10 excellent Joni Mitchell covers: James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, and more

04.28.15 2 years ago

Though Joni Mitchell's official website gave us a heartening update about the fact that she'd reportedly slipped into a coma, it's hard not to think about how singular Joni Mitchell's contributions are to the world of popular music. We've rounded up ten of the best covers of her work. 

1. Crosby & Nash, “Urge for Going”

This early Joni track would later appear on her “Hits” package, but it was originally just a tune that Judy Collins turned down. Here, David Crosby and Graham Nash whimdically trill it.

2. Judy Collins, “Both Sides Now”

A signature track for Judy, “Both Sides Now” sounds as good with her chirp as it does in Joni's mournful soprano.

3. Led Zeppelin, “Woodstock”

There's no song in Joni's catalog like “Woodstock” with its meandering recollection of the '69 rock festival and the energy around it. Led Zeppelin shreds it with this cover. Nice to see that even Robert Plant can get back to the garden.

4. Laura Benanti, “Conversation”

Tony winner and “Younger” star Laura Benanti absolutely nails this “Ladies of the Canyon” track. Unrequited crushing can be such a hassle.

5. Annie Lennox, “Ladies of the Canyon”

Yes, that's right: Annie Lennox has sung the lines, “Annie sits you down to eat… She may bake some brownies today.” Is this Annie Lennox announcing she enjoys edible marijuana? We'll never know.

6. Rufus Wainwright, “All I Want”

Love this sped-up, soul-searching cover. Rufus might be the preeminent cover singer of our time.

7. Nazareth, “This Flight Tonight”

Hey, look: Nazareth howled a cover of “This Flight Tonight” and turned the evocative plane anecdote into a cause for stomping and headbanging. Much appreciated.

8. James Taylor, “River”

There are countless covers of “River,” but James Taylor's version at a televised 2001 tribute to Joni is my favorite. Runners-up: Aimee Mann and Travis.

9. Tori Amos, “A Case of You”

Tori's delicate piano work and shimmering glumness make her “A Case of You” cover the one to beat. Stylistically she seems like more of an heir to Kate Bush or Laura Nyro, but Tori's searing songwriting is pretty Joni-esque.

10. k.d. lang, “Help Me”

We are not good enough as human beings to deserve k.d. lang's voice, but here it is, adding even greater heartbreaking contemplation to “Help Me.”

Around The Web