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Joni Mitchell Won't Attend Hall of Fame Induction Print-ready version

Canadian Press
April 30, 1997

Photo by GREGORY HEISLER

TORONTO (CP) -- Joni Mitchell will join an elite group of pop superstars next week when she's inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland -- but she won't be there to enjoy it.

The media circus surrounding Mitchell's recent reunion with the daughter she gave up for adoption more than 30 years ago influenced the Canadian folk legend's decision, her mother said.

"Things have been so hectic that it hadn't been pleasant anymore," Myrtle Anderson said Tuesday in an interview from Saskatoon.

Graham Nash, the former member of the Hollies and Crosby, Stills and Nash, will accept on Mitchell's behalf.

"We'd like to see her go but things have been so crazy, she's not even able to do her work right now," added Mitchell's father, Bill Anderson. "She's also had the flu."

Another Canadian, Neil Young, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame for a second time on Tuesday. He was inducted for his solo work in 1995 and is now going in for his work with the seminal '60s band Buffalo Springfield.

Mitchell made front pages across North America a few weeks ago when she was reunited with Kilauren Gibb, whom she put up for adoption in 1965, before she wrote and performed such hit songs as Big Yellow Taxi, Help Me and Woodstock.

The pair spent a couple of weeks together at Mitchell's Los Angeles home along with Gibb's son, Mitchell's only grandchild.

Wally Breese, a lifelong fan who constructed Mitchell's official Internet website, said there could be more to her decision not to head to Cleveland next week.

"If she doesn't go, I think it would be a snub," Breese said from San Francisco.

"She feels like they were forced into it by the New York Times, which condemned the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for sexism in an article a few weeks ago because they haven't inducted very many women."

Mitchell deplores labels and bristles when she's described as a woman songwriter, Breese said.

"But she does often say that women are treated very differently than men in the music business, that they haven't been treated with the same respect as men have, so if she doesn't go, I wouldn't be surprised."

Sam Feldman, Mitchell's manager, said Mitchell could change her mind.

"With Joni you never know," he said from Vancouver. "But as of this moment, she is not going, and there are many reasons for it. She had very mixed emotions about going."

Feldman said Mitchell was busy trying to finish her latest album.

"From a purely business perspective, finding Kilauren has been disruptive to the process," he said.

"But with Joni there is never one reason, there's a whole series of them."

Joni Mitchell is being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland on Tuesday, but isn't attending. A sketch:

Born: Roberta Joan Anderson in Fort MacLeod, Alta., in 1943.

Childhood: Raised in Saskatoon. Studied piano, played ukelele and guitar. Started singing when she contracted polio at the age of 9.

Personal: Married American folksinger Chuck Mitchell in 1965; divorced him a year later.

Career: In mid-'60s performed in Toronto as Penny Farthing before changing name to Joni Mitchell. Signed to Reprise Records in 1967; in 1968 recorded self-titled debut album. In late '70s she switched from pop to jazz. Went on to record dozens of critically acclaimed albums; she is just wrapping up her latest, which is still untitled.

Singles: Big Yellow Taxi, You Turn Me On (I'm a Radio), Help Me

Albums: Include Clouds, Blue, Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Mingus, and the Grammy-winning Turbulent Indigo.

Quote: "America is trained to the new, and Joni Mitchell has been around for a while, although each of my albums has been a brand-new ball game. But I spent most of my life out of sync." Mitchell in a 1996 interview on why she doesn't sell many records.

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