The Words and Music of Joni Mitchell
By James Bennighof
(Praeger, Hardcover, 9780313355943, 236pp.)
Publication Date: March 2010
Few singer-songwriters have been as influential as Joni Mitchell. Her song "Both Sides, Now" has been recorded over 640 times, while Bill and Hillary Clinton credit her "Chelsea Morning" as the inspiration for their daughter's name. "The Words and Music of Joni Mitchell" surveys the entire output of this legendary artist, from her 1968 debut album "Song to a SeagulI" to her 2007 album "Shine."
After a brief overview of Mitchell's career and a chapter that explains some of the important technical features of the guitar styles upon which she draws, the book offers an in-depth discussion of every song Mitchell wrote and recorded. Proceeding chronologically through Mitchell's albums, author James Bennighof clarifies the musical content of the songs and the personality behind the music. Each brief essay describes how important musical features--such as instrumentation, idiosyncratic guitar tunings, harmonic structure, form, and elements of melody and rhythm--interact with the text of the song to create the unforgettable artistic statements for which Mitchell is celebrated.