Joni Mitchell feels all your love for 'Blue': '50 years later, people finally get it'

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A black and white image of a woman standing onstage in front of a microphone
Joni Mitchell, pictured in 1974, delivered a rare video message to fans this week. (Michael Putland / Getty Images)

Legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell has a rare message for fans upon the 50th anniversary of "Blue," her seminal fourth studio album.

The latest post on the Canadian musician's Instagram page, which is managed by her team and usually refers to Mitchell in the third person, features a video of the Grammy winner reflecting on the warm reception for "Blue" in recent weeks.

On Tuesday — exactly half a century after the album debuted — "Blue" ascended to No. 1 on iTunes' Top Albums chart, outperforming H.E.R.'s "Back of My Mind," Olivia Rodrigo's "Sour" and Mitchell's own "Blue 50 (Demos & Outtakes)," which landed at No. 7.

"I'm so pleased with all of the positive attention that 'Blue' is receiving these days," Mitchell says in the video posted Wednesday.

"When it was first released, it fell heir to a lot of criticism. So, 50 years later, people finally get it, and that pleases me. Thank you."

To commemorate the 1971 release of "Blue," Mitchell rewarded fans this week with "Blue 50," which includes five previously unreleased recordings from the album.

While discussing her masterwork with writer-director Cameron Crowe recently for The Times, Mitchell recalled the immense scrutiny she and "Blue" endured upon its debut.

"The most feedback that I got was that I had gone too far and was exposing too much of myself. I couldn’t tell what I had created, really," she told Crowe in a candid interview.

"The initial response I got was critical, mostly from the male singer-songwriters. It was kind of like Dylan going electric. They were afraid. Is this contagious? Do we all have to get this honest now? That’s what the boys were telling me. 'Save something of yourself, Joni. Nobody’s ever gonna cover these songs. They’re too personal.'"

"Blue 50" — featuring a demo for "A Case of You" with alternate lyrics, an acoustic rendition of "California" and a French horn-infused version of "River," among other tracks — is available on iTunes, Spotify and other major music platforms.

Times staff writer Randall Roberts contributed to this report.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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