News archive

JoniMitchell.com has been bringing you the news on Joni since the day the website went live in 1996. It's all archived and searchable here. In addition to the news, you can find an archive of "upcoming tributes and events" that have been listed on the site as well.

News archive

It is with regret that we announce the passing of John Uren, "the Godfather of Canadian Folk". John hired a young Joni Anderson to play at his coffeehouse in Calgary in September of 1963 - the first regular gig of her career. Joni at the time was an art student and John's belief in her talent arguably had an influence on Joni switching gears and pursuing a musical path.

John was an adventurer and a visionary, tackling many varied careers - cab driver, horse owner/trainer, magazine publisher, coffeehouse owner, folk festival promoter, filmmaker, and much more. Last September, John attended the 20th Anniversary Jonifest on BC's Sunshine Coast, just a few miles south of his home. He can be seen speaking at the event here.

John died Tuesday at his home in Powell River, BC. He was 81 years old. At his request there will be no service, celebration, or published obituary (although the Globe and Mail has done so). Many articles, spanning the decades, can be found on his rich life here on the website: 1963, 1972, 2005, and 2014.

Eric Anderson sings for Joni backstage before his performance at McCabe's in Santa Monica last night. (Photo by Steve Postell)

Introduced by a teary-eyed Jennifer Aniston, Sara Bareilles performed Joni's "Both Sides Now" as the vocal backing to an exceptionally powerful In Memoriam segment at the 2017 Oscars. The piece honored all who the academy and film industry had lost in the past year including singer/actor Prince, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Gene Wilder, Mary Tyler Moore, Debbie Reynolds, her daughter Carrie Fisher and many more. Watch the video here.

Joni made a rare public appearance last night, attending Clive Davis' annual Pre-Grammy Gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, where she was escorted by writer and filmmaker Cameron Crowe and author Daniel Levitin (pictured with Joni).

Joni was honored as one of the greatest songwriters whose work has touched everyone in the music industry.

She had a good time and was particularly moved by Chance the Rapper and Mary J. Blige’s performances. Herbie Hancock came by and said an extended hello, as did many other well-wishers, including Stephen Stills and Clive Davis.

This Thursday - in addition to being Thanksgiving day in the USA - marks the 40th anniversary of The Band's Last Waltz, the legendary concert event held in San Francisco. "The one I remember most was Joni Mitchell," says John Simon, musical director of the event. "The chords she played on the guitar were not standard. The guys would look at her left hand and go, 'What? I remember this one quote from her: I said ‘What’s that chord?’ And she said, ‘I don’t know the name of it. I tune my guitar this way, to make myself stupid’ – in other words, to not fall into pre-determined patterns, patterns she was used to." Rhino has released a 40th Anniversary 5-disc set to commemorate the event. (Photo of Joni and Robbie Robertson © Steve Gladstone)

Joni and Leonard Cohen, both Canadians, met at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967. "For Cohen as well as Mitchell, Toronto played a pivotal career-making role. It was Jack McClelland who almost single-handedly created CanLit, and turned Cohen into a literary star by publishing his work. Joni and Leonard were both blazingly original talents on the verge of breaking into American mainstream culture. Indeed, both would eventually settle in Los Angeles and remain there for decades." Our hearts go out to all those who loved Leonard Cohen.

Oscar Brand, who brought folk music to many generations of people, has left us at 96. He featured a young Joni Anderson on his 'Let's Sing Out' program in October of 1965. Oscar was the host of the 'Folk Song' show for 70 years, and it eventually earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records for “longest-airing radio show with the same host.” You will be missed, sir!

The Polaris Music Prize, established in 2006, is an annual award honoring albums by Canadian artists, based on artistic merit rather than sales. But what about all those great Canadian albums that came out before the Polaris Music Prize existed? Well, those records also get some love, courtesy of the Polaris Heritage Prize.

The (Canadian) Heritage award, which was first presented last year, is for albums that would likely have been nominated for the Polaris Prize had it been around back in the day. Ten albums are nominated from each of four time periods: 1960-1975, 1976-1985, 1986-1995 and 1996-2005.

This year's nominees in the 1960-1975 period include Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark, Neil Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, The Band's Music from Big Pink and its self-titled effort, Gordon Lightfoot's Lightfoot! and Leonard Cohen's Songs of Leonard Cohen.

Cast your vote through mid-October.

We are thrilled to see Joni out and about again! Last night she attended a Chick Corea concert at the Catalina Bar and Grill in Los Angeles. L-R: Joni, Chick Corea, Gayle Moran Corea, Herbie Hancock. (Photo by Toshi Sakurai)

Christopher Cross is working on a new album, and has completed a track called "Roberta" - a tribute to Joni. He's offered to share it with the Joni community, saying "'Roberta' is the first [song] I have completed [on my new album], which is very much influenced by her later work 'Hejira' and beyond." Thanks to Christopher for sharing this preview with the community, we hear the influence!

play  Roberta by Christopher Cross

Joni said in 2006 (in a video message broadcast during Prince's induction into the UK Music Hall of Fame) "Prince. The most amazing performer I have ever witnessed." Prince was also a big fan of Joni's and said that The Hissing of Summer Lawns was "the last album I loved all the way through." As Joni remembered, "Prince attended one of my concerts in Minnesota. I remember seeing him sitting in the front row when he was very young. He must have been about 15. Prince used to write me fan mail with all of the U's and hearts that way that he writes." Prince credited Joni with teaching him "about color and sound." He quoted "Help Me" in his song, "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker." An album by his side project band, The Time, was named Ice Cream Castle. And he covered "A Case of You," with "U" spelled the Prince way, of course. JoniMitchell.com wishes to express its condolences to Prince's family, friends, and fans.

Before his death last week, Sir George Martin and his son Giles teamed with PBS to create an upcoming eight-part documentary series called "Soundbreaking." The series features interviews with over 150 artists and producers, who tell the studio stories behind some of the best music ever made.

The first two episodes of the show are premiering today at SXSW. The series will air on PBS in November.

The series will feature interviews with Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Rick Rubin, Tony Visconti, RZA, Joni Mitchell, Dave Grohl, Questlove, Bon Iver, Beck, Ad-Rock, Roger Waters, Daniel Lanois, Mark Ronson, Ringo Starr, Roger Daltrey, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Debbie Harry, Darryl "D.M.C." McDaniels, and many others.

Joni already has a new Grammy Award as the pre-show honours were handed out in Los Angeles today. The legendary singer-songwriter won for best album notes on Love Has Many Faces: A Quartet, A Ballet, Waiting To Be Danced.

Fellow Canadians Jan Haust, a native of London, Ont., and Hamilton's Peter Moore captured the honour for best historical album for The Basement Tapes Complete: The Bootleg Series Vol. 11, featuring the music of Bob Dylan and Toronto's The Band. The duo shared the award with Steve Berkowitz, Jeff Rosen and Mark Wilder.

Chaka Khan relays good news about Joni in an interview published today: "...we're good friends and she's doing very well, by the way. I want everyone to know that she's getting better and better every day." Read the interview and news about Chaka's upcoming Joni tribute album here.