Judy Collins

One of the most enduring figures from the early days of the 1960s American folk music revolution, Judy Collins went on to have extensive crossover success, notably with the 1976 hit single 'Send in the Clowns' - a Grammy Song of the Year - written by Stephen Sondheim. The daughter of a singer and DJ, she was born in Seattle, Washington, spent some of her formative years in Denver, Colorado and studied classical piano and also played ragtime and jazz, before falling in love with folk music after hearing Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. She then took up guitar and, having graduated from school in Denver, she began her career as a folk singer, gravitating to the centre of the folk music community in Greenwich Village, New York. Playing regularly at clubs like Gerdes Folk City, she got a deal with Elektra Records and, singing mostly traditional songs, released her first album 'Maid of Constant Sorrow' in 1961. She became an important song interpreter, helping to popularise the songwriting of Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton and Leonard Cohen. In time she expanded her approach to encompass broader genres of music, covering music from The Beatles to Kurt Weill and Jacques Brel; she also performed her own compositions. Her biggest successes came during the 1970s with the hymn 'Amazing Grace' and the Broadway musical song 'Send in the Clowns' and caused a bit of a stir in 1979 when she posed naked for the sleeve of her album 'Hard Times for Lovers'. She later turned to writing books after suffering the tragedy of losing her son Clark in 1992. She performed at President Clinton's inauguration in 1993, continuing to play concerts into the 2000s. In 2008 artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Rufus Wainwright, Chrissie Hynde and Joan Baez covered Collins' songs on a tribute album. In recent years, her albums include 'Strangers Again' (2015), 'Silver Skies Blue' (2016) with Ari Hest, 'A Love Letter to Sondheim' (2017) and 'Everybody Knows' (2017) with Stephen Stills. In 2019 she released 'Winter Stories' which features a cover of the song 'Northwest Passage' by Stan Rogers.

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