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Reckless daughter : a portrait of Joni Mitchell / David Yaffe.

By: Yaffe, David, 1973-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: New York, New York : Sarah Crichton Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018Copyright date: ©2017Edition: First paperback edition.Description: xvi, 420 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some colour) ; 21 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780374538064; 0374538069.Subject(s): Mitchell, Joni | Women singers -- Canada -- Biography | Singers -- Canada -- Biography | Women composers -- Canada -- Biography | Composers -- Canada -- BiographyGenre/Form: Biographies.DDC classification: 782.42164092 | B Summary: "Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter, the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country. A Canadian prairie girl, a free-spirited artist, Mitchell never wanted to be a pop star. She was nothing more than "a painter derailed by circumstances," she would explain. And yet, she went on to become a talented self-taught musician and a brilliant bandleader, releasing album after album, each distinctly experimental, challenging, and revealing. Her lyrics captivated listeners with their perceptive language and naked emotion, born out of Mitchell's life, loves, complaints, and prophecies. As an artist whose work deftly balances narrative and musical complexity, she has been admired by such legendary lyricists as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and beloved by such groundbreaking jazz musicians as Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock. Her hits--from "Big Yellow Taxi" to "Both Sides, Now" to "A Case of You"--endure as timeless favorites, and her influence on the generations of singer-songwriters who would follow her, from her devoted fan Prince to Björk, is undeniable. In this intimate biography, drawing on dozens of unprecedented in-person interviews with Mitchell, her childhood friends, and a cast of famous characters, Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs--from Mitchell's youth in Canada, her bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, through the love affairs that inspired masterpieces, and up to the present--and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music."-- Jacket.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

"She was like a storm." --Leonard Cohen

Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter , the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country.

A Canadian prairie girl, a free-spirited artist, Mitchell never wanted to be a pop star. She was nothing more than "a painter derailed by circumstances," she would explain. And yet, she went on to become a talented self-taught musician and a brilliant bandleader, releasing album after album, each distinctly experimental, challenging, and revealing. Her lyrics captivated listeners with their perceptive language and naked emotion, born out of Mitchell's life, loves, complaints, and prophecies. As an artist whose work deftly balances narrative and musical complexity, she has been admired by such legendary lyricists as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and beloved by such groundbreaking jazz musicians as Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock. Her hits--from "Big Yellow Taxi" to "Both Sides, Now" to "A Case of You"--endure as timeless favorites, and her influence on the generations of singer-songwriters who would follow her, from her devoted fan Prince to Björk, is undeniable.

In this intimate biography, drawing on dozens of unprecedented in-person interviews with Mitchell, her childhood friends, and a cast of famous characters, Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs--from Mitchell's youth in Canada, her bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, through the love affairs that inspired masterpieces, and up to the present--and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music.

Hardcover edition published in 2017.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

"Joni Mitchell may be the most influential female recording artist and composer of the late twentieth century. In Reckless Daughter, the music critic David Yaffe tells the remarkable, heart-wrenching story of how the blond girl with the guitar became a superstar of folk music in the 1960s, a key figure in the Laurel Canyon music scene of the 1970s, and the songwriter who spoke resonantly to, and for, audiences across the country. A Canadian prairie girl, a free-spirited artist, Mitchell never wanted to be a pop star. She was nothing more than "a painter derailed by circumstances," she would explain. And yet, she went on to become a talented self-taught musician and a brilliant bandleader, releasing album after album, each distinctly experimental, challenging, and revealing. Her lyrics captivated listeners with their perceptive language and naked emotion, born out of Mitchell's life, loves, complaints, and prophecies. As an artist whose work deftly balances narrative and musical complexity, she has been admired by such legendary lyricists as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and beloved by such groundbreaking jazz musicians as Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, and Herbie Hancock. Her hits--from "Big Yellow Taxi" to "Both Sides, Now" to "A Case of You"--endure as timeless favorites, and her influence on the generations of singer-songwriters who would follow her, from her devoted fan Prince to Björk, is undeniable. In this intimate biography, drawing on dozens of unprecedented in-person interviews with Mitchell, her childhood friends, and a cast of famous characters, Yaffe reveals the backstory behind the famous songs--from Mitchell's youth in Canada, her bout with polio at age nine, and her early marriage and the child she gave up for adoption, through the love affairs that inspired masterpieces, and up to the present--and shows us why Mitchell has so enthralled her listeners, her lovers, and her friends. Reckless Daughter is the story of an artist and an era that have left an indelible mark on American music."-- Jacket.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • Preface: Nothing Lasts For Long (p. xi)
  • 1 All Things Considered, I'd Rather Be Dancing (p. 3)
  • 2 Let The Wind Carry Me: Lessons In Womanhood (p. 19)
  • 3 Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (p. 20)
  • 4 A Common Modern-Day Fairy Tale (p. 34)
  • 5 Don't Give Yourself Away (p. 44)
  • 6 The Word Man: Leonard Cohen (p. 52)
  • 7 Experienced (p. 64)
  • 8 Clouds (p. 86)
  • 9 Our House (p. 102)
  • 10 Ladies of the Canyon (p. 114)
  • 11 Sand (p. 122)
  • 12 Blue (p. 127)
  • 13 Between Breakdown And Breakthrough (p. 140)
  • 14 The Sunshine Coast (p. 150)
  • 15 For The Roses (p. 156)
  • 16 Star-Crossed (p. 165)
  • 17 Court And Spark: Something Strange Happened (p. 171)
  • 18 Miles Of Aisles (p. 190)
  • 19 The Queen Of Queens (p. 194)
  • 20 Hejira And The Art Of Losing (p. 218)
  • 21 Crazy Wisdom (p. 225)
  • 22 Mirrored Ball (p. 243)
  • 23 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (p. 253)
  • 24 Mingus (p. 261)
  • 25 Nervy Broad (p. 279)
  • 26 Wild Things Run Fast (p. 290)
  • 27 Dog Eat Dog (p. 307)
  • 28 Emergency Rooms (p. 318)
  • 29 Save The Bombs For Later (p. 321)
  • 30 Turbulence (p. 336)
  • 31 See You At The Movies (p. 348)
  • 32 Curtain Call (p. 368)
  • 33 Just Like This Train (p. 374)
  • Notes (p. 377)
  • Acknowledgments (p. 393)
  • Index (p. 397)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Among the greatest songwriters in history, Joni Mitchell has enriched the -nation's sound track since the late 1960s. The Canadian-born singer suffered polio at age ten and went on to embellish the baby boomer-Woodstock-era songbook with standards such as "Both Sides Now," "Help Me," and "Big Yellow Taxi." Regular access to the singer positioned Yaffe (humanities, Syracuse Univ.) to mine the stories behind her songs, love affairs, heartbreaks, and losses. As Mitchell, narrator Xe Sands builds on this intimacy, channeling the subject believably. Interviews with around 60 of Mitchell's associates-many musical legends themselves-reaped expressions of awe about her crystalline voice, virtuoso strumming, and evocative lyrics. Yaffe has his own musical chops, making him well equipped to add insightful musical exegesis about his subject's work. Because musical nuance can't be fully communicated in narrative, libraries might want to augment their CD collection with albums such as Blue or the DVD of PBS's American Masters episode Joni Mitchell: Woman of Heart and Mind. VERDICT -Listeners wishing to reminisce about popular music's role in cultural history, along with younger aficionados seeking introductions, will find Mitchell's life story memorable. ["Fans won't see her star -diminished as much as her brilliance and frailties revealed. All music collections need this one": LJ 10/15/17 review of the Sarah Crichton: Farrar hc.]--Judith Robinson, Univ. at Buffalo © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Drawing on in-depth interviews with Mitchell, her friends, and her musical associates, Yaffe (Fascinating Rhythm) paints a colorful and riveting portrait of a songwriter who has continually broken boundaries and explored new musical territories. In lively, bright prose, Yaffe traces Roberta Joan Anderson from her birth in Alberta, Canada, in 1943, through her early bout of polio, her marriage to Chuck Mitchell in 1964 (when she changed her name to Joni Mitchell), and the birth of her daughter in 1965. Yaffe describes Mitchell's steely resolve to make her own art, her emergence as a voice of her generation, her creative struggles in the 1980s and 1990s, and her recent recovery from a brain aneurysm. He brilliantly guides readers through Mitchell's evolution as a musician with vivid descriptions of the making of each of her albums from Song to a Seagull ("If drums and an electric guitar had been added to the mix, Joni would have produced some acid rock herself") through Shine in 2007. Yaffe introduces readers to the musicians with whom Mitchell worked, including Leonard Cohen, Graham Nash, Judy Collins, and Charles Mingus. The combination of fine writing and extensive access make this the definitive biography of a gifted songwriter and musician. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* In this dazzling biography, Yaffe so aptly calls Joni Mitchell (born Roberta Joan Anderson) our eternal singer-songwriter of sorrows. Ironically, Mitchell considered herself a painter first, according to Yaffe. He perfectly captures not only the singer's urban-inflected and American-influenced lyrics but also music that is deeply rooted in Canadian prairie soil (she was born in Alberta and raised in Saskatchewan). Like fellow Canadian Neil Young, Mitchell was struck by polio at a young age. The disease scarred her emotionally, but it also made her resilient and rebellious. She moved to Toronto as an unwed mother and gave up the baby for adoption. Her marriage to the American folksinger Chuck Mitchell, while pursuing her career on the folk music/coffeehouse circuit, was a disaster, but she was writing songs while in her twenties, including the timeless Both Sides, Now. Yaffe offers critical observations pertaining to all her albums (including Blue, Ladies of the Canyon, The Hissing of Summer Lawns, Court and Spark, Hejira, Don Juan's Reckless Daughter, and Mingus); recalls her halcyon and artistically fruitful days in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Laurel Canyon; and discusses her relationships with the late Leonard Cohen, David Crosby, Graham Nash, James Taylor, and Jackson Browne, among others. A shimmering portrait of one artist's life, illusions and all.--Sawyers, June Copyright 2017 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

A new biography of the luminous folk singer and musical icon.If you don't already believe that Joni Mitchell (b. 1943) is a genius without peer, you might have a hard time making the case from this effusive book, long on gossip but short on analysis, except of a kind of ethereal quality. As Yaffe (English/Syracuse Univ.; Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown, 2011, etc.) writes, "Joni may have felt that she was the lone member of the Canadian lunatic generation, but it was her destiny to alchemize all that loneliness into music that made people feel they were not alone." Meaning, one supposes, that Mitchell, nee Roberta Joan Anderson, wrote songs geared to sensitive people that amounted to a corpus that, as David Crosby once proclaimed, "was the highest quality of songwriting that I'd run into. I liked her better than Dylan or anybody." Yaffe's book is a useful appreciation, but it doesn't delve enough into the whys and wherefore of that songwriting and its high qualitywhy an odd open tuning mixed with onrushing lyrics should alchemize into something like "Coyote," say, though we do learn that there was a lot of sex and cocaine in LA in the 1970s and that Jackson Browne and James Taylor may not be the nice guys their public images suggest. "Even if cocaine fueled some of Hejira's powerful songs," writes Yaffe, "the clarity of going off coke produced other songs that came from a different and equally compelling kind of power." That's a souffl of a sentence, and, like so much of the book, it needs more grounding in Mitchell's actual work and at a deeper level than, for example, "it is on the bridge about the lonesome blues' that the chords get interesting." Mitchell deserves more musically sophisticated treatment, though this is serviceable enough as a straight fan-notes homage. Readers wanting to go deeper into the art would do better to start with Malka Marom's Joni Mitchell: In Her Own Words (2014). Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.