I’ve been super-cognizant of the wave of interest in Joni Mitchell since her 2015 brain aneurysm. Too many music lovers took her for granted before that, because, you know, it always seems to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone to the hospital emergency room. Now, more listeners are aware of the genius of her work, on “Blue,” which recently got a lot of praise in celebration of its 50th anniversary, and on her other 1970s albums.
I am delighted to say that Mitchell, who has been more visible of late, has been named one of this year’s lifetime achievement award recipients from the Kennedy Center. The awards are meant to celebrate artists who’ve changed American culture, as opposed to flavor-of-the-month talents. “It’s a long way from Saskatoon,” Mitchell responded in a statement.
Oh, OK, this is a TV column, so maybe I should have started the list of winners with Lorne Michaels, the creator of “Saturday Night Live,” the discoverer of countless major comedy figures over the decades, and the executive producer of shows ranging from “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night” to “30 Rock” and “Portlandia.”
The ceremony, which takes place on Dec. 5 (and will be broadcast on CBS shortly after that), will also pay tribute to Bette Midler, Motown founder Berry Gordy, and opera star Justino Diaz.