When it comes to conversations of singer-songwriters it’s difficult to NOT bring up Joni Mitchell and her masterpiece Blue. An album that goes through each stage of a relationship, Blue is deeply personal, vulnerable and was a turning point in popular music.
The album came at a time where Joni was giving up performing and shot off to Europe after her tough breakup with Graham Nash. It was during this time she conceived many of the songs on Blue and also when she began her intense relationship with James Taylor who later played guitar on ‘A Case of You’ and ‘California.’ Once Taylor abruptly ended things, she retreated to the studio to record Blue, devastated.
On Blue, Joni has said, “There’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.” In ‘This Flight Tonight’ Joni sings of visiting James Taylor on set, and his addictions and a sweater she knitted for him are referenced in ‘Blue’ and ‘All I Want’ respectively. Her emotions were predominantly on her sleeve and she refused to be any other way.
Whether Blue led to any catharsis for Joni is up for debate but we do know it resulted in one of the finest albums of all time and the absolute diamond in her amazing career.