Joni Mitchell to Receive the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song
From the Library of Congress:
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden today announced that Joni Mitchell, an icon among music makers, will be the next recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Mitchell will be honored with a tribute concert March 1 in Washington, D.C., that will premiere on PBS stations nationwide on March 31 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings).
After getting her start performing in coffee shops and nightclubs in her native Canada, Mitchell would go on to set a new standard marrying music and lyrics. With such songs as “Both Sides, Now,” “Chelsea Morning,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” “Woodstock” and “The Circle Game,” Mitchell became a household name.
“Joni Mitchell’s music and artistry have left a distinct impression on American culture and internationally, crossing from folk music with a distinctive voice whose songs will stay with us for the ages,” Hayden said. “Joni Mitchell’s music has so many artists and music lovers all singing her tunes. We are honored to present the Gershwin Prize to this musical genius.”
While Mitchell’s early music is often categorized as “folk,” her sound draws as much from jazz, classical and rock as she crossed various musical genres. Her music often encompasses bespoke tunings and song structures that defy categorization. As a lyricist, she delves deeply into both the personal and political, unafraid to explore the raw reality of living underneath societal norms and time-worn traditions.
Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production and artwork.
“This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell said. “Thank you for honoring me.”
Bestowed in recognition of the legendary songwriting team of George and Ira Gershwin, the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the nation’s highest award for influence, impact and achievement in popular music. The honoree is selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, producers, performers, songwriters and other music specialists. Previous recipients are Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder, Sir Paul McCartney, songwriting duo Burt Bacharach and the late Hal David, Carole King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.
Mitchell will receive the Gershwin Prize at an all-star concert in Washington, D.C., on March 1. PBS stations nationwide will premiere the concert — “Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” — at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 31, (check local listings), available via broadcast and on PBS.org and the PBS App as part of the co-produced Emmy Award-winning music series. It will also be available to U.S. Department of Defense locations around the world via the American Forces Network.
“We are very proud to be the home of the Gershwin Prize, and help celebrate the legacy of Joni Mitchell,” said Paula Kerger, president and CEO of PBS. “Joni blazed a new trail for singer-songwriters, and her influence continues to echo through the music of some of today’s most popular artists. We look forward to sharing this celebration of Joni’s artistry and art with our audiences.”
“Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C.; Ken Ehrlich Productions, Inc.; and the Library of Congress.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.