 1997, Madonna explained: “I was really, really into Joni Mitchell. I knew every word to Court and Spark; I worshipped her when I was in high school. Blue is amazing.”
Adding: “I would have to say of all the women I’ve heard, she had the most profound effect on me from a lyrical point of view.”
One could argue that Joni Mitchell is perhaps the most influential artist of all time after The Beatles. I don’t think even Bob Dylan has managed to inspire such a wide range of iconic figures. Mitchell ranks some of the biggest modern artists as her disciples in what is truly a colossal feat.