On the night of Sunday, April 23, 1961 Judy Garland made history. That's no hyperbole. Surrounded by a throng of ecstatic fans (3,165 to be exact), the legendary performer delivered a concert in Carnegie Hall the live recording of which became, upon release, an unlikely pop cultural phenomenon. Judy at Carnegie Hall, the two-disc set that captured all 25 numbers she performed that night, went on to spend more than 70 weeks on the Billboard charts, win four Grammy Awards--including Album of the Year (making it the first live music album and the first album by a female performer to win the category)--and become, in the process, the fastest-selling two-disc set in history.
What the recording highlights, and what's made it an enduring classic in a class of its own, is the palpable connection between the songstress and her fans. "Indeed," The New York Times reported in its review of the evening s proceedings, "what actually was to have been a concert--and was--also turned into something not too remote from a revival meeting." By looking at her song choices, her stage banter, the album s cultural impact, and her place in the gay pantheon, this book argues that Judy s palpable connection with her fans is precisely what her Capitol Records two-disc album captured.