The Ultimate Music Guide to Joni Mitchell is the definitive overview of every stage of her complex, groundbreaking career. A battalion of Uncut writers have provided deep and illuminating reviews of every one of her albums, from 1968’s Song To A Seagull right up to Shine, 39 years later. Along the way, there are new insights into her canonical ‘70s masterpieces, and valuable reappraisals of more neglected corners of the Mitchell catalogue. There are, too, a host of revelatory interviews salvaged from the archives of NME and Melody Maker, which reinforce a sense of Mitchell as one of the most radical, intelligent and creatively uncompromising voices of the modern era. “David Geffen said to me once that I was the only star he ever met that didn’t want to be one,” she told Melody Maker in 1986. “The reluctant star, y’know….”
What Joni Mitchell always wanted, of course, was to be far more than that. Another Melody Maker piece finds her in London at the start of 1970, for a show at the Royal Festival Hall. She has been working on a new album – scheduled to include a song called, at this point, “They Paved Paradise And Put Up A Parking Lot” – and talks about how America “may suddenly get very strange”.
“I want my music to get more sophisticated,” she says. Has any singer-songwriter ever fulfilled such a rash promise so completely?