Vintage Video of Joni Mitchell Performing in 1965 — Before She Was Even Named Joni Mitchell

From 1963 to 1967, folk singer Oscar Brand host­ed “Let’s Sing Out” on Cana­di­an tele­vi­sion. Filmed on uni­ver­si­ty cam­pus­es across Cana­da, the show launched the careers of impor­tant folk singers — singers like Gor­don Light­foot and Joni Mitchell, to name just two. In the com­pi­la­tion above, all shot in black and white, you can watch Joni Mitchel­l’s career come into bloom. In the first clip, record­ed at The Uni­ver­si­ty of Man­i­to­ba in 1965, Joni Ander­son — as she was named before her mar­riage to Chuck Mitchell in ’66 — sings “Born To Take The High­way.” On the same episode, Dave Van Ronk appeared along with The Chap­ins (Har­ry includ­ed).

We also find Joni in 1966, tak­ing on a dif­fer­ent look and a dif­fer­ent last name and per­form­ing for stu­dents at Lau­rent­ian Uni­ver­si­ty. The next year, the Cana­di­an singer-song­writer moved to New York, then onto LA where, with the help of David Cros­by, her career got off the ground. Find more ear­ly Joni Mitchell per­for­mances in the sec­tion right down below.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Young Joni Mitchell Per­forms a Hit-Filled Con­cert in Lon­don (1970)

James Tay­lor and Joni Mitchell, Live and Togeth­er (1970)

Watch Clas­sic Per­for­mances of “Both Sides Now” & “The Cir­cle Game” (1968)

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Comments (32)
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  • Rick says:

    I’m not sure if Tavis Smi­ley has his inter­view show on the net, but he has inter­viewed Joni twice in the last year or so. Won­der­ful jux­ta­po­si­tion if you can find it. Thanks for the research for this.

  • Rick says:

    Yeah, I cried.

  • Frederick Harrison says:

    I remem­ber this show but not these per­for­mances. Is it me or does “Urge For Going” sound a bit like Gor­don Light­foot — espe­cial­ly the open­ing which reminds me of “The Last Time I Saw Her Face”? As for the trio that per­forms “Get Togeth­er” (lat­er a mas­sive hit for the Young­bloods), is this Three­’s a Crowd (Don­na Warn­er, Brent Tit­comb, & Trevor Veitch, lat­er to include David Wif­f­en, Ken Koblun, and Richard Pat­ter­son)? They lat­er record­ed a ver­sion of “(Let’s) Get Togeth­er” on their sole album Christo­pher’s Movie Mati­nee, pro­duced by Mama Cass, and fea­tur­ing four songs by Bruce Cock­burn and one by Mur­ray McLauch­lan.
    Oscar Brand would lat­er record a series of albums for Audio Fideli­ty titled Bawdy Songs & Back­room Bal­lads, cul­mi­nat­ing in the album Brand X, in which he revealed that he had cen­sored his pre­vi­ous mate­r­i­al but was not going to do so with this album. The mate­r­i­al from that album is still sung by and fur­ther embell­ished by the Cana­di­an mil­i­tary, so I’m told. Teenage Head used to walk onstage to Brand’s ver­sion of “Sam Hall”.

  • Gregory Egan says:

    Re: the Fredrick Har­ri­son com­ment, I remem­ber Trevor Veitch, when he toured with Tom Rush as an excel­lent lead gui­tarist.
    I had not heard of his ear­li­er work. I’m anx­ious to look it up.

  • Jim Yates says:

    I saw a Let’s Sing Out! show with the tar­ries at McMas­ter’s Down­stairs John.
    I also saw Joni Ander­son with David Rea at the 1964 Mari­posa Folk Fes­ti­val in Maple Leaf Sta­di­um.
    It’s great to see these old clips, but dis­ap­point­ing to see the oth­er per­form­ers cut out of it.

  • Linda Deveaux says:

    Great clips. Would love to see a sim­i­lar video of the Chap­ins.

  • Robert berger says:

    …way back in ancient his­to­ry, I went to Alber­ta Col­lege of Art in Cal­gary. Joni Ander­son was
    a stu­dent in the Arts Divi­sion of the school at that time also. She used to give
    mini singing noon hour concerts.….We KNEW at that time that we
    we’re in the pres­ence of future greatness!!!…Wonderful spine tin­gling mem­o­ries
    to be trea­sured for cer­tain!!!!

  • Lois Bach says:

    I would love to see the Chapin broth­ers per­form on this show. Har­ry Chapin was one of my favorite singers. He died way too young. What a won­der­ful song­writer.

  • Stu Luckley says:

    Great footage of Joni. Would like to know who the trio were. (about 30 mins in)

  • Tom Moore says:

    Loved “The Urge for Going” lat­er sung by Portsmouth NH native Tom Rush. I also would love to see Har­ry Chapin and broth­ers sing at this time…

  • mike says:

    Wow… in the 60s and 70s, I appre­ci­at­ed Joni Mitchell from a dis­tance (not a great dis­tance, through one girl­friend in par­tic­u­lar (are you out there, Deb­bi?)); but I was more into the Grate­ful Dead. So you might imag­ine my eyes open­ing to see Joni in 1965 singing “Me and My Uncle” (at 12:08)– if ever there was an icon­ic rough cow­boy song, made even rougher by Bob Weir and the Dead some years lat­er… I’ll try to pay bet­ter atten­tion from now on.

  • Ron says:

    As usu­al the D as in Detroit is left out. She and Chuck worked the cof­fee hous­es. I saw them in 65 — 66…Chuck was the Lead, Joni was the heart stopper.Nothing short of a super nova of tal­ent! Not to demean­ing Chuck , but where is he now ?

  • Cynthia says:

    Joni,unbelievable PERFECTION!

    Every man in the place must have lust­ed for her. Every man & woman in the place must have lust­ed for her artistry!

  • Mark Sukoenig says:

    I keep lis­ten­ing to hear the Chap­ins, Dave Van Ronk, and Pat Sky. Why are they cut out ?

  • Su says:

    @ Fred­er­ick Har­ri­son: Brent Tit­combe says of the 3some at .31 min: “That’s Robin Ward of the ‘Allen Ward Trio’…As an aside..when 3’s a Crowd did the Sing Out Show, the Trav­ellers were on the same show. The man­do cel­lo play­er Sid Dol­gay flipped out over us and called Bernie Fiedler of the Riverboat…Bernie hired us sight unseen and that’s how we end­ed up liv­ing in TO.”

  • Jeff Kesselman says:

    The first set was a very young Har­ry Chapin with his broth­ers, I wish you had includ­ed it!

  • Kevy Harriss says:

    Glad to see the Joni Anderson/Mitchell record­ings. But is there any chance of see­ing the begin­ning of the first show? The Chapin Fam­i­ly had a cou­ple of well known singers includ­ing one of my favorites — Har­ry Chapin. Who also wrote his own songs.

  • Chandi says:

    WHAT A TREAT! Always a Joni Mitchell fan!!!

  • Ceejay Wilder says:

    A Group called We Five, pro­duced by The Kingston Trio had a record­ing of Let’s Get Togeth­er, that lat­er became the huge hit by The Young­bloods. Odd­ly, my ex was in a group in the 70’s called Red Wilder Blue that had a ver­sion as well.

  • Ceejay Wilder says:

    Here is the We Five ver­sion of Let’s Get Togeth­er.

  • Jon Schwartz says:

    Dave VAN Ronk

  • Richard Gagnon says:

    Actu­al­ly, Brand had begun his series of Bawdy Songs & Back­room Bal­lads a full decade ear­li­er than this… in 1955!

  • Ken Handel says:

    This is like a time machine. It’s odd see­ing a per­former you first saw per­form when you were 19. (It was at a con­cert for New York City’s Schae­fer Music Fes­ti­val in Cen­tral Park, in 1967, when she opened for Judy Collins.) In 1965, the year of the clip, I was 17 and grad­u­at­ed high school. See­ing Joni when she–and I–were so young is like look­ing through the wrong end of a tele­scope; it also reveals what an endur­ing tal­ent she is.

  • Barrett says:

    Urge for Going is a cou­ple years old­er the The Last Time I Saw Her…

  • Tom eh says:

    Does any­one know who the bass play­er was?

    Play this over a stereo via air­play, I can actu­al­ly hear what a bril­liant job he was doing.

  • Reb Short says:

    She’s so orna­men­tal!

  • Tim says:

    So hap­py to see Tom Rush’s name brought up! Anoth­er gift­ed folk song­writer and singer. I fear too few remem­ber him.

  • Rick says:

    Beau­ty, tal­ent, unbeat­able com­bi­na­tion in Joni that has endured through­out the decades.
    Here’s to Joni!

  • Pascal BComm 71 says:

    Lau­rent­ian U was hap­py to wel­come Joni.

  • allison says:

    “with the help of David Cros­by, her career got off the ground. Find more ear­ly Joni Mitchell per­for­mances in the sec­tion right down below.” and the help of Buffy Sainte-Marie…

    See them both speak­ing about this in

  • alison PRice says:

    yes, I thought gor­don did this song and have been look­ing for days, but haven’t found it. It reminds me of him a lot.

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