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100 Greatest Guitarists

75

Joni Mitchell

David Crosby


joni mitchell
Michael Putland/Getty Images
75/100

The strongest thing I did for Joni as a producer on Song to a Seagull, from 1968, was keep everybody else off of that record. She was a folkie who had learned to play what they call an indicated arrangement, where you are like a band in the way you approach a chord and string the melody along. She was so new and fresh with how she approached it. It's the reason I fell in love with her music. She was a fantastic rhythm player and growing so fast. She had mastered the idea that she could tune the guitar any way she wanted, to get other inversions of the chords. I was doing that too, but she went further. I understood her joy in using bigger tools later – jazz bands, orchestra. But the stuff she did that was basically her, like 1971's Blue, was her strongest stuff. Match her and Bob Dylan up as poets, and they are in the same ballpark. But she was a much more sophisticated musician.

Key Tracks: "I Had a King," "Nathan La Franeer," "Night in the City," "Coyote," "A Case of You"

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