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Voice: Biographies


Biographies of individual vocalists and those in specific genres


General Biography


Selected books from the library's collection
Find more library books like these
Sinatra! The Song is You: A Singer's Art by Will Friedwald
ML420.S56 F78 1997  Check Availability
Image:Sinatra!_the_Song_is_You-_A_Singer's_Art.jpg From the publisher:
"Frank Sinatra remains the greatest entertainer of our age, invigorating American popular song with innovative phrasing and a mastery of range and emotion."
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American Singers: Twenty-Seven Portraits in Song by Whitney Balliett
ML400 .B25 1988  Check Availability
Image:American_Singers_27_Portraits_in_Song.jpg‎ From
"...Alongside original chapters on such great vocalists as Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Joe Turner and Alberta Hunter, Balliett has added fresh portraits of Mel Torme, Julius La Rosa, George Shearing, and Peggy Lee. To his study of four masters of the cabaret (Hugh Shannon, Mabel Mercer, Bobby Short, and Blossom Dearie) he has joined a fifth, Julie Wilson. There are new chapters on singer-pianists Cleo Brown and Nellie Lutcher, as well as on Carol Sloane, Betty Carter, and David Frishberg..."
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Cash: The Autobiography by Johnny Cash with Patrick Carr
ML420.C37 A3 1998  Check Availability
Image:Voice_Cash_The_autobiography.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"In his own words, Cash set the record straight -- and dispelled a few myths -- as he looked unsparingly at his remarkable life: from the joys of his boyhood in Dyess, Arkansas to superstardom in Nashville, Tennessee."
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Dark Midnight When I Rise: The Story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers by Andrew Ward
ML421.J77 W37 2001  Check Availability
Image:Dark_Midnight_when_I_Rise.jpg‎ From
"Setting out initially to raise money for their university, the Fisk Jubilee Singers -- a troupe of young ex-slaves and freedmen -- ended up changing the face of American music. Despite their venues of small-town churches and train stations, and the hardships of poverty and racism, the Jubilee Singers eventually became a popular vocal group whose admirers included Ulysses S. Grant and Queen Victoria."
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Lives and Legends of Flamenco: A Biographical History by D.E. Pohren
ML3712 .P64 1988  Check Availability

From the book's Foreword:
"Lives and Legends consists of introduction to the song, dance, and guitar, and chronologically-placed biographies of the artists and aficionados who have perhaps most affected the course of flamenco's history. Interwoven into the biographies are many discussions and anecdotes which are intended to help the reader to a better understanding of both the artist in question and flamenco in general."

Positively 4th Street: The Lives and Times of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez Fariña, and Richard Fariña by David Hajdu
ML400 .H27 2001  Check Availability
Image:‎Positively_4th_street.jpg‎ From Publisher's Weekly:
"Sometimes, gifted people intersect at the perfect moment and spark a cultural movement. According to acclaimed biographer David Hajdu..., Joan and Mimi Baez, Dylan, and Farina were of that brand of fated genius, and via romantic and creative trysts, they invented 1960s folk and its initially maligned offshoot, folk rock. But their convergence hardly emblematizes the free-loving media version of the 1960s. Egos--especially Joan Baez's and Dylan's--clashed, jealousies flared, romance was strategic... Hajdu provides a skillfully wrought, honest portrait that neither sentimentalizes nor slams the countercultural heyday."
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The Tenors edited by Herbert H. Breslin
ML400.B745 T4  Check Availability

From the publisher:
"Five noted writers on music discuss the art and personalities of five operatic superstars: William Bender on Richard Tucker, John Ardoin, on Jon Vickers, Joan Downs on Franco Corelli, Alan Rich on Placido Domingo, and Stephen E. Rubin on Luciano Pavarotti."

Swingers and Crooners: The Art of Jazz Singing by Leslie Gourse
ML3929 .G69 1997  Check Availability
Image:Swingers_and_Crooners.jpg‎ From
"Describes the lives of notable jazz singers, traces their influence on one another, and investigates the impact of different innovators on the development of jazz music."
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Popular Singers of the Twentieth Century: A Bibliography of Biographical Materials by Robert H. Cowden
Reference ML128.S295 C72 1999  Check Availability
Image:Popular_Singers_of_the_20th_century.jpg‎ From Google Books:
"This guide to the biographical literature available on popular 20th-century singers covers nearly 1000 artists... The artists included in this volume increasingly cross musical boundaries. The popular singer category, therefore, encompasses Broadway, Hollywood, cabaret, and operetta performers as well as recording artists. Scholars of popular music and popular music enthusiasts will appreciate the extensive research this work embodies. Divided among three sections, citations are arranged alphabetically and include information about literature published through 1997. An appendix of additional artists and an index complete the volume."
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The Soul of Rock 'n Roll: A History of African Americans in Rock Music by J. Othello.
ML394 .O84 2004  Check Availability
Image:Soul_of_Rock_n_Roll.jpg‎ From
"The Soul of Rock 'N Roll highlights and celebrates the powerful influence of African Americans in rock music, and this work is a 'must read' for any person who considers themselves a serious fan of ROCK 'N ROLL!"
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Jazz Singers: The Great Song Stylists in Their Own Words consultant editor: Paul Roland
ML400 .J499 1999  Check Availability
Image:Jazz_Singers_the_great_song_Stylists_in_their_own_words.jpg‎ From
"Nat 'King' Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan are among the twenty unforgettable vocalists presented in lively interviews by such fine music commentators as Leonard Feather, Max Jones, and Ren Grevatt, coupled with classic photos by William Claxton, Herman Leonard, David Redfern, and other camera artists.

Culled from the pages of the respected music weekly Melody Maker, the perspectives and opinions of jazz greats are presented in their own words-from Nina Simone's uncompromising views about racial equality and her reputation as a 'difficult' performer to Billie Holiday's account of how she was dubbed 'Lady Day' to Louis Armstrong's commentary on the popularity of jazz in Europe. Brief bios and details of key recordings are also included."

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The Great Singers: From the Dawn of Opera to Our Own Time by Henry Pleasants
ML400 .P54 1966  Check Availability
Image:Great_Singers_from_The_Dawn_of_opera.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Here, with a splendid richness of color and detail, the distinguished writer and critic Henry Pleasants recreates the personalities and performances, the lives and art of 'the great singers' who have left their mark on our musical culture."
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African American Concert Singers Before 1950 by Darryl Glenn Nettles
ML400 .N49 2003  Check Availability
Image:African_American_Concert_singers_before_1950.jpg‎ From
"Marian Roberts, Roland Hayes, and Paul Robeson were among the most visible early African American concert singers, but they were not the only ones. Many others were involved in the arts as concert singers and, given the times in which they lived, achieved tremendous results in the face of great adversity and helped pave the way for the post–1950 African American vocal artist.

Drawn from articles, reviews, programs, biographical sources, and interviews, this work is a survey of the unknown early African American concert singers... The book covers the African Americans who came before Roberts, Hayes, and Robeson, and details the opportunities available in Europe for black concert singers."

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Women Singers

Ella Fitzgerald: A Biography of the First Lady of Jazz by Stuart Nicholson
ML420.F52 N5 1994  Check Availability
Image:Voice_Ella_Fitzgerald_A_Biography_of_the_first_Lady_of_Jazz.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Today, Ella Fitzgerald defines 'jazz singer,' recognized as one of the greatest jazz performers in the world. Nicholson draws on fresh research and interviews with Ella's friends and colleagues to tell the remarkable story."
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Mariah Carey Revisited: Her Story by Chris Nickson
ML420.C255 N5 1998  Check Availability
Image:Voice_Mariah_Carey_Revisited.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"Mariah Carey Revisited is a must-read for in-depth, up-to-date information on the singer's recent world tours, collaborations (with hip-hop artists like Puff Daddy and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony), her sexy new image, and the Butterfly album."
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Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon--and the Journey of a Generation by Sheila Weller
Reserve ML400 .W35 2008  Check Availability
Image:Voice_Girls_Like_Us.jpg‎ From the publisher:
"The epic story of three generational icons, this triple biography ... examines the careers of singer-songwriters Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, whose success reflected, enervated and shaped the feminist movement that grew up with them." - Publishers Weekly
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Hip-Hop Divas 
ML3531 .H57 2001  Check Availability
Image:Voice_Hip_Hop_Divas.jpg From the publisher:
"It’s time to stand up, take notice, and give props to the women who have made their mark on hip hop culture ... the dramatic rise of women to the top of the hip hop industry has never been chronicled before."
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Five Centuries of Women Singers by Isabelle Emerson
ML400 .E38 2005  Check Availability
Image:Five_Centuries_of_Women_singers.jpg‎ From
"Five Centuries of Women Singers explores the careers of twenty singers from the late sixteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. In addition to personal information, the stories of these singers tell a great deal about contemporary musical life, about musical and dramatic ideals of the time, and about performance practice."
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Great Women-Singers of My Time by Herman Klein
ML400 .K54 1968  Check Availability
Image:Great_Women_Singers_of_my_time.jpg‎ From the book's Foreword:
"Mr. Klein has done us a great service in setting down his reminiscences of the singers of the past. It is not merely that the story is an interesting one in itself; the reminiscences are valuable for the light they thrown on another musical civilization than our own, and one that we are too accustomed to look down upon." - Ernest Newman
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The Ladies Who Sing with the Band by Betty Bennett
ML420.B466 A3 2000  Check Availability
Image:Ladies_Who_Sing_with_the_Band.jpg‎ From
"The book deals with several issues that transcend music. The entertainment industry--particularly the jazz world--was an early era of black/white professional and personal interaction. Moreover, the traveling big band represented a unique instance of women in an all-male workplace. Bennett confronts these issues of race and gender in a refreshingly forthright manner."
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A Biographical Guide to the Great Jazz and Pop Singers by Will Friedwald
ML102.J3 F75 2010  Check Availability
Image:A_Biographical_Guide_To_The_Great_Jazz_and_Pop_Singers.jpg From a reviewer on
"This extensive biographical and critical survey of more than 300 jazz and popular singers is comprised of provocative, opinionated essays that incorporate the views of peers, fans and critics while assessing key movements and genres."
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Women of Motown: An Oral History by Susan Whitall
ML400 .W45 1998  Check Availability
Image:Women_of_Motown.jpg‎ From Google Books:
"Told in the voices of the people who were actually there, here are the stories of: (1) Sly and the Family Stone, the Woodstock-era interracial, intergender band which merged soul with psychedelic rock; (2) George Clinton and P-Funk, the inventive musical aggregation that laid the groundwork for rap, hip-hop, alternative, and techno music; and (3) Women of Motown, members of 'girl groups' and solo artists during the heyday of the world's most famous record label."
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