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Joni Mitchell Is the 2023 Recipient of Gershwin Prize for Popular Song

todayJanuary 12, 2023

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Joni Mitchell will be the 2023 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

Mitchell is the third woman to receive the honor, following Carole King and Gloria Estefan, who was honored alongside her husband, Emilio Estefan. Mitchell, who was born in Canada, is the third person born outside the U.S. to receive the honor, following Paul McCartney (who was born in England) and the Estefans (who were both born in Cuba).

Mitchell will receive the award at an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C., on March 1. PBS stations will broadcast the concert at 9 p.m. ET on Friday, March 31, and on and the PBS Video App. The show, titled “Joni Mitchell: The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song,” is a co-production of WETA Washington, D.C., Ken Ehrlich Productions and the Library of Congress.

“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,” Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress, said in a statement. “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.”

“This is a very prestigious award,” Mitchell said. “Thank you for honoring me.”

In making the selection, the Librarian of Congress consulted leading members of the music and entertainment communities, as well as curators from the Library’s Music Division, American Folklife Center and National Audio-Visual Conservation Center.

Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians in popular music. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production and artwork.

Mitchell, 79, was inducted into both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. She received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2021. A nine-time Grammy winner, Mitchell received a lifetime achievement award from the Recording Academy in 2002 and was named MusiCares person of the year in 2022.

Mitchell has also received the Polar Music Prize and an honorary doctorate from the Berklee College of Music.

In Canada, Mitchell has received the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, Canada’s highest honor in the performing arts, and has been named a Companion of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor.

Mitchell has amassed three top 10 albums on the Billboard 200, though that number doesn’t begin to do justice to her impact and influence. Her highest charting albums are Court and Spark, which logged four weeks at No. 2 in 1974, and the live album Miles of Ailes, which hit No. 2 in February 1975.

Mitchell’s first top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 as a songwriter was “Both Sides Now” (No. 8 for Judy Collins in December 1968). Her first (and only, to date) top 10 hit as an artist was “Help Me” (No. 7 in June 1974).

Mitchell recently launched the Joni Mitchell Archives, which began with her curating her vast catalog to reveal hours of previously unissued studio and live recordings. In 2022, Mitchell won a Grammy for producing the first volume in the series, Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963 to 1967).

This is looking to be another landmark year for Mitchell as she brings her Joni Jam to the stage for her first headlining concert in more than two decades at Washington State’s Gorge Amphitheatre in June.

Named in honor 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.

Established in 2007, the prize honors living musical artists whose contributions in the field of popular song exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin brothers. Criteria for selection include artistic merit; influence in promoting music as a vehicle of cultural understanding; impact and achievement in entertaining and informing audiences; and inspiring new generations of musicians.

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, McCartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, King, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Tony Bennett, the Estefans, Garth Brooks, and Lionel Richie.

The Gershwin name is used courtesy of the families of George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin. As the Library of Congress reminds us, GERSHWIN® is a registered trademark of Gershwin Enterprises.

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todayJanuary 12, 2023

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