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Letter from Susan Ware, Editor

June 2018

The June 2018 update adds thirteen new biographies that celebrate the diverse forms of American music, including jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop, country, opera, and classical. Highlights include subversive rock star Lou Reed, opera singer Shirley Verrett, political poet Gil Scott-Heron, and gospel star Marion Williams.


Odetta (1930–2008) was an American folk and blues singer and activist. She was often referred to as “the voice of the civil rights movement,” with Rosa Parks citing Odetta’s music as an influence. She performed at the March on Washington and for President John F. Kennedy in 1963.