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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music Hardcover – October 18, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Archetype (October 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307717348
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307717344
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #642,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“…a fascinating and even harrowing musical and personal reflection.” --Kirkus

“Collin’s improbable and utterly charming tale of assuming iconic status as a popular music star from the early 1960’s onward also proves a tremendously valuable chronicle of the early folk music scene…[A] forthright, radiant work.” –Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)

About the Author

JUDY COLLINS has recorded more than forty albums over her illustrious career. With several top-ten hits, Grammy nominations, and gold- and platinum-selling albums to her credit, she has also written several books and has her own music label, Wildflower Records.

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Customer Reviews

I found the book riveting and read through it quickly.
Grandma Barbara
A Judy Collins book signing event is truly the most intimate evening of music and story telling, as she sings while drawing us into her life and times.
Evelyn T. Campbell
Very interesting recollections and insights to her life experiences.
Jane Ingram

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By wogan TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
`Sweet Judy Blue Eyes' begins with a candid and lyrical introduction/prelude. She leads us into her life and music. The only thing missing is a soundtrack for all the songs that flow through her days. She begins with 1968 and `Both Sides Now' and her journey to California to make her 8th album, where she meets Stephen Stills. The events and those she encounters are all described. It is a trip of remembrance for her and those of us that lived through those times... the music that filled our lives and surrounded all the events. It can also be a lesson for those younger who missed it all.

Judy is honest and forthcoming about herself and her encounters. She describes a meeting with Janis Joplin and how she was as close to the edge as Janis was. She regresses to 1954 to tell us of her upbringing, her family and her blind father, who fought his own demons of alcohol addiction - how the sounds of `The Gypsy Rover' changed her life. She is brutally honest; in the account of her life, relating her migraines and depressions, her suicide attempt when she was very young, her relationship with her father and mother, her loves, her problems with alcohol and the suicide of her son. What is confirmed is how music changes lives, hers and ours, despite troubles and sorrows, joys and loves. The story ends with the gift of her final love, Louis Nelson.

What comes through is the story of a much adored survivor and the music of her life and all of us who had a love affair with those sounds. This is a book for lovers of folk, of music, of honest biographies, but most of all Judy Collins herself.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Corbin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
First, there are those riveting blue eyes on the cover, surely as famous as those of Paul Newman. The photograph is by Francesco Scavullo and similar to one that appeared on the album "Judith." Then the title SWEET JUDY BLUE EYES, a play on the words of the song Stephen Stills wrote for her, draws you in; and you are by that time taking the book to the counter to purchase. For the next several hours you are reminded of all the things you have always loved about this great performer, her superb talent, her sense of style, her grace, her commitment to civil rights, peace and diversity. But there are surprises. Judy Collins is totally candid about her struggle for many years with alcoholism and other very personal aspects of her life including several affairs-- she names names-- before she met Louis Nelson, her partner now of over thirty-three years, and got sober.

What is so refreshing about this book is that Ms. Collins, even when she is being so brutally honest about her own shortcomings, is always gentle with most of the many people she has known in her long career spanning over fifty years. On Joan Baez, that other great female folk singer and her contemporary: "I never felt that competitiveness was helpful or warranted. . . But if she was Ceres. . . I was Diana. . . And the forest is a big, thriving place, chock-full of gods and goddesses." While she does not understand what happened to her friendship with Joni Mitchell, who of course wrote "Both Sides Now," one of Ms. Collins' biggest hits, she nevertheless, "can say thank you. She [Mitchell] gave me a beautiful song, and sometimes that is all one can expect--or, should I say, more than anyone has any right to expect." Bob Dylan, after his early success, "Sometimes. . .
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Book Lover on October 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My responses to this book have been as contradictory and tangled as the image of the author that emerges from it. I have long been a huge fan of the music of Judy Collins, both her own songs and those she has chosen to make her own, and have read her two previous memoirs, Trust Your Heart and Singing Lessons. Singing Lessons remains my favorite, because it...well, sings, and the voice is congruent with all of her songs that I love.

About halfway into Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, I was somewhat bored and annoyed, feeling it was largely a retread of ground well-covered in the first two books, but somehow had lost their heart in an over-abundance of detail. I could not hear her voice. But by book's end I'd become more appreciative of the detail, because as they say, that's where the devil resides. It is by the piling up of these details that the darkness and weight of Collins' demons are truly felt. And with that, the consistent clarity, light, and transcendent quality of "a Judy Collins song" becomes all the more remarkable.

If anything, the book well illustrates the contradictions and complexities residing in us all, the angels and demons, darkness and light. Most people would probably prefer to not expose their darker side to public scrutiny, but maybe that willingness is one of the qualities that distinguishes a true artist.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Jefferson TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Hardcover-3 page Prelude, 325 pages of text, plus Acknowledgments. There's a 10 page Discography between the years 1961 through 2010. There's 16 pages of glossy b& w photographs in two sections of the book, along with a number of other b&w photos on regular paper stock throughout the book. This book hovers between 3 and 4 "stars", explained later.

"When we sing, our hearts can lift and fly, over the troubled waters and over the years."
"After all these years, I still believe that music can change the world, and as long as there's music, the dreams will never die."
These two quotes-one from the books beginning, and the other from the very end-neatly sum up Judy Collins' life, both in and out of music. The feelings and beliefs she writes about in these two sentences run all through her memoir. This book is no academic look at Collins' life and music. It's Collins explaining her life as she sees it, so it's not objective. It's Collins' thoughts and impressions, mixed with fact. If you approach the book knowing that, you won't be disappointed.

This memoir of Collins' life and music is a fairly revealing look at both Collins and the many people and events from the times she describes as both "thrilling and terrifying". It's about the folk movement and the many performers who crossed her path. It's about an era that began to focus and define itself through music. Throughout the book Collins explores in some detail many areas of her life, and the rumors that have surrounded her for years.

After an opening chapter about her meeting Stephen Stills and falling in love with him, and talking about the songs Stills wrote for/about her, the book begins in the 1950's, where Collins love of music began.
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