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Sweet Judy Blue Eyes: My Life in Music

3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  487 ratings  ·  107 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 love
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 18th 2011 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2011)
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Bob Mustin
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
Sylvia Stocker
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
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
Jenny Brown
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
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
Sally Wessely
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
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
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
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
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
Kurt B.
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.
Joan Stewart
We can thank Judy for her beautiful music, but sorry, I just can’t thank her for yet another memoir, "Sweet Judy Blue Eyes" - which could have been named "Judy Behaving Badly." Did we really need another one? I found myself comparing this memoir to Linda Ronstadt’s "Simple Dreams," and wishing that Judy Collins had a bit of Linda’s class and restraint.

Despite Judy’s compelling portrait of the era, I really didn’t want to hear so much about her alcohol-soaked bad behavior, how she slept around o
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.
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.
This was poorly organized, more chronological than memoir, with too much information and unimportant details crammed in.
couldn't finish it. poorly written. it could be so interesting and instead it was boring and blah-blah-blah
I've always liked Judy Collins and her music. In this well-written and very readable book, I learned more about the artist and the history behind some of her songs. Did you know Leonard Cohen was the one who first suggested she become a song-writer? I'm so glad he did, and she says she is too.

I remember reading Carol King's book, and being annoyed by the name-dropping. Judy Collins does a lot of name-dropping too, but for some reason, it doesn't annoy me. I'm not sure why.

If you're interested in
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
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
I've been a casual fan of Judy Collins since about 1968 Seems like whether or not I like her depends on the particular song of hers I'm hearing at the time. her hits were great: Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, and Ian Tyson's Someday Soon, especially. The old ballads that made up so much of her early albums and a lot of the later stuff didn't do much for me. But as the person who inspired some great music from Stephen Stills, I always fund her interesting.

This autobiography was interesting. She
Paul Baker
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
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
Daniel Cox

Sweet Judy Blue Eyes is a memoir of Judy Collins' musical career, focusing mainly on the 60's and 70's. It is a rich story and brought back memories of all the great music from that era. In fact, I found myself wandering through YouTube watching videos of performances from that time. While the book could get a bit name-droppy at times, it was fun to read how her career and music developed in parallel and intertwined with notables such as Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and countless others.
I began this, thinking it would be a decent musical memoir shedding light, for me, on the American folk music scene.

It was this and so much more.
It was very insightful as she spoke to you in an intimate manner.
....nothing was tawdry...the honesty was compelling.
I had to read on.

You meet many who touched her in a personal and/or creative way
She spares nothing in the chronicle of her walk with alcoholism.

"It provided a study array of amazing musical talent against the backdrop of one of the m
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Kelly Knapp
For those of us who lived through the 60s, this book is a resounding reminder of the wonders and horrors of that era. Spoken in a clear and honest voice, Judy Collins’ memoir takes the reader into the depths of her alcoholism and even deeper into the party scene of the artistic community during one of our most tumultuous times. The reader can hear, almost physically hear her as she describes her own life and feelings. She is brutal with herself, in ways few memoir writers are.

That being said, I
Rhonda Keith  Stephens
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
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
This was honestly a very disappointing read, and a letdown for me. I almost wish I hadn't finished it. It was not the book I thought it would be. There were not enough explanations given to make me feel any compassion or hope to understand her better.
The book wasn't as much about Ms. Collins, understanding her or the decisions she made, as it was about name-dropping of the celebs and her party buddies. It actually seemed downright gossipy to me, and I despise gossip. It was a trudging, draggy re
Deborah Olesh
For a fan of Judy Collins then and now, for a fan of all things folk in the 60's, this is a great read. Her name dropping of the mucic scene of the time brings back many memories. Her evolving musical choices are also interesting as she evolved into the eclictic singer that she still is today. Judy opens a window for a view of her life as a performing artist. It is not often very pretty. Her strength is impressive, as she managed to portray an image of the girl with flowers on her hair while the ...more
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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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