My analyst told me that I was right out of my head
But I said dear doctorI think that it’s you instead
Because I have got a thing that’s unique and new
To prove it I’ll have the last laugh on you
‘Cause instead of one head
I got two
And you know two heads are better than one …
~ Joni Mitchell, Trouble Child
January 1, 1974 ~
Forty-five years ago today, The Chirp releases her sixth album. It remains her most successful in terms of sales and it was a portend of what was to come for Joni’s musical journey.
It fuses both folk with touches of jazz and ended up being the seminal coming of age album for millions of young adults world-wide — including me. It’s “that album” that got me through the angst of high school and beyond.
It’s #111 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. For me, it’s Joni’s masterpiece.
December 28, 1968 ~ The Miami Pop Festival sets the stage for what was to come for major festivals.Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, Steppenwolf and the Grateful Dead, land in Hallandale, Florida’s Gulfstream Park to entertain 100,000 fans at Miami Pop Festival II, the East Coast’s first major rock festival.
Woodstock will soon eclipse Miami Pop II in the popular American consciousness, but as Rolling Stone declares on February 1, 1969, the festival is “a monumental success in almost every aspect, the first significant – and truly festive – international pop festival held on the East Coast.”
November 25, 1976 ~ Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, The Staple Singers, Ronnie Hawkins, and Dr. John join The Band for The Last Waltz, a farewell concert for the ages.
It’s at San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, the site of their very first performance together as The Band, way back in 1969. Martin Scorsese, Band friend and fan, agrees to film the event. Production designer Boris Leven acquires the set of Verdi’s La Traviata from the San Francisco Opera and has it set up as the stage backdrop. Robertson gets his ’59 Stratocaster guitar dipped in bronze, “like baby shoes,” for the occasion.
Before the show, Thanksgiving dinner is served to the 5,000 attendees, a feat requiring 6,000 pounds of turkey and 400 pounds of pumpkin pie. Once the show begins, the Band shares the stage with some of the biggest acts of the era. Neil Young and Joni Mitchell sing “Helpless” together. Van Morrison rips through “Caravan.” Eric Clapton hits “Further Up the Road.” Bob Dylan leads a mass jam of “I Shall Be Released,” which is intended to be the final song. When the crowd refuses to let it end, the musicians head out and finish things off with “Don’t Do It.”
The show goes down as a high-water mark of both rock concerts and rock documentaries after Scorsese’s The Last Waltz is released on April 26, 1978.In 1989, the Band is inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Five years later, they gain entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
I’m not alone and I know that. Millions have been moved by her music. Millions have used her music as a way to cope — as a way to grow. Few can turn a phase, write a lyric or paint a picture like Joni Mitchell. She’s a north star for a generation.
October 30, 1975 ~ Orpheus performs the first show of his Rolling Thunder Revue at the War Memorial Auditorium in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Joan Baez, Bob Neuwrith, Joni Mitchell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Roger McGuinn, and other rock n’ roll gypsies join in. If you haven’t seen the rock-doc, do it. Do it now.