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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music

3.43  ·  Rating Details ·  756 Ratings  ·  139 Reviews
A vivid, highly evocative memoir of one of the reigning icons of folk music, highlighting the decade of the ’60s, when hits like “Both Sides Now” catapulted her to international fame.
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is the deeply personal, honest, and revealing memoir of folk legend and relentlessly creative spirit Judy Collins. In it, she talks about her alcoholism, her lasting lov
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2011)
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Bob Mustin
Nov 26, 2011 Bob Mustin rated it really liked it
This book begins and ends with Stephen Stills, one of Collins' lovers during the `sixties; certainly a tryst that remains most vivid in her mind. And in between she tells us of her youth in Colorado, her family, including her talented, blind father, and her attraction to folk music. She chronicles her ailments: polio, and a growing depression that resulted in an early attempt at suicide.

But mostly the book is about her life within the music business of the `sixties and `seventies, her evolution
Dec 18, 2011 Julie rated it liked it
The opening notes are unmistakable. The sweet chords in E pour forth from Stephen Stills's guitar, sounding like early morning California sunshine feels: warm and flirtatious, dancing on an ocean breeze as it kisses you awake. It has always been one of my favorite songs. It never fails to transport me to a time I never knew, a place that now fades into American mythology: California, late 1960's. It is "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes", first performed by Crosby, Stills and Nash on August 18, 1969 at Yasg ...more
Sylvia Stocker
Feb 20, 2012 Sylvia Stocker rated it it was ok
When I was a kid I loved Judy Collins... probably I still would today, but I haven't listened to her music in a while. I credit my own ability to sing to listening to Collins and singing along with her records. I learned a lot that way.

This book is mostly a tour of who she met when, where she performed, what drugs people were using and who slept with whom, including her own long list of lovers. That part really didn't interest me. Actually it made me feel grateful, yet again, that I was only on
Jenny Brown
Apr 12, 2012 Jenny Brown rated it liked it
Like so many others Judy Collins' music became the soundtrack to important moments in my young life. Her taste was superb and she introduced me to the work of other talented songwriters whose songs I performed years later during my own singing and songwriting career.

I honored her honesty in describing her life, knowing that there would be small-minded people who would read her story and judge, without having any clue what it was like to live and perform back in those days.

I remember how incredi
Bruce Hatton
Feb 09, 2016 Bruce Hatton rated it really liked it
Shelves: autobiography
In the first chapter there is an account of a Paul Williams gig at the Troubador in April 1968 where Judy Collins is sharing a table with Janis Joplin. Although the two women had only met once before and their musical styles and public personae could hardly be more different, they seemed to instinctively bond that night. At one stage Janis leans over and confides to Judy “One of us in going to make it. And it's not going to be me.” Chillingly prophetic. Of course, Janis only “made it” for anothe ...more
Nov 19, 2011 Mandy rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
First I would like to say that this was a book I won via the Goodreads First Reads program - thank you to all involved.

I agree with several other reviewers who seemed to feel, at times, like I was reading a list of songs, songwriters and singers.

This is an honest account of a life spent, as most of us do, making decisions, mistakes and living the highs and lows of life. The book is written in an easy style, the reader will feel joy and sadness through out the book.

I suspect you will get a lot ou
Oct 16, 2015 Margo rated it liked it
There was a time when I listened to Judy Collins' records incessantly. Back before reality TV, YouTube and Wikipedia, my favorite artists' lives and loves and addictions were a mystery to me. I had no idea that the girl with the haunting voice was struggling with alcoholism and other problems. I enjoyed this chronicle of the folk era and the 60s & 70s. I still remember the first time I heard Both Sides Now and Suite Judy Blue Eyes.
Jan "don't blame me, I also voted for Hillary"
Eloquent autobiography by the great folk singer Judy Collins. What was so enjoyable about this book was being ale to use my iPhone to look up and listen to the array of folk, blues, jazz, and rock musicians with whom Judy sang with. Many of them were entirely unknown to me, like Barbara Dane. I have created a playlist that includes these singers, as well as some Judy songs I didn't own.

What was heart breaking was to me were the demons that haunted Judy for most of her young life; the main one b
Dec 30, 2011 Eliza rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
1/3/12: I feel like Judy Collins' music is in my bones; her songs were the backdrop to my youth, and I can still sing every word of some of her weirdest pieces (Marat/Sade, anyone?). Her amazing voice and her poignant lyrics have endured for me, too; about three years ago, Mike and I heard her sing at the Carlyle in New York, and she hadn't sung but one line before I was crying--which I continued to do throughout her entire set. (Mike says I was sobbing audibly; I like to think I was a bit quiet ...more
Sally Wessely
Sep 12, 2014 Sally Wessely rated it really liked it
I have always been fascinated by Judy Collins. She is a Colorado girl. When she broke on the music scene in my youth, it was during the heyday of folk music, and I loved folk music. While reading the book, sometimes, I got bogged down with the countless stories about the many musicians that were a part of her life and career. I found myself googling many of those with whom she worked. I then would watch them on YouTube. I even listened to her songs on YouTube while I read the book. I guess you c ...more
May 10, 2012 David rated it really liked it
A birthday gift from my wife. I follow Judy Collins on Facebook. Her autobiography has been on my personal to-read list for months. I found the book on the shelf at a high-priced local bookstore in Taos, New Mexico in April, showed it to my wife, and she remembered. She searched two Barnes and Nobles bookstores in Skokie, IL the last week of April; not in stock. Finally, she ordered it on

Read the first few pages, and then skip to the Acknowledgements near the back of the book. A frien
Jan C
Mar 28, 2016 Jan C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, 2016
Grew up listening to Judy Collins, among others. Maybe one of the reasons I took up guitar as a youth. But, then, when I was a youth everyone took up guitar. Probably dreaming of lives as musicians like Judy Collins, Dylan, Phil Ochs or, finally, the Beatles.

She tells of her many loves, especially Stephen Stills, Stacy Keach, and finally her husband, Louis. Her many years in psychiatry, mostly with what I thought were closer analysts who were mainly interested in separating her from her money. T
Lucille DeRogatis
Nov 04, 2015 Lucille DeRogatis rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon, autobiography
I learned a lot about the dark side of Judy Collins- the alcoholism, drugs, one night stands, etc. Some of the stuff I already knew, like her love affair with Stephen Stills and Suite Judy Blue eyes. I enjoyed reading about her early days in the Village, hanging out with Dylan, Pete Seeger, and all the other young folks trying to become Dylan and Pete Seeger. Also, her appearances at the Newport Folk Festival. I attended the festival back in the mid to late sixties and can attest to the vibe tha ...more
Jan 12, 2013 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I know she's written a couple biographies, but this one focuses on the music in her life. It was fascinating to hear how the albums came together, albums I have memorized listening to them so many times even though most of my favorites were all recorded before I was born. It's amazing she recorded many of them snockered...and it's amazing how--um, free she was with her favours.

It was fantastic to hear her read it & the songs included at the end made me cry after hearing the stories behi
Francie J
Nov 24, 2015 Francie J rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

That's the book in a nutshell: she reveals herself, and with great self-awareness. This book took me longer to read than almost any other; I had to stop and Google songs and people -- some long forgotten and some never known. I'm 67, so it brought back so many moments of my life. I honestly think that even if you have absolutely no idea who Judy Collins is, you will enjoy meeting her, and seeing how a generation (well, 1/2 -- there was the 'other side') lived and made the choices they did.
Aug 14, 2012 Elizabeth rated it liked it
A certain lack of balance kept me from loving this one. I wish Judy Collins had spent less time on Stephen Stills. I think her husband of 30 years got about two paragraphs while Stills is featured throughout, perhaps a decision to please fans. Notations like "Around this time I became bulimic and it took me 10 years to overcome that" along with descriptions throughout of her alcoholic life, drinks of choice, etc. The best parts of the book by far were her impressions of Dylan, Baez, and other gr ...more
Nov 18, 2011 Paulah rated it it was ok
Liked the first few chapters, but it's getting boring going from club to club, concert to concert. I'm amazed at how easy it was for her to give up her baby to go on the road. I'll get back to this book again, eventually, but have walked away for more compelling reads.

Finally finished it and all I can say is, I liked her better when I knew less about her. I applaud her honesty and courage (finally!) when facing her demons, but she's not someone I would choose to work with or invite to my book c
Tabitha Vohn
Mar 31, 2016 Tabitha Vohn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: being-nosy
Heartbreaking and Inspirational.

I love Judy Collins music. Seriously, I have the vinyls, and they soothe my soul. What a surprise them to discover she's lived such a turbulent life, but ultimately, a triumphant one.

As with all memoirs from this time period, I enjoy snooping into the lives of these iconic musicians who revolutionized the industry and the country. Collins recollects it with whimsical beauty and sincerity.

Well worth the read!
Kurt Reighley
Oct 09, 2011 Kurt Reighley rated it liked it
I read an advance of this in preparation for an interview with Ms. Collins. I've not read her other autobiographies and memoirs, so I'm not sure how this one compares (or if there is significant overlap), but as a mouth-breathing music geek I appreciated how much context she created, discussing the contributions and music of her many, many peers (from Phil Ochs to the Staple Singers) throughout this quick and piquant read.
Feb 21, 2013 Herzog rated it it was ok
Shelves: music
Hmm, another alcoholic music star memoir. Vaguely interesting as a history of the 60's though how she can possibly recall all she does after all the booze she consumed is questionable. I love her singing, the book? Not so much.
Feb 07, 2012 Sunday rated it did not like it
couldn't finish it. poorly written. it could be so interesting and instead it was boring and blah-blah-blah
Jul 03, 2012 Maria rated it did not like it
This was poorly organized, more chronological than memoir, with too much information and unimportant details crammed in.
Jan 29, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club-book
She writes songs better than a novel, but she lead an interesting life.

I love that it was easier for her to mention that she had NOT slept with someone than include all of her lovers.
Jan 23, 2017 Vivian rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
As a baby boomer I enjoyed reading about the music scene of the 60's, taking a walk down memory lane. I enjoyed hearing about the musicians, the writers, and so many behind-the-scenes people that made the music happen. I found myself pulling up youtube clips of the music and thinking that maybe I'd like to finally make a playlist, for me.

Judy gives a glimpse into her family life-- her celebrity father who lost his sight at an early age growing up in rural Idaho, her marriages and romances, her s
Mar 22, 2017 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
A touching autobiography of a great career in a life curiously easy and, at the same time, fraught with struggles. As with many autobiographies, the first half is rather slow and the second half a bit rushed. But, overall, engaging. A plus in the Audible edition are many of her most autobiographical songs.
Paul Baker
May 04, 2012 Paul Baker rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This autobiography of Judy Collins is moderately well-written. I like the introduction of each chapter with lyrics from songs that Judy Collins has recorded.

It is almost completely centered around her early life up through about 1978. In some ways, this shouldn't be too surprising. First, that time encompassed the 1950s and 1960s, which was a very exciting period for music. Second, the most interesting things usually happen to young people, who are more prone to taking risks and cultivating addi
Rhonda Keith
This book is a collage of the best and worst of the 60s and 70s zeitgeist. The best was the music. Judy Collins was among the best singers and songwriters, and she knew the A-list folkies. Some songs are included on the audio CD version of the book. The music holds up decades later; what passes for thinking does not.

Collins, a hard-core alcoholic, spent years under the guidance of a psychotherapy cult in New York called the Sullivanians. They taught that monogamy was to be spurned, and children
Cook Memorial Public Library
I’m a doctor’s office People Magazine reader. I don’t buy it or go out of my way to read it but I invariably pick it up when I’m waiting for an appointment. So I’ve surprised myself lately to find that I’m picking up and devouring music celebrity memoirs. And if it’s an audiobook, even better!

A few months ago, I listened to Judy Collins reading her memoir Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music. I’ve always been a fan of Collins and her music. She is totally candid about her personal struggles, h
Jan 06, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it
I was unsurprised by the author's florid prose, having attempted to read a work of fiction she'd published several years ago, but it annoyed me nonetheless. That said, this book would likely fascinate anyone with any interest in the folk music scene of the 1960s. I was weaned on the music of Judy Collins, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul and Mary, so I was very interested in reading about the places in which Collins performed, the people whom she met and with whom she worked, and how she chose the musi ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: the story of my life in music, by Judy Collins, Narrated by Judy Collins, Produced by Random House audio, Downloaded from

A vivid, highly evocative memoir of one of the reigning icons of folk music, highlighting the decade of the '60s, when hits like "Both Sides Now" catapulted
her to international fame. Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is the deeply personal, honest, and revealing memoir of folk legend and relentlessly creative spirit Judy
Collins. In it, she talks about her
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Judith Marjorie Collins is an American folk and standards singer and songwriter, known for the stunning purity of her soprano; for her eclectic tastes in the material she records (which has included folk, showtunes, pop, and rock and roll); and for her social activism.
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