Judy Collins

  • Folk singer born Judith Collins in 1939 in Seattle Washington.
  • Collins’ father was a blind singer and radio DJ. He moved the family to Denver when she was 10, and she studied classical piano. In her teens, she learned to play the guitar, influenced by the music of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.
  • After high school, she began playing at folk clubs in Denver, then at the University of  Connecticut (where her husband taught), and in Greenwich Village New York.
  • She attracted the interest of Elektra Records, who signed her. Her first record was released in 1961 – A Maid of Constant Sorrow, which featured traditional folk songs.
  • Over the next 5 years, she released 4 more albums. They continued to feature folk songs, though with the album In My Life, she began to include orchestral arrangements to the songs. The album also included more of a pop sound, including songs by The Beatles and Donovan.
  • Her breakthrough album was in 1967 – Wildflowers. This album was her first that included songs that she wrote. The Joni Mitchell song Both Sides, Now reached #8 and the album peaked at #5 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The song won Collins a Grammy Award for Best Folk Performance.
  • She has released a total of 27 studio albums, 4 live albums, and 14 singles.
  • When I was a teenager, I remember her song Send In The Clowns, written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1973 Tony Award winning musical A Little Night Music.  Her voice was striking, and I bought Collins’ album Judith which included the song. Her version got her a nomination for a Grammy award, and the song itself won the Grammy for Song of the Year for Sondheim. The album cover of Judith featured a photo of Collins – prominently featured are her beautiful blue eyes.
  • Those blue eyes influenced Stephen Stills when he wrote the song Suite: Judy Blue Eyes in 1969. Stills dated Collins for 2 years. The song is about the break up of their relationship.
  • Collins sang 2 songs at Bill Clinton’s first inauguration – Amazing Grace and Chelsea Morning. Chelsea Morning was written by Joni Mitchell and Collins’ version was recorded and released in 1969. The Clinton’s have stated that they named their daughter Chelsea after hearing Collins’ song.
  • Her rendition of Amazing Grace was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress in 2017.
  • Here is a cool version of Send in the Clowns that she did with the Boston Pops in 1976. Enjoy it.

1 thought on “Judy Collins”

  1. Suite: Judy Blue Eyes….didn’t know that Stephen Stills dated and wrote that about her! The things you learn reading marks music mania!!!!!

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