"By the time I was 16, I absolutely knew when I grew up I would be Ella Fitzgerald! And, Dusty Springfield — and Barbra Streisand, and Judy Collins, and Peter, Paul AND Mary, all rolled up in one. No one could say my goals were . . . humble." — Maureen McGovern
Maureen grew up listening to some of the greatest jazz, folk and pop singers of the 20th century – singers who would heavily influence and inspire her own career. Below are some of her favorites.
Known as "The First Lady of Song," Ella Fitzgerald was one of the most popular female jazz singers for more than half a century. Winning 13 Grammy Awards and selling more than40 million albums, Ella’s voice was known for being flexible, wide-ranging, accurate, and ageless. Working with all the great jazz artists of the 20th century, Ella’s wide repertoire included ballads and swinging jazz. She was even known to imitate the instruments in the orchestra during her scat numbers.
Dusty Springfield was a British pop singer and entertainer. Known for her distinctive sensual sound, Dusty was one of the leading white soul singers and scored 18 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 between 1964 and 1970. She was voted Top British Female Artist in the New Musical Express reader’s poll in 1964, 1965, and 1968. Famous songs include "Son of a Preacher Man," "I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself," and "Wishin' and Hopin'."
Described by Judy Garland as one of the last great belters, Barbra Streisand launched her career with classic renditions of theater and cabaret standards, including her slow version of the normally up-tempo "Happy Days Are Here Again." During the 1970s, she was also prominent on the pop charts, with Top 10 recordings such as "The Way We Were" (U.S. No. 1), "Evergreen" (U.S. No. 1), "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with Donna Summer (U.S. No. 1), "You Don’t Bring Me Flowers" with Neil Diamond (U.S. No. 1), and "The Main Event" (U.S. No. 3), some of which came from soundtrack recordings of her films. As the 1970s ended, Streisand was named the most successful female singer in the U.S. — only Elvis Presley and the Beatles had sold more albums.
While Judy Collins' first few albums comprised straightforward guitar-based folk songs, with 1966's In My Life, she began branching out and including work from such diverse sources as The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, Jacques Brel and Kurt Weill. The album was regarded as a major departure for a folk artist and set the course for Collins’ subsequent work over the next decade. By the 1970s, Collins had a solid reputation as an art song singer and folksinger, and began getting noticed for her own compositions. She was also known for her broad range of material: songs from this period include the traditional Christian hymn "Amazing Grace," the Stephen Sondheim Broadway ballad "Send in the Clowns" (both of which were Top 20 hits as singles), Joan Baez’s "A Song for David," and her own compositions, such as "Born to the Breed."
Peter, Paul, and Mary
Peter, Paul, and Mary (often called PP&M) were one of the most successful folk groups of the 1960s. Three of their songs were in the Top 10 the week of President Kennedy’s assassination. Some of their greatest hits include "Puff the Magic Dragon," "If I Had a Hammer" (which they performed during the 1963 March on Washington), Bob Dylan’s "Blowin’ in the Wind," "The Times They Are a-Changin,’" "Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright," and "When the Ship Comes In." "Leaving on a Jet Plane," written by John Denver, was their only No. 1 hit, as well as their final Top 40 hit.