Judy Garland wrings our hearts with her wistful "Over the Rainbow;" Madonna inspires a dancing frenzy with "Everybody;" Ethel Merman blows us away with her brassy "Everything's Coming Up Roses;" Bette Midler makes us laugh with her schlocky "Chapel of Love;" and Joan Baez looks back on an era of social protest with her hauntingly beautiful "Diamonds and Rust." In this richly illustrated collection of biographies, music critic Roxane Orgill recreates those magic moments and paints vivid word pictures of the lives of 10 women vocalists who span the century, from Sophie Tucker, Last of the Red Hot Mamas, to country singer Lucinda Williams. "This book tells the stories of ten women who went about their own business, regardless of what other people said or did. These women took charge of their lives and their singing careers," Orgill declares. Each artist epitomizes her decade, often by resisting the social currents of the time. They come from 10 different genres of popular music and entertainment--cabaret, vaudeville, movie musicals, Broadway shows, music videos, country, rock, blues, folk, and jazz--and the author characterizes those musical styles and sets them in historical perspective, as the great blues singers Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith are shown against a backdrop of racial injustice, and Anita O'Day's intellectual jazz improvisations are explained in the context of the Beat era. Adding to the wealth of information are sidebars on the development of electronic media, intriguing glimpses into the public wardrobe of each singer, and a discography for some great listening. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell
From Publishers Weekly
Ten Girl Singers Who Shaped a Century by Roxane Orgill selects one female singer per decade to characterize a musical era, beginning in vaudeville in the 1900s with Sophie Tucker and closing in the 1990s with Lucinda Williams. The volume includes such luminaries as Ma Rainey, Judy Garland, Joan Baez, Bette Midler and Madonna. Some of the author's choices may encourage lively debate among musicians ("What Anita did with her little voice was more interesting to me than what Sarah did with her magnificent one," writes Orgill of Anita O'Day and her peer, Sarah Vaughan), as she handily describes the progression of music and its different faces. "What's N ew?" and "What [she] wore" boxes put each singer's music and fashion in context.
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