Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell's Blue

Almost 50 years ago, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell released what became her signature album, Blue. The record is full of complex lyrics, gorgeous guitar and deeply personal themes. Jim and Greg do a classic album dissection of Blue, sharing the context of the record, exploring its lasting impact and looking in depth at its impressive track list.

Subscribe via iTunesDownload This Episode
classic album dissectionBlueBlue available on iTunes

Joni Mitchell Blue

In our pursuit of doing a classic album dissection of Blue, we decided to begin with a conversation with music writer David Yaffe. Yaffe wrote the 2017 biography Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. We talked with him about the singer-songwriter's backstory, which includes overcoming polio, finding her voice and creating inventive guitar tunings. We also discuss what Joni Mitchell's life was like leading up to making her 1971 masterpiece.


Lindsay Zoladz

Joni Mitchell Jim and Greg also spoke with Lindsay Zoladz, a music critic and writer for The Ringer. Her article "Joni Mitchell: Fear of a Female Genius" explores what makes her such a unique and special artist, as well as explains how Joni was received when the album was first released and its lasting impact. Lindsay also makes some suggestions for how to approach listening to the record for the first time and explains the inherent challenges Joni faced being a female genius.


Blue Tracks

Lastly, Greg and Jim pick some of their favorite tracks on Blue that they think are worth highlighting in more detail:

Featured Songs

  1. Joni Mitchell, Both Sides Now, Clouds, Reprise, 1969
  2. Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi, Ladies of the Canyon, Reprise, 1970
  3. Joni Mitchell, Cactus Tree, Song to a Seagull, Reprise, 1968
  4. Joni Mitchell, Hejira, Hejira, Asylum, 1976
  5. Joni Mitchell, Little Green, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  6. Ian & Sylvia, Nancy Whiskey, Early Morning Rain, Vanguard, 1965
  7. Joni Mitchell, Day After Day (Demo), Day After Day (Demo), unreleased, 1965
  8. Joni Mitchell, Urge for Going, Urge for Going (Single), Asylum, 1972
  9. Joni Mitchell, For Free, Ladies of the Canyon, Reprise, 1970
  10. Joni Mitchell, A Case of You, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  11. Joni Mitchell, Blue, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  12. Joni Mitchell, The Flight Tonight, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  13. Joni Mitchell, The Last Time I Saw Richard, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  14. Joni Mitchell, California, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  15. Joni Mitchell, My Old Man, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  16. Joni Mitchell, River, Blue, Reprise, 1971
  17. Fiona Apple, Criminal, Tidal, Columbia, 1996
  18. Lauryn Hill, Ex-Factor, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, Columbia, 1998
  19. Margo Price, A Little Pain, All American Made, Third Man, 2017
  20. Jeannie Reynolds, The Phone's Been Jumping All Day, One Wish, Casablanca, 1977
  21. Led Zeppelin, Rock and Roll, Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic, 1971
  22. Little Richard, Keep a Knockin', Keep a Knockin' (single), Specialty, 1957
  23. Elvis Costello and the Attractions, (I Don't Want to Go To) Chelsea, This Year's Model, Radar, 1978
  24. Radiohead, The National Anthem, Kid A, Parlophone, 2000
  25. Outkast, The Rooster, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Arista, 2003
  26. Billy Joel, Pressure, The Nylon Curtain, Columbia, 1982