Eva Cassidy: Songbird – Her story by those who knew her


Eva Cassidy is a phenomenon. Her album “Songbird” topped the charts and has gone platinum. All her other albums have reached the Top 40, Songbird selling 950,000 in 18 months. Her success is even more amazing since she has reached the top without expensive marketing campaigns; her success has come through the quality of her voice and word-of-mouth. Eva’s story is the more astonishing in that in 1996 she died of cancer at the age of 33, virtually unknown outside the Washington area where she grew up and performed. It was only when Terry Wogan played her version of “Over the Rainbow” two years ago that her incredible career really began. Her fans know little about Eva partly because her friends and family are naturally reticent and wish to honor her memory. Now Eva’s story can be told – by her parents Hugh and Barbara Cassidy and by Eva’s friends.


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Eva Cassidy was something of a phenomenon. Her album Songbird topped the charts and swiftly went platinum. All of her other albums did equally well, and the acclaim for her voice is matched by the fact that her rendition of Over the Rainbow is one of the most requested videos in Top of the Pops’ history. What makes her different from so many of her talentless peers is the fact that Cassidy reached the top sans marketing hype, relying on the quality of her voice and word of mouth to make her mark. In 1996, Eva died of cancer, aged 33, virtually unknown at the time outside of the Washington area where she grew up. Her remarkable and tragic story is told in this fascinating biography. As with all such books, purple prose is not avoided throughout, but the worst excesses of showbiz biographies are held at bay. This is a remarkable story of a remarkable woman, and the style here more than does justice to Cassidy’s story.

About the Author

Rob Burley is a producer on Tonight with Trevor McDonald and former producer of the Jonathan Dimbleby Programme. Jonathan Maitland is an investigative journalist who has worked on the Today Programme and Watchdog as well as Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

More about, and, from Eva Cassidy

… and just her music

by Eva on Amazon.com

A little more about Eva

Eva Marie Cassidy (February 2, 1963 – November 2, 1996) was an American singer and guitarist known for her interpretations of jazz, folk, and blues music, blessed with a powerful, emotive soprano voice. In 1992, she released her first album, The Other Side, a set of duets with go-go musician Chuck Brown, followed by the 1996 live solo album titled Live at Blues Alley. Although she had been honored by the Washington Area Music Association, she was virtually unknown outside her native Washington, D.C. She died of melanoma in 1996 at the age of 33.

Two years after her death, Cassidy’s music was brought to the attention of British audiences, when her versions of “Fields of Gold” and “Over the Rainbow” were played by Mike Harding and Terry Wogan on BBC Radio 2. Following the overwhelming response, a camcorder recording of “Over the Rainbow”, taken at Blues Alley in Washington by her friend Bryan McCulley, was shown on BBC Two’s Top of the Pops 2. Shortly afterwards, the compilation album Songbird climbed to the top of the UK Albums Chart, almost three years after its initial release. The chart success in the United Kingdom and Ireland led to increased recognition worldwide. Her posthumously released recordings, including three number-one albums and one number-one single in the UK, have sold more than ten million copies. Her music has also charted within the top 10 in Australia, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.

From Wikipedia

Articles about Eva Cassidy


peace sign photoWASHINGTON POST ARTICLE: “Echoes of a Voice Stilled Too Early” is a marvelous tribute to Eva by Washington Post writer Richard Harrington. This article and several photos appeared in the Sunday Arts section on November 17, 1996, shortly after Eva died. The albums EVA BY HEART and SONGBIRD had not yet been released (nor the other posthumous albums, TIME AFTER TIME, IMAGINE, and AMERICAN TUNE). Richard graciously gave me permission to reprint his article on this site.

The Other SideWASHINGTON POST MAGAZINE ARTICLE: “When Chuck Met Eva” was written for the Washington Post Magazine by Jefferson Morley and published March 9, 1998 (Morley also wrote the article about Eva at Amazon.com). “In June she went with Jackie Fletcher to see Odetta, who was performing in Baltimore. ‘ This is what I want to do,’ Eva told her friend, gesturing to the venerable folk singer onstage. ‘A woman getting older and better, playing her guitar in haunts and clubs and quiet auditoriums, places where people really listen.’ “ (The Washington City Paper called this article “riveting,” in a rare moment of praise for its arch-rival newspaper.)

Washington Post logoLETTERS TO THE EDITOR: A few weeks later the Post printed these follow-up letters in reply to the above article. Several people offered their own special memories of seeing Eva perform, or of working with her: …”I had asked him [Chris Biondo] to locate a ‘gospel choir’ for the track, but he replied that I only needed Eva. She flawlessly, in one take, recorded a four-part harmony for the chorus of the song….”

Taken, as is, from the Eva Cassidy Web Site

Since you are here, this is a playlist of some of Eva’s songs


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