Neil Young explains how Joni Mitchell became the “greatest artist of our generation”

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Joni Mitchell is one of the prominent singer-songwriters to emerge from the 1960s. She mostly revolved around her main genre folk music and is mostly known for her stark lyrics. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997 and is known as one of the greatest songwriters.

Joni Mitchell surely had a different element in her when it came to songwriting. She had the ability to open her heart to everything that happens to a human. Another artist who shares such similarities with her is Neil Young. In the early 70s, Joni was friends with many of her contemporary artists, and Neil Young is one of them.

They met in their early days in the Canadian folk scene. Joni met Neil Young in late 1964 at the ‘Penny Farthing’ in Toronto’s Yorkville district. Later on, they became two of the most defining voice in the history of the folk and rock music scene. Neil worked his way out and came to America to find fame. Whereas, Joni found her fame when her songs were recorded by Judy Collins and Gordon Lightfoot.

Later on in her career, Mitchell wrote a song about Young. In 1968, she introduced ‘The Circle Game’ was about him on-stage. She commented, “This is a song that’s been recorded by a couple of friends of mine, so maybe you know it a little better than the other ones. And if you do – if you know the chorus, wow – just sing along, cause it’s a chorus about people and growing old and growing young and carousels and painted ponies and the weather and the Buffalo Springfield.”

Young also returned the favor in 1973. It was during a gig in Bakersfield, California. He sang,

Sweet Joni from Saskatoon
There’s a ring for your finger
It looks like the sun
But it feels like the moon

Sweet Joni from Saskatoon
Don’t go, don’t go too soon,
Who lives in an old hotel
Near the ancient ruins

Only time can tell
Only time can tell
Go easy the doorman says
“The floor is slippery, so watch your head”
This message read
Sweet Joni from Saskatoon”

They met first when they were youngsters. They took a different path and finally found stardom. They also had many similarities among them. Neil Young also once explained why Joni is one of the greatest artists of this generation. Young recalled in an interview, their very first meeting. It was during his appearance on the YouTube talk show, The Zach Sang Show. He said,

“I was 20, and she was about 22, or maybe one year older than me. I think we were in Winnipeg at the 4th Dimension Club. I was listening to her, I was local in Winnipeg, she was just passing through on the road with her husband, Chuck. They were a duo playing, and we talked a little bit, I got to know her and played her ‘Sugar Mountain’. I told her I’d just been in Toronto and played that for a group called The Dirty Shames.”

Young also added that they are still in contact. In the end, he commented, “I love Joni. She’s wonderful. She’s one of the greatest artists of our generation. She may be the greatest artist of our generation.”



    Neil Young was born in 1945. He did NOT meet Joni Mitchell in 1946.

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