Unhurried Ways wrote:Reckless Daughter, a Biography of Joni Mitchell, by David Yaffe
I rarely read biographies of successful musicians, there so much else to learn (and so little time) and the stories are similar. But: I followed her music from the late 60s to the late 70s and she was a genius and I wanted to know how that happened.
She was a (baseball term) five-tool player: talented multi-instrumentalist, creative chord progressions and melodies, top-shelf lyrics, matched the words with the melodies. Her music (during that period) progressed from folk-oriented to jazz oriented, but always original.
For me, the author answered my question on why she was so inspired, with its roots as a young person and someone who had early struggles. One minor example, her middle school composition teacher graded her tougher than others and wouldn't let her get away with a cliche. One major example: she got through polio in a sanitarium (at 10 y.o.) w/o much help from her parents.
He is a fan, spent a lot of time with JM, but also interviewed lots of people to get a well-rounded version of events. She has a sharp eve and sharp tongue and can tell a good story. He knows music and can explain why a particular chord progression is so good. He also puts the music in perspective of what is happening in society and the music biz, and her personal life.
Check out some of the book reviews if you're interested, the Atlantic had a good one.
It's worth your time if you like her.
Nice. Thanks for the review, I always liked how she wasn't afraid to evolve.