Joni Mitchell was no doubt a legendary singer and songwriter and was in the spotlight during the 1960s and 1970s.
Joni Mitchell was born on November 7, 1943, in Fort McCloud, Alberta. She was formerly named Roberta Joan Anderson and was the only child of parents Myrtle and Bill Anderson.
Her life hasn’t been so easy as from a young age she suffered polio and had to use a wheelchair. During her stay in the hospital she always sang for other patients and it seems like her destiny was calling out to her.
Mitchell said in 1995, “My spine was twisted up like a train wreck. I couldn’t walk. I was paralyzed. Forty years later, it comes back with a vengeance. It’s like multiple scleroses. It means your electrical system burns out and your muscles begin to atrophy. It means impending paraplegia.”
She continued: “I have to guard my energy. Just like the bunnies in those battery commercials. I’m the one that’s about to keel over. I’m not the one that’s going and going.”
Joni received piano lessons from when she was young, but she was more interested in painting and went on to attend an Arts school.
During her time in school, she often went to a coffeehouse to listen to Jazz, and it was during that moment she got in contact with a band. She asked the singer to teach her how to play the guitar, he refused and Joni decided to learn by herself.
“I went out and bought myself a ukulele because my mother thought that guitar…she sort of associated guitar music with country and western, which was sort of hillbillyish there,” she recalled.
“I bought myself a ukulele, and I plunked my way through most of the summer. Then I went off to art college and started playing in a club there with Peter Albling, who was the headliner.”
In 1965 she got married to Chuck Mitchell, but they divorced two years later.
During that time she had a daughter who she gave up for adoption because she wasn’t able to take care of her.
Joni told NPR of the song Both Sides, Now, adding that she gave up her daughter to give her a brighter future, “I’ve gone through some bad stuff already. You know, the loss of my daughter. I was in a bad marriage. You know, it’s love’s illusion.”
“I had to give her up for adoption. You know, like, ’cause I couldn’t get enough money together,” she added.
“I married this guy, you know, in order to kind of keep her, and then I thought, ‘No, no, no. This is not a good home. I don’t want to bring — she’s better off elsewhere, you know than to come in on this. I’ve got to get out of this marriage. It’s not working,’ you know. We married each other for the wrong reasons, you know. Both of us.”
Joni United with her Daughter Kilauren Gibb in 1997.
Joni Mitchell said at the time of the reunion, “I’ve had pain and joy in my life but nothing like this. It’s an unparalleled emotional feeling.”