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25 December 2021

Joni Mitchell Shares 50th Anniversary Music Video For ‘River’

Joni Mitchell River Music Video
Photo: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo
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Joni Mitchell has released a 50th anniversary music video for her song, River. The singer has released an animated watercolour video where her likeness skates across an iced-over river. The black and white picture then splashes to life with colour.

The song, which is widely regarded as a Christmas tune, was first released on Mitchell’s 1971 album A Case Of ‘Blue’: How Joni Mitchell Painted Her MasterpieceBlue. It was intended as a break-up song, and is considered to be about her split from Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The video ends with a quote from Mitchell explaining the need for a song that addresses loneliness during the holidays.

“River expresses regret at the end of a relationship… but it’s also about being lonely at Christmas time”, the quote reads. “A Christmas song for people who are lonely at Christmas! We needed a song like that.”

Joni Mitchell was also recently celebrated at the 44th Kennedy Center Honors ceremony with artists including Norah Jones, Herbie Hancock, Brittany Howard and Brandi Carlile performing some of her most beloved songs.

Ellie Goulding performed Mitchell’s 1970 hit, Big Yellow Taxi (from Ladies Of The Canyon), while Howard and Herbie Hancock teamed up for a rendition of Both Sides, Now (from 1969’s Clouds).

Norah Jones delivered a medley of Mitchell’s tracks, with the keystone being 1974’s Help Me (from that year’s Court And Spark) and Brandi Carlile performed the aforementioned River. The ceremony took place on 5 December at the John F Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, with a recording aired on CBS on 22 December.

Among those that delivered speeches honouring Mitchell was US President Joe Biden, who said: “Your words and melodies touch the deepest parts of our souls. [Mitchell has] a capacity to love with abandon, and she does it by letting us in, by sharing what’s deeply personal and yet universal. It’s why millions of people will listen to her songs and feel they were written just for them.

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