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Joni Mitchell on paying her dues

The Story


Fame didn't come immediately for Joni Mitchell. Like most musicians, she had to pay her dues before making it big. As she tells interviewer Malka in this radio clip, Mitchell's trials and tribulations sometimes involved playing fairly seedy gigs. She remembers playing at one club where they offered her free accommodation. Unfortunately, it wasn't so pleasant. "All night long, there were drunken sailors banging at my door for Gladys," she recalls with a faint chuckle, "and the floors had been sprayed with kerosene for cockroaches."  

Medium: Radio
Program: The Entertainers
Broadcast Date: Feb. 3, 1974
Guest(s): Joni Mitchell, Elliott Roberts
Host: Malka Himel-Cohen
Duration: 7:37
Photo: Frank Prazak / Library and Archives Canada / PA-211916

Did You know?


• After her marriage broke up, Mitchell moved to New York in early 1967. She lived in the artsy Chelsea district of the city, performing at coffee houses and folk clubs.
• Mitchell's song Chelsea Morning was inspired by her room in the Chelsea neighbourhood.
• Bill and Hillary Clinton named their daughter Chelsea after Judy Collins's 1969 version of Mitchell's song.

• It was in New York that Mitchell met her manager Elliot Roberts, heard in this clip. Roberts was extremely enthusiastic about Mitchell's music, and worked hard to get her career off the ground.
• Mitchell met singer David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills and Nash) while performing in Florida, and moved to California to live with him later in 1967. He also helped her career, introducing her to other musicians and key players in the industry.

• Malka, the interviewer in this clip, had previously been half of a popular Canadian folk singing duo called Malka and Joso. The duo was relatively well known in Canada and abroad the 1960s.


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