Jenny McCartney Jenny McCartney

Joni Mitchell, in her own words

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Joni Mitchell performing at the Gorge Amphitheatre, Washington, in June 2023. Photo: Gary Miller / Getty Images

There’s always been something at once girlish and steely about Joni Mitchell, the stellar Canadian whom Rolling Stone called ‘one of the greatest songwriters ever’. As Radio 4’s Verbatim programme in honour of her 80th birthday reminds us, a stubborn hopefulness has carried her through turbulent times. Perhaps growing up in Saskatchewan, where winter temperatures drop to –30°C, put an early stiffener in her soul.

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