Joni Mitchell Library – Jackson Browne: Is His Big Heartbreaking Song About Joni Mitchell?: Times, October 7, 2014 (2023)

In a trailer set in Nashville, Will Hodgkinson asks singer Jackson Browne to solve one of rock's great mysteries...

At Nashville's Ryman Auditorium, American composer Jackson Browne sings Fountain of Sorrow, his heartbreaking 1974 anthem. With its guitar-driven mid-tempo and story about meeting a photograph of an old lover, it's a classic. from the singer-songwriter era, a perfect example of 65-year-old Browne's ability to bring universal meaning to intimate moments. It is also heavily rumored that he was inspired by his brief fling with Joni Mitchell.

Backed by songwriter JD Souther and a team of musicians including slide guitar legend Ry Cooder, Browne's laid-back voice echoes through the wood-paneled walls of The Ryman, a sacred space for country fans. . Fountain of Sorrow sounds transcendent, a wise and gentle reflection on what happens when you fall in love with someone, which makes Browne's introduction to this early 1970s masterpiece all the more startling. "As time went by, it turned out to be a more generous song than she deserved," he says. You ask yourself: Who is "she" and what did she do that was so terrible?

Despite unresolved issues with old flames, Browne remains the thinking person's quintessential pop star. He released '70s soft-rock favorites including Late For The Sky and The Pretender, and wrote the million-selling Take It Easy for the Eagles. He's also the quintessential California liberal: handsome and wealthy, while championing all sorts of environmental causes. After two marriages — the first to actress Phyllis Major ended in her suicide in 1976 and the second to Australian model Lynne Sweeney ended in 1983 when she began a relationship with Hollywood star Daryl Hannah — Browne has been with environmentalist Dianna Cohen since the mid-1980s 1990s Father of two sons (Ethan, a model and actor, from his marriage to Major, and Ryan, a musician, from his marriage to Sweeney), he seems to have found a way to become a rock star of retirement age.

Browne is in town for the Americana Awards, the Grammys of American roots music. Everyone from Loretta Lynn to Robert Plant is here, and Spirit of Americana award winner Browne used his time on the panel to explain how a song is a way of describing the life you know to those around you . . It's the kind of speech you'd expect from Browne, but the bitterness he hints at for the woman in The Source of Pain is shocking.

I'll remind Browne of his remarks at the Americana Awards when we meet the next day. He laughs, a little nervous. "Yeah...but it applies to songs in general," he says, leaning back in a chair in the Airstream trailer we're in. "If you write a song about something specific from your experience, it will go beyond that." You can't be the one telling others about your exploits. It has to be about her, so fill in as much as you can. The things that come through in this song are healing and accepting the differences of others. That's what I meant by being more generous than he deserves."

(Video) Neil Young - Harvest Moon [Official Music Video]

So who owns the well of sorrow with its line "When you see through the illusion of love, therein lies danger, and your perfect lover looks like a perfect fool"? Is it Joni? If so, it belongs in the small but significant canon of celebrity breakup songs about other unnamed celebrities, including Carly Simon's (supposedly Warren Beatty's) You're So Vain.

"It's about when you fall in love with someone, when you're heartbroken, you don't see them as a person," Browne replies.

Yes, but who is it?

"I can not tell you that."

One song features an ex-girlfriend that Browne is only too happy to identify, suggesting he has happier memories of their time together. Browne was just 17 when he took a road trip from California to New York in 1966 to start his career as a guitarist for Nico, the cold-hearted German model, singer and Velvet Underground collaborator. Browne wrote the ballad These Days for Nico's solo debut Chelsea Girl, and The Birds of St Marks, the opener to her new album Standing In The Breach, is about her. He wrote it when he was 18 after their brief relationship ended, but it had never been recorded until now. With The Long Way Around, another song on the new album that borrows the tune from These Days, it almost seems as if Browne has turned the album into a tribute of sorts to Nico.

“Nico was remarkably talented. She's rebelled against being seen as beautiful to the point where she's willingly let her beauty loose," says Browne, who comes across as handsome and laid-back even in his 60s. The Surfer's hair and slender build remain unchanged since he was a mainstay of Los Angeles' West Hollywood-centric music community in the early 1970s, which also included David Crosby, Neil Young and, of course, Mitchell. “When I was recording Long Way Around I realized I was quoting Nico's version of These Days instead of my own. So the song was about the passage of time, about all the things that have happened since then and what is happening now.”

(Video) 80-90's Hollywood Actresses and Their Shocking Look In 2020

In classic Browne fashion, The Long Way Around is both autobiographical and timely. In one stanza, he recalls being a young singer picking his way through Tinseltown, and in the next, he sings about how America's economy is built on the politics of envy.

"With The Long Way Around, I've tried to write about what I think is wrong in America without preaching, so you need a level of secrecy," says Browne.

Browne is no stranger to activism.

In 1979 he founded Musicians United For Safe Energy, in 2008 he was named Greenman of the Year by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association for his attempts to green his tours, and the day after our interview he traveled to New York to see the Organization to join Ocean Elders, a group of silver-haired environmentalists including Ted Turner and Young who have come together to serve as catalysts for the protection of the ocean and its wildlife. "The ocean is collapsing, the lives we depend on are in danger, and there are no rules for the high seas," Browne explains.

"I don't want a whole album of songs about the ocean," says Browne. "We need music to communicate, but people can't feel scolded and lectured. There's a certain ability to bring up these issues in hopes that people will become participants, and it's happening. Now we're seeing industries take some once-popular hippie types of energy production into the mainstream.

Current songwriting can also be a liberal luxury, Browne is aware of that. Before our interview ends, before he has to catch a plane to New York, he recalls a recent encounter with one of his backup singers. "She's from an evangelical background, and I tried to teach her Patty Griffins Living in a Poor Man's House," says Browne. "She made it very clear: she didn't want to sing about a poor man's house. In fact, she wanted to move out of a poor man's house as soon as possible."

(Video) Star Talks: Randy Bachman, Part 1 | Oct. 5, 2011 | Appel Salon

With that, he's gone to make the world a better place as only a rich and handsome Californian can.

Standing in The Breach is out on October 6th. Jackson Browne is at the Sage, Gateshead on November 20th, the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on November 21st and the Royal Albert Hall in London on November 24th. Great songs about ex lovers? You're So Vain (1972) Carly Simon The father of celebrity breakup songs, though Simon still won't say if it's Warren Beatty. Or Jack Nicholson. Or Kris Kristofferson. When asked by The Times in 2010, he ruled out Mick Jagger and David Geffen but still refused to reveal the culprit.

Go Your Own Way (1977) Fleetwood Mac The centerpiece of Rumors, the final divorce album, was written by Lindsey Buckingham about the end of her relationship with bandmate Stevie Nicks: "Loving you/Isn't the right thing all"

Cry Me a River (2002)

Justin Timberlake "You don't have to say what you did/I already know, I found out from him," sang Timberlake heartbroken, apparently referring to his girlfriend Britney Spears' alleged infidelity with boyfriend Wade Robson.

Now there's just no chance / For you and me there never will be." Ouch.

(Video) Graham Nash: "Wild Tales: A Rock & Roll Life"

I knew you were in trouble (2012)

by Taylor Swift "I knew her world was moving too fast and too bright / But I just thought how could the devil draw you to someone who looks so much like an angel when he smiles at you?" Swift sang a song , which is believed to be about her ex-boyfriend Harry Styles from One Direction.

No (2014)

by Ed Sheeran Sheeran revived his reputation as pop's good boy and responded to the breakup of his relationship with singer Ellie Goulding with this song on his recent album X Said. . sings, a nod to Goulding's biggest hit, Burn.

Fountain of Sorrow turned out to be a more generous song than it deserved.


What was Joni Mitchell's biggest hit song? ›

1. "Big Yellow Taxi" Several artists have made covers of this song, including Counting Crows back in 2003, but Joni Mitchell will forever hold the crown for creating it. Mitchell was truly ahead of her time when she penned "Big Yellow Taxi." Keep in mind - this was the 1970s she was living in.

Who was Joni Mitchell's greatest love? ›

Joni Mitchell Left a Smitten Graham Nash Despite Loving Him in a Way She 'Didn't Think Was Possible'
  • Joni Mitchell had a husband before she found success in her music career.
  • She had a meaningful relationship with Graham Nash.
  • Graham Nash says he still has love for Joni Mitchell.
7 Dec 2021

Who is Joni Mitchell's husband? ›

Joni Mitchell

Were Joni Mitchell and James Taylor a couple? ›

In 1970, Joni Mitchell found a like-minded soul in James Taylor, and they soon started a romantic relationship. They were both flying high artistically and saw life from a shared lens. Sadly, however, they were only together for twelve months before it all crumbled apart.

What is Joni Mitchell's disability? ›

Many devoted fans never thought this day would come again after Mitchell's brain aneurysm – an abnormal swelling in an artery in the brain – which left her unable to speak or walk, much less play the guitar.

What is Joni Mitchell's favorite Steely Dan song? ›

Picking a selection of 'Music That Matters to Her' as part of a feature published on her website, Mitchell chose 'Third World Man' from 1980's Gaucho as her favourite by the band and offered up her take on the album.

Who was the greatest love of all written for? ›

"The Greatest Love of All" is a song written by Michael Masser and Linda Creed and originally recorded by George Benson for the 1977 Muhammad Ali biopic The Greatest. (A live version by Benson appears on 1978's Weekend in L.A.). The song was also recorded in 1979 by Shirley Bassey, for her album "The Magic Is You".

What did David Crosby say to Graham Nash? ›

Crosby admitted he also doesn't speak to Nash, saying: “Graham just changed from the guy I thought was my best friend to being a guy that is definitely my enemy, so I don't see any future there at all… He gave the impression of looking after me, but apparently that was all just trying to keep the money coming.”

Who did the greatest love of all first? ›

It was originally recorded in 1977 by George Benson, who made the song a substantial hit, peaking at number two on the US Hot Soul Singles chart that year, the first R&B chart top-ten hit for Arista Records.

Does Joni Mitchell have a good relationship with her daughter? ›

Unfortunately, the pair didn't have the easiest relationship and they reportedly argued a lot. Joni said her daughter suffered with 'abandonment issues' and they spent some time apart.

How old is Joji? ›

Who is the father of Joni Mitchell's baby? ›

Mitchell discovered that she was pregnant by her Calgary ex-boyfriend Brad MacMath in late 1964. She later wrote, "[He] left me three months pregnant in an attic room with no money and winter coming on and only a fireplace for heat. The spindles of the banister were gap-toothed—fuel for last winter's occupants."

How many boyfriends did Taylor have? ›

Without including the ones who have not been confirmed to have been dating her, Taylor Swift has had 9 boyfriends.

Is songs in Ursa Major Based on a true story? ›

Fiction, after all, is fiction. Brodie is very good at it, and — like Joni and like Jane — a voice well worth listening to.

Why is Joni Mitchell not on Spotify? ›

“You have the power to change the world. We can do it together. Your grandchildren will thank you in history.” Young and Joni Mitchell renounced Spotify last week after accusing the streaming giant of spreading misinformation about COVID-19.

Does Halsey have a disability? ›

Later, the singer was hospitalized after she fell sick. They were diagnosed with “Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Sjogren's syndrome, Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), [and] POTS (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome),” according to the Instagram update.

What is Joni Mitchell's affliction? ›

Joni Mitchell, who entered the hospital yesterday (March 31), has long suffered from a little-understood condition called Morgellons disease. The intensity of the disease caused the singer to almost…

What is Joni Mitchell's best selling album? ›

The best-selling album by JONI MITCHELL is COURT & SPARK, which sold over 2,100,000 copies .

Did Led Zeppelin like Joni Mitchell? ›

One of the most notable proponents of Mitchell is English rock legends, Led Zeppelin. Frontman Robert Plant and guitarist Jimmy Page were such fans of the Canadian songstress that they heavily drew on her work for their song 'Going to California' from 1971's Led Zeppelin IV.

Why do audiophiles like Steely Dan? ›

Steely Dan elevated instrumental virtuosity in the rock context and wrote lyrics that were inventive and provocative, if often inscrutable or nearly so. They got fans thinking on many levels, which was the point. And they made great sounding records that turned on a lot of people to the joy of owning a better stereo.

What is Joni Mitchell's favorite album? ›

In an interview, Mitchell described how her favourite album by the pioneering four-piece developed as a result of their fascination with artists of that era: “Rubber Soul was the Beatles album I played over and over,” Mitchell began. “I think they were discovering Dylan, and the songs often had an acoustic feel.”

What is considered the greatest love song of all time? ›

Best love songs, ranked
  1. 'This Magic Moment' by the Drifters. ...
  2. 'Love Me Like You Do' by Ellie Goulding. ...
  3. 'Unchained Melody' by the Righteous Brothers. ...
  4. 'Slow Show' by the National. ...
  5. 'At Last' by Etta James. ...
  6. 'Let's Stay Together' by Al Green. ...
  7. 'God Only Knows' by the Beach Boys. ...
  8. 'Be My Baby' by the Ronettes.
20 May 2022

What was Whitney Houston's biggest hit? ›

Her biggest single on the Hot 100 chart is her iconic “I Will Always Love You,” from the soundtrack to her 1992 film debut, The Bodyguard. The track spent a staggering 14 weeks atop the list and at the time was the longest-running No. 1 single in history.

What is the greatest love story ever sold? ›

The streamer released the official full-length trailer for the show on Wednesday, Jan. 5, describing Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee's sex tape as "the greatest love story ever sold." In the clip, it shows how Tommy and Pam, portrayed by Sebastian Stan and Lily James respectively, came to know each other.

Are David Crosby and Graham Nash still friends? ›

Although Graham Nash's relationship with former bandmate David Crosby has been estranged over the years, the two joined up for an upcoming compilation of covers.

What illness does David Crosby have? ›

Crosby is also a founding member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In an ask me anything interview with Rolling Stone in 2019, he shared what he had learned from 40 years of being diabetic. Put bluntly, he thinks that “complex diets” are “nonsense”.

What did Crosby say about Eddie Van Halen? ›

The singer-songwriter caught backlash online when he said that Van Halen “does not move me much” and that he didn't “care that much” about the guitarist's music. Crosby also said that Van Halen's musical skills paled in comparison to those of Jimi Hendrix. “Hendrix changed the world of guitar.

What is the greatest love in the world? ›

One of the greatest loves we know in this world is that of parent for child. If we were lucky enough to experience the love of our parents, we may recall how much they cared for us. In our adult life, we may have experienced romantic love.

How old is George Benson? ›

What is a great love? ›

Great Love doesn't mean there aren't problems or rough patches; it means seeing through those rough patches and working with each other instead of turning away. MYTH: Great Love means grand gestures, rose petals and romantic walks in the sunset. REALITY: Great Love can mean all of those things, if you want it to.

Are Brandi Carlile and Joni Mitchell friends? ›

She and Carlile are close friends, with Mitchell introducing her at the annual Grammy Awards earlier this year.

How old was Joni Mitchell when she gave up her daughter? ›

A true story of secrets and lies. The child "born with the moon in Cancer" is the baby that Joni Mitchell gave up for adoption. She felt she had no choice. At 21, she was Joan Anderson, dirt poor and pregnant, an unknown folksinger in a Toronto rooming house.

Who was on stage with Joni at Newport? ›

Getting Joni Mitchell back on stage was an unforgettable experience for Brandi Carlile. The pair recently teamed up at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival last weekend, sharing the stage for a surprise performance that marked Mitchell's first full set in more than 20 years.

How old is Billie Eilish? ›

What is Joji favorite food? ›

Musician Joji Breaks Down His Favorite Meal: Cereal.

Is Joni Mitchell rich? ›

Joni Mitchell net worth: Joni Mitchell is a legendary singer and songwriter who has a net worth of $100 million. Joni Mitchell is widely considered one of the best musicians and songwriters of all time. During her career, Joni sold millions and millions albums.

Why was Joni Mitchell kept out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? ›

Joni Mitchell's family factored into her decision not to appear at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In 1965, Mitchell gave birth to a daughter. At the time, it was taboo to give birth to a child out of wedlock. Mitchell gave up her daughter, Kelly Dale Anderson, for adoption.

Who is Shay Mitchell's baby with? ›

Shay Mitchell's baby girl carries a very special namesake. On Sunday, the Pretty Little Liars star, 35, shared the first photo of her newborn daughter and revealed that she and longtime partner Matte Babel picked the name Rome for their little girl.

How many girlfriends did Leonardo Dicaprio have? ›

By the early 2000s, he became one of the most eligible bachelors in Tinseltown. He went on to date Gisele Bündchen, Bar Refaeli, Blake Lively, Toni Garrn and Nina Agdal, among others, before finally settling down with current girlfriend Camila Morrone, who is 23 years his junior.

What did Jake do to Taylor? ›

Taylor Swift Was Seemingly Just Called Out By Jake Gyllenhaal For Allowing “Cyberbullying” In Her Name After Fans Targeted Him And John Mayer Following Her “Red” Rerelease.

Who did Taylor have her first kiss with? ›

She might be dating Tom Hiddleston but Swift's first kiss was with her first boyfriend at the age of 15. She told Tiger Beat: 'I was one of the last of my friends to ever kiss a guy. It wasn't a bad kiss.

What is the story behind the Great Bear constellation? ›

According to legend, Ursa Major was once the beautiful maiden Callisto, whom the god Zeus had an affair with. In order to protect her and their son, Arcas, from his jealous wife Hera, Zeus turned Callisto and Arcas into bears. He then picked up the bears by their short, stubby tails and threw them into the sky.

What is a story about the Little Bear constellation? ›

In Greek myth, Zeus was having an affair with the lovely Callisto. When his wife, Hera, found out she changed Callisto into a bear. Zeus put the bear in the sky along with the Little Bear, which is Callisto's son, Arcas. In other myths, the constellation is not a bear at all, but is in fact a dog.

What is the book Songs in Ursa Major about? ›

EB: Songs in Ursa Major is the story of Jane Quinn, an up-and-coming singer songwriter whose career is launched into the stratosphere when she's pulled on stage to fill in for mega-star Jesse Reid after a motorcycle crash.

Why are singers leaving Spotify? ›

But for various reasons—licensing, money, PR pressure—it's tougher than expected. As controversy continues to circle around Spotify, more and more artists want their music removed from the platform. But why is it so hard?

Who is removing music from Spotify? ›

Entertainment figures Neil Young, left, Joni Mitchell, Ava DuVernay and India Arie have cut ties with Spotify. Veteran singer-songwriter Neil Young recently urged “other artists and record companies” to “move off the SPOTIFY platform and stop supporting SPOTIFY's deadly misinformation about COVID.”

What was Joni James biggest hit? ›

She reached No. 1 with her first record, "Why Don't You Believe Me?," had another hit with her version of "Your Cheatin' Heart" and made history at Carnegie Hall.

What is Joni Mitchell best known for? ›

Joni Mitchell is one of the most highly regarded and influential songwriters of the 20th century. Her melodious tunes support her poetic and often very personal lyrics to make her one of the most authentic artists of her time. As a performer she is widely hailed for her unique style of playing guitar.

What was Joni Mitchell's first hit song? ›

Song to a Seagull (also known as Joni Mitchell) is the debut studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Produced by David Crosby, the album was recorded in 1967 at Sunset Sound and released on March 23, 1968 by Reprise Records.
Song to a Seagull.
Review scores
Rolling Stone
3 more rows

What is considered the best Joni Mitchell album? ›

Joni Mitchell's Albums Ranked
  • #8 Clouds.
  • #7 Turbulent Indigo.
  • #6 Don Juan's Reckless Daughter.
  • #5 For The Roses.
  • #4 The Hissing of Summer Lawns.
  • #3 Hejira.
  • #2 Blue.
  • #1 Court and Spark.
15 Feb 2022

What is Pearl Jam's best selling song? ›

"Last Kiss" became the band's highest-charting single, peaking at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. In 2000, Pearl Jam released its sixth studio album, Binaural, and initiated a series of "official bootlegs" of live albums.

What is Pearl Jam's most played song? ›

“Alive” (371M+ streams)

With one of the most catchy, sing-a-long choruses in their discography, it's not a surprise that “Alive” is Pearl Jam's highest-streamed song. After the band plays through three full choruses, a blistering guitar solo caps off the track.

What is Joni Mitchell's favorite restaurant? ›

Dan Tana's is a rare place, regulars say, where generations mingle, where people go to go; not to be seen. "It's one of my very favorite restaurants," said Sumner M. Redstone, the chairman of Viacom and therefore Mr. Grey's boss's boss.

Why did Spotify pull Joni Mitchell's song? ›

Iconic singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell announced she will remove her music from Spotify in protest of Joe Rogan's popular podcast she believes spreads misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccines. Mitchell's move follows Neil Young's decision to pull his catalog off the streaming platform for the same reason.

Who was the song Our House written about? ›

The song originated from a domestic event that took place while Graham Nash was living with Joni Mitchell (and her two cats) in her house in Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles), after they had gone out for breakfast and had bought an inexpensive vase on Ventura Boulevard.

Does Joni Mitchell have a relationship with her daughter? ›

Unfortunately, the pair didn't have the easiest relationship and they reportedly argued a lot. Joni said her daughter suffered with 'abandonment issues' and they spent some time apart.

Who is the biggest music star of all time? ›

250 million or more records
ArtistCountryClaimed sales
Michael JacksonUnited States400 million
Elton JohnUnited Kingdom300 million 250 million
QueenUnited Kingdom300 million 250 million
MadonnaUnited States300 million 250 million
5 more rows

Who is the greatest live performer of all time? ›

Any list of the greatest live performers in music today rightfully begins with the legends — the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, U2, Neil Young, and my vote for the greatest live performer of all time, Bruce Springsteen.

What is the biggest Billboard hit of all time? ›

Top 10 songs of all time (1958–2021)
  • "The Twist" 1960, 1961 ( re ) ...
  • "Smooth" 1999. ...
  • "Mack the Knife" 1959. ...
  • "Uptown Funk" 2015. ...
  • "How Do I Live" 1997. LeAnn Rimes. ...
  • "Party Rock Anthem" 2011. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett & GoonRock. ...
  • "I Gotta Feeling" 2009. The Black Eyed Peas. ...
  • "Macarena (Bayside Boys mix)" 1996. Los Del Rio.


1. Watch Ellen Piss Off This Guest...
(Plot Twist)
2. Kim Jong-Un brutally shoots an orchestra conductor 90 times in front of every artist in Pyongyang
(Voice of North Korea by Yeonmi Park)
3. Kennedy Center Honors: James Taylor Tribute 2016
(Jukebox Heroes)
4. You Won't believe What People Found on These Beaches
5. Midnight Rider
(The Hit Crew - Topic)
6. Folsom Prison Blues (In the Style of Johnny Cash) (Karaoke Version)
(Various Artists - Topic)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 10/02/2023

Views: 5894

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.