ISSUE DATE: Dec. 16, 1974
When Myrtle Anderson’s daughter Joan lived at home in Saskatoon, Sask., she was a rebel. She danced the wicked twist ignored her math, spent Saturdays sketching Indians and communed only with her celluloid idol James Dean. But Mrs. Anderson’s girl turned out different from most of the teen-agers living for the rock-’n’-roll scene. She learned to play the guitar and discovered that she had a fluent talent for words. Today, as Joni Mitchell, she is a creative force of unrivaled stature in the mercurial world of rock. “Help Me,” a single released this year, has already sold 800,000 copies. Sales of her first six albums total 4.6 million copies. The newest, Miles of Aisles, released last month, was a gold record before it arrived in the stores.
The new rock heroes of the ’70s have turned out to be glittery imitations of talent. Most sixties’ superstars survive in repackaged groups with discounted reputations. But Joni’s writing and singing continue to renew themselves. Her roots in rebellion have flourished as stubborn, invincible candor. “The most important thing is to write in your own blood,” she says. “I bare intimate feelings because people should know how other people feel.” Joni’s confidences, delivered in poetic portraits, produce in her huge and varied audience a spirit of communion that separates the poet from the diarist.
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