Judy Collins on boosting Leonard Cohen, the pivotal ’60s and her ties to Canada’s finest


From Vancouver Sun:

Judy Collins may have just turned 74, but those blue eyes are still just as sweet as they were to Stephen Stills back in 1969.

The classic Crosby, Stills and Nash song that documented Stills’ and Collins’ relationship (Suite: Judy Blue Eyes) has somewhat become the title of Collins’ seventh book, Sweet Judy Blue Eyes, a memoir that focuses on the years the singer-songwriter spent living in New York City’s Greenwich Village surrounded by some of the most important cultural icons of the ’60s.

Collins was herself a pivotal figure of the time.

Fifty years later, it is still strange to think that without Collins the world may have never known a singing Leonard Cohen.

Introduced to Cohen by Mary Martin, a friend who attended McGill University with the Beautiful Losers author, Collins was asked to help Cohen find out if he had written anything that could be considered a song. (Cohen at the time was looking for a way to make money, and he thought songwriting might be more lucrative than penning books, which turned out to be true.)

Collins had earned her stripes as a singer, covering the likes of Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan, and had already released four albums.

Legend has it that Cohen famously sang Suzanne over the phone for Collins — a story Cohen himself has told numerous times — but, when asked, Collins differed. (She said it’s a mix-up: It was Joni Mitchell who called her to get an opinion on Both Sides Now, a song that Collins re-interpreted and sent climbing up the charts in 1967, winning her a Grammy the following year.)

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