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September 6, 2022

The Album Cover for Joni Mitchell’s ‘Blue’ – The Way It Should Have Been!

Blue is the fourth studio album by Canadian singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell, released on June 22, 1971. Written and produced entirely by Mitchell, while it was recorded in 1971, the original cover photo was taken at the Troubadour, Los Angeles in 1968.

The album’s cover features a dark, blue-toned photograph of Mitchell singing into a microphone. The photo was taken by Tim Considine, who was a somewhat prominent child actor in the 1950s and is also a writer, automotive historian, and photographer. His photo captures the literal and figurative theme of the aptly-titled album, which is both a rumination on sadness as well as an exploration of complex expressions and emotions.

The other version of the album cover which came from the photographer’s own website, with the caption, “The album cover for Blue – the way it should have been.”

Whether the microphone missing from the version featured on the album cover was removed by Tim because he thought it looked better, or added by the label, and whether this was originally a color or black and white photo.

When asked about all this a couple of years ago, Tim replied, “It was indeed a black & white photograph originally, shot with an experimental instrument film rated at the then unheard of ASA (ISO) of 6000. And, yes, it had the microphone in it. The truth is, I hated the way it was rendered on the cover, an artistic decision by the art director, who processed it as a daguerreotype, thereby, in my opinion, heightening the contrast enough to remove all the softness and subtlety of the original image. So I made my own versions, both with and without mike for prints that are sold to collectors around the world. The version on this site is without the mike, but one with the mike included is requested just as often.”

In 1979 Mitchell reflected, “The Blue album, there’s hardly a dishonest note in the vocals. At that period of my life, I had no personal defenses. I felt like a cellophane wrapper on a pack of cigarettes. I felt like I had absolutely no secrets from the world and I couldn’t pretend in my life to be strong. Or to be happy. But the advantage of it in the music was that there were no defenses there either.”

Today, Blue is generally regarded by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time; the cohesion of Mitchell’s songwriting, compositions and voice are frequent areas of praise.

1 comment:

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