Judy Collins In-depth Biography
Judy Collins} was one of the major interpretive folksingers of the '60s. A child prodigy at classical piano, she turned to folk music at the age of 15 and released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow}, in 1961 when she was 22. That album and its follow-up, The Golden Apples of the Sun}, consisted of traditional folk material, with Collins}'s pure, sweet soprano accompanied by her acoustic guitar playing. By the time of Judy Collins #3}, she had begun to turn to contemporary material and to add other musicians. (Jim, later Roger, McGuinn} tried out his first arrangements of "The Bells of Rhymney" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" on this album, before using them with The Byrds}.)
Collins's musical horizons were expanded further by 1966 and the release of In My Life}, which added theater music to her repertoire and introduced her audience to the writing of Leonard Cohen}; it was one of her six albums to go gold. Her first gold-seller, however, was 1967's Wildflowers}, which contained her hit version of "Both Sides Now" by the then-little-known songwriter Joni Mitchell}.
By the '70s, Collins} had come to be identified as much as an art song singer as a folksinger and had also begun to make a mark with her original compositions. Her best-known performances cover a wide stylistic range: the traditional gospel song "Amazing Grace," the Stephen Sondheim} Broadway ballad "Send in the Clowns," and such songs of her own as "My Father" and "Born to the Breed." Collins} recorded less frequently after the end of her 23-year association with Elektra Records in 1984, though she made two albums for Gold Castle. In 1990, she signed to Columbia Records and released Fires of Eden}, her 23rd album. A move to Geffen preceded the 1993 release of Judy Sings Dylan...Just Like a Woman}; Shameless} followed on Atlantic in 1994. Six years later, Collins released the Christmas album All on a Wintry Night}. ~ William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide