Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the countdown.
(Image found online. Original source unknown.)
Yesterday’s song was by Elton John who is retiring from the road. Well, as one legend leaves the live stage, another one has returned to it in an incredibly triumphant way. Joni Mitchell performed at the Newport Folk Festival this summer after years of recovery from a medical event. It was a glorious moment for her and those of us who have followed her career and believed in her words, music, talent and artistry.
I learned she was slowly making her way back over the last few years by hosting “Joni Jams” in the living room of her home to play with many of her famous friends. Now Mitchell has announced some show dates for 2023. And on the subject of Elton John again, he hosted an episode of his Rocket Hour show last month right from Mitchell’s house. It is an absolutely delightful interview in which John pointed out “music brought her back to life”. Amen. Say it with me: Music is the answer.
Today’s pick is one of Mitchell’s most beloved and most covered tracks. I love the original version she recorded for her 1971 album, Blue. It was reissued last year for its 50th anniversary and went to #1. My absolute favorite cover of this track was recorded by actor Robert Downey Jr. in 2000 for his role as Larry Paul on “Ally McBeal”. It has a cello arrangement that is absolutely exquisite. In the spirit of this giving season, I am presenting both for your enjoyment.
Welcome back, Joni Mitchell. We missed you.
“It’s coming on Christmas
They’re cutting down trees
They’re putting up reindeer
And singing songs of joy and peace“.
Top: Joni Mitchell on stage at the Newport Folk Festival in July 2022. Bottom: Robert Downey Jr. circa 2000. (Images found online. Original sources unknown.)
Joni Mitchell: “River” (1971, written by Joni Mitchell).
Robert Downey Jr.: “River” (2000, written by Joni Mitchell).
What are some of your favorite Christmas songs?
Until next time, happy listening!!!