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GCLD’s collections celebrate women in music

Tallie Gray
Director of Library Resources

Billie Holliday. Dolly Parton. Patsy Cline. Loretta Lynn. Aretha Franklin. Teresa Carreño. Janis Joplin. Stevie Nicks. Zitkala-S̈a.

What do these names have in common? They all deserve some R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and if you wonder why, check out the recent biographies and documentaries about these inspirational musicians on DVD or Kanopy from any of the Grand County Library District branches.

To further pique your interest on some of these legends during National Women’s History Month:



• Billie Holliday, considered one of the finest jazz singers of the 20th century, had no professional training, made her first recording with accompaniment by Benny Goodman in 1933, and the title of her autobiography, Lady Sings the Blues, was not necessarily about her music.

Watch: “Billie,” produced by Verve Records (DVD)



• Dolly Parton has written some of the most iconic songs, think “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You”, but she also founded the Imagination Library which has gifted over 150 million books to children from birth to age five. Free. No wonder the Library of Congress named her a Living Legend.

Read: “Dolly Parton: My Life in Lyrics” by Dolly Parton and “She Come by It Natural” by Sarah Smarsh

Watch: “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” produced by Warner Home Video and “9 to 5” produced by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

“Me & Patsy, Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline” by Loretta Lynn is one of a number of books and movies celebrating women in music.

• Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn had a remarkable friendship, and helped Nashville become a city of music. Lynn’s memoir is described as: “Full of laughter and tears, this eye-opening, heartwarming memoir paints a picture of two stubborn, spirited country gals who’d be damned if they’d let men or convention tell them how to be.” –Amazon.com

Read: “Me & Patsy, Kickin’ Up Dust: My Friendship with Patsy Cline” by Loretta Lynn

• Aretha Franklin recorded her first tracks at age 14, her voice spanned more than three octaves, and as The Queen of Soul, she was the first female inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Read: “R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul” by Carole Boston Weatherford (Juvenile Biography) and “The Queen Next Door” by Linda Solomon.

• Forty years of interviews with top musicians, including with Tina Turner, Bonnie Raitt, Mary J. Blige and Sheryl Crow can be found in one book. Lisa Robinson “writes about the talented women she met and their hopes, dreams, and ambitions; their views of fame, motherhood, sex, drugs, and family; and their reactions to stage fright and bad reviews.” — Booklist Review.

Read: “Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music, and Fame” by Lisa Robinson

More great new titles about female musicians:

• “Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreño Played the Piano for President Lincoln” by Margarita Engle (Juvenile Biography)

• “Janis: Her Life and Music” by Holly George-Warren

• “Gold Dust Woman: The Biography of Stevie Nicks” by Stephen Davis

• “Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band” produced by The Mary Lou Williams Project, available on Kanopy

• “Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala-S̈a, Native American Author, Musician, and Activist” (eBook from OverDrive)

Read, listen, or watch stories about hundreds of great musicians. Get inspired. GCLD has close to 4,000 titles available with the catalog subject of “musicians”.

Or celebrate your own musical talents. Thanks to the Grand County Blues Society and other generous donors, ukuleles, guitars, drums, and other musical instruments are available for being checked out of the library!

To sign up for a GCLD library card and explore the boundless opportunities available, visit: gcld.org/library-card.


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