Joni Mitchell, the great singer-songwriter and inimitable voice of her generation, has been silenced by an aneurysm, according to her friend and musical compatriot David Crosby. Mitchell was so prolific and profound, she was sometimes called the reincarnation of Shakespeare. If indeed she's been silenced, as Crosby reports, it's a good time to salute her voice.
Here are 15 Joni Mitchell lyrics or lines that resonate over time, with some having lodged permanently in the cultural consciousness. Like all great artists, Mitchell could read minds. Like that of music mogul David Geffen, whose mind she famously inhabits here: "I was a free man in Paris. I felt unfettered and alive. There was nobody calling me up for favors and no one's future to decide. You know I'd go back there tomorrow, but for the work I've taken on. Stoking the star-maker machinery behind the popular song." More Joni Mitchell gems below:
- “We are stardust, we are golden and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden.”
- "They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."
- “Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.”
- “So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.”
- “Oh you're in my blood like holy wine / You taste so bitter and so sweet"
- “Won't you stay/ We'll put on the day / And we'll talk in present tenses”
- “You've got to shake your fists at lightning now, you've got to roar like forest fire"
- “There'll be icicles and birthday clothes / And sometimes there'll be sorrow”
- "Go to him and stay with him but be prepared to bleed."
"My fingernails are filthy, I got beach tar on my feet, and I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne."
"Behind our eyes. Calendars of our lives. Circled with compromise."
"And so I ask you please, can I help you find the peace and the star? Oh, my friend, what time is this, to trade the handshake for the fist?"
- "He saw me mistrusting him / And still acting kind / He saw how I worried sometimes"
- "But I couldn't let go of L.A. / City of the fallen angels"
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