1 of Joni Mitchell's Songs Inspired k.d. lang's 'Constant Craving'

Joni Mitchell’s songs are so influential that one of them inspired k.d. lang’s hit “Constant Craving.” In addition, lang drew inspiration from a very specific spiritual concept while writing the song. Here’s a look at how the world responded to “Constant Craving” and the Mitchell album that inspired it.

1 aspect of this Joni Mitchell song inspired k.d. lang to write ‘Constant Craving’

During an interview with The Guardian, lang discussed the creation of “Constant Craving.” “We’d hired a little place in Vancouver to write songs,” she recalled. “I’d been listening to ‘Black Crow’ by Joni Mitchell and said to Ben [Mink], my songwriting partner: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could do a song with similar, flowing open chords?’ I sat down with a little Casio keyboard and the music came quickly, but I struggled to write lyrics for months. Then one day I just sat at the window with a typewriter and the phrase ‘constant craving’ came into my head. Once I had that, the lyrics flowed.”

How k.d. lang’s ‘Constant Craving’ performed compared to Joni Mitchell’s ‘Black Crow’

lang thought that “Constant Craving” would become a big deal. Fittingly, “Constant Craving” became lang’s biggest single in the United States, reaching No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, the song’s parent album, Ingenue, reached No. 18 on the Billboard 200. It stayed on the chart for 90 weeks. Ingenue is lang’s second highest-charting album behind 2008’s Watershed, which reached No. 8 on the chart.

Lang told The Guardian “Constant Craving” became part of who she is. The track also helped lang gain recognition outside of the pop charts. She credited the song with giving her the opportunities to appear in major magazines, specifically The Advocate and Vanity Fair. “Constant Craving” received critical acclaim as well, earning Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, both of which it lost to Bette Midler’s “Wings Beneath My Wings.”

“Black Crow” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100 because it wasn’t released as a single. However, the song’s parent album, Hejira, was a commercial success, reaching No. 13 on the Billboard 200. The album stayed on the chart for 18 weeks — a significantly shorter amount of time than Ingenue.

k.d. lang on the difference between herself and Joni Mitchell

While Ingenue outperformed Hejira, lang still saw herself as a lesser artist than Mitchell. “I’ll never be a Joni Mitchell,” she told The New York Times in 2018. “So it’s this kind of relinquishing, this kind of acquiescence. I guess I’m really giving in to the fact that I am who I am. I’m too young to be a legend, and too old to be pertinent.” Despite her comments, “Constant Craving” is one of the most famous 1990s rock songs by a female artist.

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