7 November 2012 2:21 PM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

Neil Young called her "sweet Joni from Saskatoon," but the best thing about birthday girl Joni Mitchell, who turns 69 today, is that her unmistakable chirp emoted everything from sweetness and naivete to weariness, staggering emotional intelligence, and a knack for conversational, but poetic wordplay that has gone unchallenged in the generations that've followed her. Among legendary singer/songwriters, she's a definitive legend, and as much sexist rock critics want to conflate her importance with her femaleness, anyone with a brain and ear can tell she's been a remarkably distinct artist in her own right. And if I'm being honest, I'd say her writing is more piercingly articulate than Bob Dylan's. Take that, Rolling Stone.

To celebrate her big day, let's wheel through 10 of her best clips and performances. I've included a few standards and a few rarer gems, so don't feel too angry that I've left out some greats like "A Case of You, »

- virtel

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