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happy birthday, joni mitchell

I don’t remember the first time I heard Joni Mitchell because it seems like her songs have always been there, in the background, providing the soundtrack to my life.

I do remember spending hours and hours in my bedroom, listening to Blue, For the Roses and Court and Spark over and over again, deep in self-absorbed teenage thought and filling notebooks with poetry in which I poured my heart out about love, peace, being a girl – you know, the things that matter.

Joni’s lyrics took my breath away. They were achingly beautiful poems set to music and they miraculously nailed the emotions going on in my own head.

When I was in high school, I won a contest where I got to choose a dozen albums from the record department at Korvette’s. I completed my Joni collection, and became obsessed with songs like “Cactus Tree” and “Urge for Going,” which resonated strongly with me. It was so reassuring and empowering to know that I wasn’t alone in my feelings.

I guess it’s no wonder that I now live in “California” and married my own “Michael” (uh, minus the mountains).

Joni is, in many ways, the voice of a generation — at least the female half. As the seasons have gone round and round, she’s carried us from the magic of “Woodstock” to the paving over of paradise to the disappointment of settling down in suburbia in “Harry’s House.”

So, today, on her 70th birthday, I want to say thank you to Joni for helping me look at life from both sides now, for putting my own feelings so eloquently into songs that still play on repeat on my iPod and for representing all of us women of heart and mind.


  1. Lois, We must be around the same age, Joni was my soundtrack as well. I felt like she was speaking to and for me so many time over the years, She still features prominently on my iPod too…
    I can’t believe she’s seventy, but then again I can’t believe I’m not 35!

  2. Love this Lois! Yes, Joni Mitchell was there for me too…and, like Nancy, I can’t believe she is 70! Gorgeous post. xo

  3. Thanks Lois. Thank God for Joni Mitchell! She was my lifeline as a teenager and still my all time favorite. A true artist, one of a kind. I know every lyric of every song. Still remember the Honolulu concert in ’72. I was lucky to be there. Happy 70th Joni!!!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      I only saw her once in concert — in Boston — and she left after a few songs because of stage fright. I was so bummed. Will have to see if they have anything from the concert you went to on YouTube.

  4. I love Joni Mitchell, too. Her voice is so pure and powerful, even when it’s soft. They don’t make them like Joni Mitchell anymore. Thanks for sharing!

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      She is definitely an original and, yes, that voice was so pure. I can’t think of any modern singer/songwriter with her depth.

  5. Oh how I love Joni Mitchell! Great post!

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