Elton John interviewed Joni Mitchell for his Apple Music 1 show on Saturday (Nov. 12) and the folk legend opened up about her legacy, including performing at the Newport Folk Festival.
After telling Sir Elton that she was in the process of releasing a live recording of her surprise performance at the festival this summer, Mitchell also revealed she had “no” rehearsal for her first concert in two decades.
“And you got up and played the guitar,” John pointed out, to which she replied, “Yeah, I had to figure out what I was doing. And I couldn’t sing the key. I’ve gotten old, I’m not a soprano anymore, so I couldn’t sing the song. And I thought people might feel relieved if I just played the guitar part, but I like the guitar part in this song. In any case, it was very well received, much to my delight.”
Mitchell also reflected on the impact of her early music from the folk movement of the 1960s and ’70s and how it was compared to male singer-songwriters of the era. “At the time, no, I was taking a lot of flak, if at all,” the singer said. “People thought it was too intimate. It was almost as if Dylan was electrifying.
“I think it upset the male singer/songwriters,” she continued. “They would say, ‘Oh no. Do we have to endure our souls like this now?’ I think that made people nervous. More edgy than… It wasn’t until this generation – they seem to be able to handle those emotions more easily than my generation.”
Upon her return to the stage, Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now” once again debuted at #1 on the LyricFind US and Global charts. Next year, she’ll be joining Brandi Carlile for their Echoes Through the Canyon shows together on The Canyon in Washington state.
Watch clips from Elton’s interview with Mitchell below.