Among the singer/songwriters who emerged in the wake of Bob Dylan in the 1960s, none were as adventurous, incisive, or influential as Joni Mitchell. A veteran of the folk music circuit of the '60s, Mitchell first came to prominence as a songwriter, composing the '60s standards "Chelsea Morning," "The Circle Game," and "Both Sides Now." By the time Judy Collins brought the latter into the Billboard Top Ten in 1968, Joni Mitchell signed with Reprise, partially upon the advocacy of ex-Byrd David Crosby, who would wind up producing her debut, Song to a Seagull. Mitchell became part of Los Angeles' folk-rock scene, but it often seemed as if she operated on its fringes, working from a different musical and personal aesthetic, relying on a series of alternate guitar tunings and writing from a stark personal perspective. These qualities came ...
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