BBC Radio 4 To Mark Joni Mitchell’s 80th Birthday With ‘Legend’ Tribute
Joni Mitchell is the subject of a new music biography series ‘Legend’ from BBC Radio 4 exploring the extraordinary life stories of pioneering artists who changed music forever. ‘Joni Mitchell: Verbatim’ will mark the iconic singer/songwriter’s 80th birthday on November 7, 2023.
Set to broadcast on Saturday 4 November, ‘Archive on 4: Joni Mitchell: Verbatim’ will air from 8pm to 9pm. It will incorporate previously unheard interviews, studio out takes, rare demo recordings and archive dating back to Mitchell’s very first radio interview recorded in 1964, this programme is the story of Joni’s life and career – told in her own words.
The ’Legend’ programme comes from the production team behind the BBC Radio 4 award-winning podcast Soul Music – “… the gold standard for music podcasts…” (Esquire).
As Joni Mitchell turns 80, presenter Jesca Hoop explores the singer-songwriter’s extraordinary story to reveal the life behind the legend. It will be available to listen to across six weeks on BBC Radio 4, and on BBC Sounds and podcast feeds everywhere.
‘Joni Mitchell: Verbatim’ follows Joni’s progress from her ‘flatlander’ childhood on the Canadian prairies, through the folk clubs of Toronto and Detroit, to a redwood cottage in L.A.’s Laurel Canyon, to a cave in Crete, to a deserted desert highway, to recording studios and stages around the world. From her earliest home recordings to masterpieces like Blue, Court and Spark, and Hejira, the programme explores some of the stories behind her best-loved songs and celebrates her remarkable return to live performance in the past year: “like seeing, in the wild, a rare bird long feared extinct.”
The ‘Legend’ programme also features tributes from musicians who have played alongside Joni and from those who have been inspired and influenced by her music. This includes frends Larry Klein and Graham Nash; and from music critics and biographers, including Ann Powers, David Yaffe, Lindsay Zoladz, Kate Mossman, Barney Hoskyns, Miles Grier and Jenn Pelly.
As Joni’s success grew, so did her strength and, as ‘Joni Mitchell: Verbatim’ makes clear, she remains defiant and determined. Joni suffered a brain aneurism in 2015 and summoning the same spirit that enabled her to survive polio and walk again as a child Joni has been slowly re-building her life and recently performed her first live concerts in 25 years when she returned to play the Newport Folk Festival, where she first performed in 1969.
With each life experience Joni Mitchell honed her songwriting skills and learned how to reflect on life’s lessons in a way that appealed to an ever growing audience, proving to be a formidable female force in the burgeoning Laurel Canyon folk scene in the 60’s and 70’s.
As Joni’s success grew, so did her strength and, as ‘Verbatim’ reveals, she remains defiant and determined. Joni suffered a brain aneurism in 2015 and summoning the same spirit that enabled her to survive polio and walk again as a child Joni has been slowly re-building her life and recently performed her first live concerts in 25 years when she returned to play the Newport Folk Festival, where she first performed in 1969.