LISTEN: The Night Jimi Hendrix Recorded Joni Mitchell

Thursday, July 29, 2021
CANADA - APRIL 16: Joni Mitchell at the riverboat. Positive poetry and imagery set to music. (Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Legendary things happen to legendary people. Case in point: the night back of March 19, 1968 when Joni Mitchell, set to perform at the Le Hibou Coffee House in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, was informed that none less than Jimi Hendrix had shown up to see her perform.

"They came and told me, 'Jimi Hendrix is here, and he's at the front door,'" Mitchell revealed to writer Cameron Crowe during a recent interview. "I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, 'My name is Jimi Hendrix. I'm on the same label as you. Reprise Records.' We were both signed about the same time. He said, 'I'd like to record your show. Do you mind?' I said, 'no, not at all.' There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box." 

As Mitchell began to perform, Hendrix dutifully began very actively taping the show: "The stage was only about a foot off the ground. He knelt at edge of the stage, with a microphone, at my feet," Mitchell recalled. "All during the show, he kept twisting knobs. He was engineering it, I don't know what he was controlling, volume? He was watching the needles or something, messing with knobs. He beautifully recorded this tape. Of course I played part of the show to him. He was right below me."

While that tape was tragically stolen not long after the show, more than 50 years later, it was discovered in a private collection that was donated to the Library and Archives Canada, and returned to Joni. All 22 songs Hendrix captured in stunningly pristine fashion that night are part of Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971). The 5-CD or 10-LP set will be released on October 29, 2021. Pre-order the set from to receive an exclusive, limited edition 7" x 7" art print featuring a never-before-seen illustration by Mitchell from the era.

Listen to "The Dawntreader" from the show below.