World Cafe Looks Back: '70s Singer-Songwriters

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46 min 22 sec
 
Joni Mitchell strums her guitar outside the Revolution club in London, circa 1968. i i

Joni Mitchell strums her guitar outside the Revolution club in London, circa 1968.

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itoggle caption Central Press/Getty Images
Joni Mitchell strums her guitar outside the Revolution club in London, circa 1968.

Joni Mitchell strums her guitar outside the Revolution club in London, circa 1968.

Central Press/Getty Images

Playlist

  • Randy Newman, "A Piece of the Pie" (Harps and Angels)
  • Jackson Browne, "Just Say Yeah" (Time The Conqueror)
  • Carole King, "Oh No Not My Baby" (Love Makes The World)
  • James Taylor, "Suzanne"
  • James Taylor, "Secret O' Life"
  • Joni Mitchell, "Coyote" (Hejira)
  • Joni Mitchell, "Turbulent Indigo" (Turbulent Indigo)

Today's episode of World Cafe revisits the singer-songwriter movement of the 1970s, chronicling some of the decade's most masterful and indelible artists.

In a 2008 interview, the contemplative and politically minded Jackson Browne discusses his love songs, his reaction to the use of "Running on Empty" in a John McCain campaign ad and his beliefs surrounding the battle between nuclear and alternative power sources.

Chart-topping icon Carole King wrote timeless hits like "I Feel the Earth Move" and "It's Too Late," in the process selling tens of millions of records. In this 2002 interview, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee describes her songwriting process and the joy of collaboration.

Known for his warm voice and inspiring lyrics, James Taylor is a five-time Grammy winner whose Greatest Hits has sold more than 12 million copies. Taylor visited World Cafe in 2009 to recount his major influences, his experience covering other artists' music (such as Carole King's "You've Got a Friend") and the inspiration for his 1976 song "Secret O' Life."

Prolific and complex, Joni Mitchell is widely hailed as one of the greatest songwriters of all time. In 1994, she'd just released Turbulent Indigo, and stopped by World Cafe to reveal how her battle with polio has affected her as a performer. She also discussed her friendship with the legendary jazz bassist Jaco Pastorius, who joined her on her classic 1976 album Hejira.

This segment originally aired on October 21, 2011.

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