There aren’t many superlatives left for Joni Mitchell. One of the most gifted songwriters of her generation, she not only flirted with the pop charts, established a folk rhetoric and dabbled with rock’s finest, she also interplayed the mechanics of jazz through some of her most universally adored albums of all time — no mean feat. However, the crux of her brilliance rests mainly on her mesmeric vocal range. Below, we have a shining example of that talent.
Joni Mitchell was never afraid to show her affection and found herself intertwined with some of the leading men of the rock and roll dominance of the 1960s and ’70s. One of the key figures in the west coast scene, Mitchell, was an ethereal member of the group, effortlessly floating between love and lust. One such rocker to have spent time with Mitchell was David Crosby. A member of both The Byrds and CSNY, Crosby’s own contribution to the scene is worthy of admiration. Here, the two combine as well look at the isolated vocals of Joni Mitchell on Crosby’s song ‘Laughing’.
The two singers connection is a long and winding one. Crosby has featured in some of Mitchell’s lyrics, for better or worse, and the former Byrds man has always attested to Mitchell’s superior songwriting. Famously, Crosby and Mitchell dated for a short time back in 1967, and the nature of their dalliance was captured on Mitchell’s debut studio album, Song to a Seagull, which was produced by Crosby. However, the relationship soon fell apart and unsurprisingly, Crosby’s behaviour was the deciding factor. He would show off Mitchell to his friends like a “talented possession”, which Mitchell thought was “kind of embarrassing… as if I were his discovery.”
Even though Crosby opined that he thought the end of the pair’s relationship was inevitable, he still showered Mitchell in praise. In comparison with the ‘Voice of a Generation’, Bob Dylan, Crosby explained that he thinks Mitchell trumps Dylan in terms of artistry. He said: “She’s as good a poet as Bob (Dylan), and she’s ten times the musician and singer than he is. I care about him, but the truth is she’s much better as a musician and much better as a singer.”
Crosby explained: “I don’t get along with her that well anymore, but I do love her with my whole heart for what she’s given us.” He concluded: “I don’t think anybody did it as well. They’ve been celebrating Blue because it’s 50 years since she’s made it. I think that’s arguably the best singer-songwriter record ever made, much better than my stuff.”
Crosby clearly recognised that talent and requested the iconic singer add vocals to his 1971 song ‘Laughing’, a song Crosby had written while with CSNY. Featured as the part of Crosby’s debut solo album, If I Could Only Remember My Name, which also included guest spots for Neil Young and Jerry Garcia among many others, the song is a listless and magical affair enriched by Mitchell’s angelic vocal line. She is simply magnetic with every note.
Below, you can hear that bursting brilliance of Joni Mitchell through the isolated vocal of David Crosby song ‘Laughing’.
Listen to Joni Mitchell and David Crosby on Apple Music now.