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the everyman memoirs

The official blog of author Tali Nay.
JUN
17

If you want me, I'll be in the bar.

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It’s funny, the music we latch onto as kids. My dad was the rock & roll fan, and I came to think of any music he liked as being pretty cool. I remember Jimi Hendrix, Billy Joel, The B-52’s, Ray Charles, Roy Orbison, Genesis, and many more, but mostly I remember Joni Mitchell. You could say it’s because she’s a girl, and I liked the idea of a woman succeeding in that way, but it could also be because her music is just that good. It’s just so…different. From the way she tunes her guitar to the way her songs are so very *not* formulaic, she was for me an example of a person who did things her way and was incredibly successful at it.

I’m reading Sheila Weller’s biography of Joni Mitchell right now. She also weaves in the biographies of Carly Simon and Carole King (so it’s not exactly a quick read), but I’m reading it for Joni. It’s part fascinating to be hearing about the stories (and people) behind her music, part enlightening to be learning so much about the music industry in the 1960s and 1970s, but I confess it’s also part tragic. “The life of an artist,” Dad said when I recently told him that the actual circumstances of Joni’s life were bringing me down a little. Not that her life wasn’t glamorous—California, New York City, money, men, world travel—but it was also kind of heart-wrenching. The going from man to man, the insecurity, the giving up of her baby because she felt she had no other choice. It’s not at all what I pictured when listening to her music in my youth. Knowing what I know now, I think I’d have wanted a river to skate away on, too.

Not sure what my point here is, I guess I’m just grateful that my life is as uncomplicated as it is. But more than that, I’m grateful that people like Joni did what they did for the music.

(And for all the talk in Weller’s book about what are the best Joni lines ever penned, to me there is a clear winner and it is this: I could drink a case of you and still be on my feet.)