Steve Jobs is known around the world as the genius behind Apple and self-made billionaire – but his sensitive side has been revealed with a new revelation that he was moved to tears by the music of Joni Mitchell.
Jobs said that Mitchell’s song Little Green, about giving her daughter up for adoption, reminded him of his adoption and made him “cry every time I hear it”.
The son of a political immigrant from Syria, Jobs was adopted shortly after his birth in California in 1955. He died at the age of 56 in 2011 from pancreatic cancer.
Insights into the man behind the iPhone are gleaned in unearthed emails from Jobs to himself, which appear in a new book about the inventor called Make Something Wonderful: Steve Jobs, as he puts it.
In an e-mail he wrote about Little Green in 2003, Jobs wrote: “Maybe it’s because I’m adopted, but this song moves me like few others. Realizing what this song is about, I cry every time I hear it.”
Steve Jobs is known around the world as the genius behind Apple whose invention made him a billionaire – but his sensitive side is revealed in a new book written ‘in his own words’
Jobs was estranged from his biological father, Abdel Fattah John al-Jandali, throughout his life. The inventor was adopted shortly after his birth in 1955
“She wrote it when she was young, and it’s still one of the best of her many great songs.”
Mitchell wrote the song about putting her daughter, Kelly Dale Anderson, up for adoption in 1966 when she was a struggling 23-year-old singer.
The story did not become public until 1993, by which time Mitchell had become one of the most successful singer-songwriters of all time.
Her daughter claimed that she did not know she was adopted until 1997, when she was in her late twenties.
Meanwhile, Jobs had been estranged from his biological father, Abdel Fattah “John” Jandali, his entire life.
He referred to his biological parents as “my sperm and egg bank” and expressed to his biographer that he had “no interest” in meeting his biological father.
The couple had an extramarital affair and gave in to it before marrying and having another child, a daughter, Mona Simpson (born Jandali), who became a successful writer.
It is later discovered that the inventor frequents a Silicon Valley restaurant run by Jandali without the knowledge of either man.
Jobs’ relationship with his biological mother, Joanne Schieble, was said to be cordial, as the pair reached out after his adoptive mother died in 1986.
A recent revelation about Jobs’ personal life gives insight into his feelings about being adopted, as well as his respect for fellow creatives and his love of music.
The new book about his life begins with a quote from an interview with Jobs in 2007: “One of the ways I think people express their appreciation for the rest of humanity is by making something cool and putting it out there.”
Insights into the inventor are given in unearthed emails from Jobs to himself, which appear in a new book, Make Something Great: Steve Jobs in His Own Words
It also reveals that the music lover compiled and sent himself his own “Celebrity Playlist” – which at the time was a feature on the recently launched iTunes.
The Apple founder’s playlist, which unlike other celebrities’ picks is never uploaded, features artists including Bob Dylan and Cat Stevens.
Jobs’ emotional reaction to music wasn’t limited to Mitchell’s song, with another note in the book revealing his love for Jackson Browne’s “For A Dancer,” which the American musician wrote about a friend who died in a fire.
Jobs wrote: “I first heard this on my car radio while driving on Interstate 280, and I started crying.”
The revelations are made in the book, published yesterday by the Steve Jobs Archive, an organization founded last year by friends and family of Jobs including his wife, Lauren Powell Jobs.
The free digital book of Apple executives’ emails, letters, interview excerpts, and photos was designed by Sir Jony Ive, Apple’s former British head of design, and his creative agency LoveFrom.
Another startling revelation in the collection was that the Apple chief kept former US President Bill Clinton waiting on the phone while working for the production company Pixar, which he later sold to Disney.
A handwritten note on Pixarheaded paper stated: “Steve, President Clinton stick around.”