Joni Mitchell made a rare public appearance last night as she was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in Las Vegas.
MusicCares, the foundation of the Recording Academy, which operates the Grammy Awards, provides health and human service aid to the music community.
Multiple artists took the stage to pay tribute to Mitchell via her work. Dave Grohl‘s 15-year-old daughter, Violet, performed 1974’s “Help Me”; John Legend sang 1971’s “River,” one of Blue‘s most memorable tracks; Beck performed “The Jungle Line” from 1975’s The Hissing of Summer Lawns; Cyndi Lauper sang 1994’s “Magdalene Laundries”; Mickey Guyton and Allison Russell teamed up on “For Free”; and Billy Porter performed Mitchell’s classic “Both Sides, Now.”
“We are all better artists because of the lines you dared to cross,” Porter said, acknowledging Mitchell. Appreciative video messages from Elton John, Lionel Richie, Meryl Streep and Neil Young were also displayed.
“I wanted to help her realize how relevant she is to multiple generations,” singer-songwriter and Mitchell’s friend Brandi Carlile told USA Today at the event. “Everyone wants to sing in front of Joni and no one wants to sing in front of Joni.”
Carlile joined Stephen Stills for a rendition of “Woodstock,” which Mitchell wrote and which first appeared on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s their album Deja Vu in March 1970. (Mitchell released her own version a month later.)
“She’s been brave,” Stills said to USA Today. “We were really worried about her [after her 2015 aneurysm] and now here she is and God bless her.”
Mitchell, who is also scheduled to present an award at the 64th Grammys tomorrow evening, even took the stage herself to help sing “Big Yellow Taxi” and “The Circle Game.” Footage of the latter performance, along with photos from the event, can be viewed below.
The legendary songwriter told USA Today the recognition of her career and achievements has come a pleasant surprise.
“It’s interesting that it’s been happening – and that it took 50 years to get there,” she said. “Maybe people are getting deeper.”
Joni Mitchell Albums Ranked
Individuality set her apart from other singer-songwriters in the ’70s.