Joni Mitchell — my favorite covers

Joni Mitchell (photo by Norman Jean Roy)

Joni Mitchell’s medical status is still a little dicey — a couple of days ago it was reported that she’s in a coma, but today it’s being reported that she’s not and in fact will be leaving the hospital soon. However, more specific details about her condition are (understandably) being kept private.

Joni Mitchell, for me, was pivotal in developing my love and admiration for lyric-driven folk music. I admire her not just for her important role in shaping modern American music in the 60s and 70s, but also her ability to stand toe-to-toe with some of the greatest male musicians and songwriters of her generation and be respected and admired not because she was one of the few woman allowed in a boy’s club, but because she was a remarkable singer, songwriter and performer.

Because of her extraordinary songwriting skills, Mitchell’s songs are widely covered. Here are a few of the more remarkable ones (okay, they’re my personal favorites).

k.d. Lang, “Help Me”

Tori Amos, “A Case of You”

Annie Lennox, “Ladies of the Canyon”

Judy Collins, “Both Sides Now”

Led Zeppelin, “Woodstock”

Aimee Mann, “River”

Picking a “River” cover is like picking a favorite child. There was a winner (obv, just like with children), but the James Taylor version and the Angus Stone version were close runners-up. Everyone has a “River” cover. Even Cee-lo Green has a “River” cover.

Counting Crows, “Big Yellow Taxi”

This cover actually doesn’t wow me, but I had to include it because when I first heard the song I didn’t realize it was Joni Mitchell, even though it’s one of her most popular songs ever. I legit thought it was Counting Crows. But then again, I grew up in the 90s and am an idiot.

Wishing Joni Mitchell a good recovery.

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