The songs written by Joni Mitchell are autobiographical. The vocalist had fully experienced every word she put on paper and every note she let resound across the radio. Mitchell was a master wordsmith in addition to being a skilled musician and arranger. The singer was renowned for her songs about the people nearest to her, including both lovers and friends. She developed a number of incredibly moving interactions with other musicians, whose memories of her were later captured in song.
It implied that she was able to compose songs quickly in addition to writing about her own life in a forceful and creative manner.
Leonard Cohen and Graham Nash, two of the most enduring names in music, were among the people Mitchell dated. Late in the 1960s, Joni Mitchell and David Crosby began dating, but their union was tumultuous and short-lived. While talking with Tampa Bay Times, he explained, “I walked into a coffeehouse in Coconut Grove, and she was standing there singing those songs, and I just was gobsmacked. I fell for her. Immediately. It’s a little like falling into a cement mixer. She’s kind of a turbulent girl.”
The two significantly influenced one other’s professional lives. Crosby exposed Mitchell to the rock ‘n’ roll set, providing her with the lift-off she needed having returned from Britain eager to become a performer as well as a songwriter. The rock supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young was formed when Crosby, Stephen Stills, and Neil Young from Buffalo Springfield joined forces due to Mitchell. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.
Crosby helped Mitchell record her debut album, Song to a Seagull, published in 1968. Up to that point, Mitchell mainly performed live or composed music. With David’s assistance, Mitchell was able to reach a wider audience and establish herself as a key figure in folk music.
David also described Mitchell as “good a poet as Bob [Dylan], and she’s ten times the musician and singer than he is. I care about him, but the truth is she’s much better as a musician and much better as a singer.” This was when he appeared in Howard Stern’s podcast. According to Mitchell, the relationship between the two of them was “a summer affair“.
They may have been in a very short relationship, but that didn’t stop her from penning songs about him. ‘The Dawntreader‘ from Song to a Seagull, was a song about him. The song sings, “City satins left at home I will not need them/ I believe him when he tells of loving me/ Leave behind your streets he said and come to me/ Come down from the neon nights.”
Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be long before Crosby’s adultery shattered their pairing, with Mitchell finding out he had moved in with an old flame. She decided to exact her revenge carefully, using her strongest skill set – her music. Mitchell requested that everyone gather in the living room for her performance of “The Song About the Midway” while she was a guest at Peter Tork of The Monkees’ house party.
The song had “references to a man’s sky-high harmonies and the way she had caught him cheating on her more than once… there was no question about the subject of the song.” Crosby also said, “She sang it while looking right at me, like, ‘Did you get it? I’m really mad at you.'”