HITS By Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell was another marvelous singer that I had a crush on in the 1960s. I loved her voice and the evocative lyrics of her songs. My favorite Joni Mitchell albums are Blue and Court and Spark. Blue is a sad, sad album with many great songs. On Hits, “California” and “River” display the quality of Mitchell’s music from Blue.

I play Court and Spark the most of all the Joni Mitchell albums I own. I love the sound, the orchestral arrangements, and–for Mitchell–a lightness of her music.

Are you a Joni Mitchell fan? Do you have a favorite Joni Mitchell song? GRADE: A


All songs were written by Joni Mitchell, except “Unchained Melody” by Alex North and Hy Zaret.

  1. “Urge for Going” – 5:05
    • Originally recorded by Tom Rush in 1967, Mitchell’s own version (recorded for Blue but left off the album at the last minute in favor of newer songs) was not released until 1972, as the B-side of the “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” single. First time available on a Joni Mitchell album.
  2. Chelsea Morning” – 2:31
  3. Big Yellow Taxi” – 2:14
    • Released as a single.
  4. Woodstock” – 5:27
  5. “The Circle Game” – 4:51
  6. Carey” – 3:02
    • Released as a single.
  7. California” – 3:50
    • Tracks 6–7 from Blue.
  8. You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio” – 2:39
  9. “Raised on Robbery” – 3:05
  10. Help Me” – 3:22
  11. Free Man in Paris” – 3:02
  12. River” – 4:04
    • From Blue.
  13. “Chinese Café/Unchained Melody” – 5:18
  14. “Come in from the Cold” – 7:30
  15. Both Sides, Now” – 4:34

18 thoughts on “HITS By Joni Mitchell

  1. Steve Oerkfitz

    I’m a fan of her first 3 or 4 records. Once she started going in a more jazz direction with Jaco Pastorius I lost interest. She used to play The Raven Gallery in Southfield (Detroit suburb) a lot in the 60’s. Often with her then husband Chuck.. Saw her once and she put on a pretty good show. This was mid 70’s. This CD seems to be a pretty good overview of her best stuff.

    1. george Post author

      Steve, like you I lost interest in Joni Mitchell’s music when she started putting out those jazzy albums. I bought and listened to THE HISSING OF SUMMER LAWNS once and that was it.

  2. Jerry House

    Some great songs there. Like Steve, I used to catch her and Chuck Mitchell back in the 60s, but at the old Club 47 in Cambridge. They put on a great show but they never sang together — each had a separate set. Perhaps that was an indication their marriage wouldn’t last.

  3. Michael Padgett

    If I may paraphrase the old Sara Lee commercial, “everybody doesn’t like someone, but nobody doesn’t like Joni Mitchell”. I’d agree that “Blue” and “Court and Spark” are her two best albums. Favorite song? I can get down to three, but no further: “Both Sides Now”, “River”, and “Free Man in Paris”.

    1. george Post author

      Michael, all three of your favorite songs are included on HITS. That “body” on the cover of the CD is Joni Mitchell.

  4. Deb

    I love 1970s Joni! As a teen, I would sit in my room with the latest Joni Mitchell album on the record player, playing the songs until the grooves wore out and reading the lyrics as I listened. Of the songs on this collection, I think “Carey” and “California” are my favorites, but some of my absolute favorites aren’t here: “Car on the Hill,” “Bar and Grill,” “The Jungle Line,” “Electricity,” “Edith and the Kingpin,” and “Cold Blue Steel and Sweet Fire.” As I said, I was a Joni Mitchell fan girl.

  5. Patti Abbott

    Love her and think she is probably the most brilliant female song writer except perhaps for Carole King. Although Joni’s songs are more sophisticated and enduring, I think.

    1. george Post author

      Patti, I totally agree with you on Joni Mitchell’s sophisticated lyrics. I’m a big fan of “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio.” I never tire of listening to its clever and snarky message.

  6. Jeff Smith

    Unlike you, I love jazz Joni more than folk Joni. I love folk Joni, too; I just love jazz Joni more. Likewise, I think HITS is a great collection, but I like its companion MISSES even better. I really, really love the compilation she put together called SONGS OF A PRARIE GIRL, which includes her 16-minute “Paprika Plains” — complete with piano, orchestra, and Jaco Pastorius. I’ve been playing that collection a lot this week. Probably not to your taste, George. I foresee the live album SHADOWS AND LIGHT, with its jazz band including Pat Metheny, getting some serious play soon.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, the jazz I prefer is the much maligned “Smooth Jazz.” I’ll have to track down a copy of MISSES and check that out. If I run across any of Joni Mitchell’s jazzy CDs, I’ll pick them up and give them another listen based on your enthusiasm.

  7. Rick Robinson

    George, seems you had a crush on every female singer and actress in the 60s. It must have been an angst-filled time for you. I always get Mitchell and Judy Collins mixed up, and I only know the songs I heard on the radio.

  8. Deb

    If you get a chance, check out Joni Mitchell’s version of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man.” Then check out Ricky Lee Jones’s version of the same song. They’re both great (I love Marvin’s original too), but very different in style and approach.

    1. george Post author

      Deb, I went to YOUTUBE.COM and listened to both versions of “Trouble Man.” You’re right: Joni Mitchell’s rendition is very different than Rickie Lee Jones’s. Both are great!

  9. Jeff Meyerson

    I’m with you, George. COURT AND SPARK does it for me. I also liked her earlier stuff in LADIES OF THE CANYON.


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