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Joni Mitchell: 15 Great Artists Influenced by the ‘Blue’ Singer

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Joni Mitchell

Portrait of Canadian musician Joni Mitchell wearing a loose-fitting white cotton dress, New York, November 1968. This image was from a photo shoot for the fashion magazine Vogue. Mitchell wears two rings on her hand and is in a white loose-fitting white cotton dress. (Photo by Jack Robinson/Getty Images)

Jack Robinson/Getty

"The Blue album, there's hardly a dishonest note in the vocals," Joni Mitchell told Rolling Stone in 1979. "At that period of my life, I had no persona defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world, and I couldn't pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy."

The record, released June 22nd, 1971, ranks Number 30 on Rolling Stone's 500 Best Albums of All Time list and it's just a single exemplar of why Mitchell is considered one of the greatest poets in 20th-century music – a visionary talent of achingly candid lyrics, fleet guitar lines and stirringly elegant vocals.

Musicians have long cited her as an inspiration and an example of how to break boundaries in their own work. Here are 15 major artists – from Bob Dylan to Björk – who have proclaimed her influence.

Sara Bareilles

HOLLYWOOD, FL - JULY 25: Sara Bareilles performs at Hard Rock Live! in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on July 25, 2014 in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)

Larry Marano/Getty

Sara Bareilles

Bareilles recorded a lovely cover of "The River" in 2008 and clearly kept tabs on the beloved artist: She was one of the first musicians to tweet out support for Mitchell after her hospitalization in March 2015. "Fiona Apple and Joni Mitchell are two of my most favorite role models," Bareilles had previously said. "As you can tell by that, I'm a junkie for great lyrics."

Chrissie Hynde

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 10: Musician Chrissie Hynde performs at Ryman Auditorium on November 10, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Terry Wyatt/Getty

Chrissie Hynde

Most praise Mitchell for her open-hearted lyrics and nimble, affecting vocals, but Chrissie Hynde was quick to call out Mitchell's other, underrated gift. "She's a fuckin' excellent guitar player," the Pretenders singer told Rolling Stone. "I don't know any guitar player, any of the real greats, who don't rate Joni Mitchell up there with the best of them." (Clearly, Mitchell's music prompts a passionate side of Hynde: She famously brawled with Carly Simon at a 1995 Mitchell concert in New York.)

Chris Cross

AUSTIN, TX - SEPTEMBER 22: Musician Christopher Cross performs on stage as part of ALL ATX Presents: British Invasion! at ACL Live on September 22, 2014 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Rick Kern/WireImage)

Rick Kern/WireImage

Christopher Cross

The "Sailing" crooner has consistently voiced respect for Mitchell's ironclad work ethic. "The writers that I aspire to, like Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman, they'll tell you that the work gets harder, not easier," he's told the press. "And they set that bar for us where we're always striving to do something better than the last time, whether it's the next song or just the next line." Over the years he has continued to offer praise. "Joni's made so many amazing records over the years," he said in 2009. "People who didn't follow Joni's work, it's their loss, because she only got more and more brilliant."

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