Joni Mitchell Performs at Gershwin Prize Ceremony, Gets Covered By Famous Friends

Joni Mitchell has become the latest recipient of the coveted Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. To mark the award, Mitchell received an all-star tribute concert in Washington, D.C. earlier this week and even took to the stage herself despite her ongoing health struggles.

Videos by American Songwriter

Public appearances from Mitchell are rare these days, making her performance all the more special. The iconic folk singer performed at the end of the night taking on Gershwin’s “Summertime” and her own “The Circle Game.”

“It’s just a beautiful event for me. So many people that I care about are here tonight from different parts of my life … It’s just kind of thrilling. Thank you all for coming,” said Mitchell said as she accepted the award (per CBC news).

Prior to Mitchell’s performance, she was feted by a number of her peers, including Graham Nash, James Taylor, Brandi Carlile, and more. Cyndi Lauper led a large group of artists through Mitchell’s timeless protest anthem “Big Yellow Taxi” while Annie Lennox sang the bitter-sweet “Both Sides Now.”

Elsewhere Marcus Mumord, Diana Krall, Herbie Hancock, Ledisi, and Angélique Kidjo also performed. Check out a clip from the night below.

A statement by the Library of Congress read, “As a lyricist, she delves deeply into both the personal and political, unafraid to explore the raw reality of living underneath societal norms and time-worn traditions.”

“Mitchell redefined the role of women musicians. She oversaw all aspects of her albums, including songwriting, arrangements, performance, production, and artwork,” the statement continued.

The Gershwin Prize for Popular Song is the highest award for influence, impact, and achievement in popular music. Honorees are selected by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with a board of scholars, songwriters, performers, and producers.

Lionel Richie took home the prestigious honor in 2022. Prior recipients include Paul McCartney, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Carole King, Billy Joel, and more.

Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images

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