Joni Mitchell, CC was born Roberta Joan Anderson on November 7, 1943, in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, is a Canadian musician, songwriter, and painter. Her mother was a teacher, and her father an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force. During the war years, she moved with her parents to a number of bases in western Canada. After the war, her father began working as a grocer, and his work took the family to Saskatchewan to the towns of Maidstone and North Battleford. When she was eleven years old, the family settled in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which Mitchell considers her hometown.
Mitchell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, but did not attend the ceremony. In 1995, she received Billboard's Century Award. In 1996 she was awarded the Polar Music Prize. In 1999 Mitchell was listed as fifth on VH1's list of "The 100 Greatest Women of Rock N' Roll".
She has received nine regular Grammy Awards during her career, with the first coming in 1969 and the most recent in 2008. She received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, with the citation describing her as "one of the most important female recording artists of the rock era" and "a powerful influence on all artists who embrace diversity, imagination and integrity."
Mitchell began singing in small nightclubs in her native Western Canada and then busking on the streets of Toronto. In the mid-1960s she left for New York City and its rich folk music scene, recording her debut album in 1968 and achieving fame first as a songwriter ("Urge for Going", "Chelsea Morning", "Both Sides Now", "Woodstock") and then as a singer in her own right. Finally settling in Southern California, Mitchell played a key part in the folk rock movement then sweeping the musical landscape. Blue, her starkly personal 1971 album, is regarded as one of the strongest and most influential records of the time. Mitchell also had pop hits such as "Big Yellow Taxi", "Free Man in Paris", and "Help Me", the last two from 1974's best-selling Court and Spark.
BIG YELLOW TAXI
They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique and a swinging hot spot
*Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
Till it's gone
They paved paradise put up a parking lot
They took all the trees
Put 'em in a tree museum
And they charged all the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Hey farmer farmer
Put away that DDT now
Give me spots on my apples
But leave me the birds and the bees Please!
Late last night
I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow taxi come and
Took away my old man
Late last night I heard the screen door slam
And a big yellow tractor
Come and took away my house and took away my land
Regarding her as a national treasure, Mitchell's home country Canada has bestowed her with a number of honours. She was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1981 and received a star on Canada's Walk of Fame in 2000. In 2002 she became only the third popular Canadian singer/songwriter (Gordon Lightfoot and Leonard Cohen being the other two), to be appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada's highest civilian honour. She received an honorary doctorate in music from McGill University in 2004. In January 2007 she was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. In June 2007, Canada Post featured Mitchell on a postage stamp.
In November, 2006, the album Blue was listed by Time magazine as among the "All-Time 100 Albums". [wikipedia]