A-list stars celebrate songwriters hall induction
Taylor, 58, sublimely performed Mitchell's 1969 classic Woodstock, one of five of her tunes that were also inducted into the CSHF, along with 20 other songs by various songwriters.
"I first heard Joni Mitchell's music in Paul McCartney's office at Apple Records in London in 1968," Taylor said from the stage. "We met actually here at the Mariposa festival, I think it was '70, maybe '71, I can't quite remember.
"Things are hazy from those days."
Others paying tribute to Mitchell were big-voiced funk singer Chaka Khan and jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, who joined forces on Mitchell's Help Me.
Hancock was actually asked to present Mitchell, who is also a painter, poet and photographer, with her award.
He told reporters backstage during a pre-gala cocktail reception that they first met in 1978 when she was collaborating with jazz bassist/composer Charles Mingus for her 1979 Mingus album, which would be his last. He died during the recording of it.
"Joni is a renaissance person for the 21st century," Hancock said. "She has exhibited the best qualities that the human spirit has to offer. She's a hero of mine."
Mitchell surprised many when she dropped by the pre-gala reception where she was presented with a Boucher custom-made acoustic guitar and began strumming the instrument in an impromptu moment.
That guitar presentation aside, noted Canadian author Margaret Atwood also spoke briefly before the final performance of the night by Canadian soprano star Measha Brueggergosman.
"Joni Mitchell and I have some things in common --though I'm older and she's blonder," Atwood joked.
But it was Brueggergosman who brought down the house with her thrilling performance of Mitchell's Both Sides Now, backed by an orchestra.
Other CSHF 2007 songwriter inductees included Broadway and film score creator Raymond Egan and Wilf Carter, commonly known as the father of Canadian country music.
Former Blood, Sweat and Tears frontman David Clayton-Thomas kicked off the gala concert with Spinning Wheel -- among the 25 songs inducted -- backed by about a dozen musicians, half of them horn players.
Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy and Oh Susanna also performed an upbeat version of the inducted tune, You Were On My Mind, written by Sylvia Fricker (Tyson), and Vancouver crooner Michael Buble sang the inducted classic How About You, co-written by Ralph Freed and Burton Lane, changing one line to "and Joni Mitchell's lyrics -- they give me a thrill!"
CBC-TV will broadcast a one-hour special on the gala nationally on March 5 at 8 p.m.
Today, CBC Radio One will feature some of the performances at 11 a.m. and CBC Radio Two will do the same at 8 p.m.
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