When I set up this page a number of years ago I was contacted by a lot of people who were enthusiastic to see some coverage of Judee Sill on the Internet, at that time there was none. I was also contacted by people who didn't seem so positive and challenged some of the information presented here.
I have no personal knowledge of the life and times of Judee Sill, all I have done is to bring together the information that people have given me, attempting to resolve conflicts where they existed.
There are conflicting stories about her death, one source says that "Judee died of a heroin overdose in Mexico in the Spring of 1979 at the age of 34. It seems as though she had broken her back for the second time in her life and was in tremendous pain. Because she had previously been addicted to heroin, physicians would not give her Morphine for the pain. The pain killers she had been prescribed were of no help to her, so she turned to heroin again to kill the pain and overdosed". Another version is that she died in North Hollywood, California in late November - I have a copy of her death certificate which seems to back this up.
Somebody who does have personal knowledge is D, who has kindly provided her story on condition that her identity is not revealed.
Gus Dudgeon told me:
"I had the great fortune to see her supporting Carole King at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, when Carole was starting to do a promotional tour for her 'Tapestry' album. I'd never heard of Judee up to this point, but I have to say that she was magnificent....she blew me away!! I'm a record producer, so naturally I rushed up to Doug Weston, (the owner of the club, and who I happened to know quite well), and he guessed what was coming. "Sorry, Gus you're too late, she's being produced by Graham Nash". As it happens, of course, in the end he only produced the one song. Whatever, I have loved this album from the moment I heard it, and was sad that she didn't get far more attention from press and radio. When she finally turned up on Bob's show, I think she was a tad out of it, 'cos just as she started one of the songs at the piano, she bitterly complained about having to open for 'snotty rock groups'. I remember thinking at the time....'Oh-oh, that's not going to help her cause much'. I understand from your site that Iggy was anticipating writing a song for her after seeing her outburst. Was that a song to celebrate her complaint, or a song for himself.... to tell her to clam up? After all, he may well have been one of the 'snotties' she was levelling her anger at. Presumably he was on the same show?"
"Many years later, I was one of the judges at the Yamaha Music Festival in Japan, and after the show, myself and the other judges were sitting around chugging some drinks, when someone asked what would be the one album we each individually would take to a desert island. When it came to my turn, I unhesitatingly nominated Judee's first album, having already said that no-one in the group would ever have heard of her. Amazingly, a well-respected and successful publisher, one of the judges, said....." I knew her well. I published her songs!!" I couldn't believe it."
"His story, as I remember it, after many years, was that she'd had had a very sad end, and he agreed with me that she was a major talent. He reckoned that she'd been living in a trailer home in a typical American low-rent trailer park, had been raped by some guy, definitely had a very serious drug problem, and that she'd been in serious pain from her back injuries. I already knew about her drug problems and that she'd died some years previously, but to hear that she'd wound up in such desperate circumstances, when she'd been responsible for my all-time favourite album just added even more sadness to her story. She was a really tragic figure, and like so many of us, was obviously affected throughout her life by her hopeless relationship with her parents."
We do, however, have some details of her performances supplied by Bob Young
Judee Sill's Entry In The Book
"In Session Tonight" By Ken Garner
Bbc Books - Isbn 0-563-36452-1
Jesus Was A Crossmaker
Enchanted Sky Machines
Judee Sill (acoustic guitar, vocals)
Recorded 5/4/72 at Aeolian Hall (Studio2), London
Producer: Jeff Griffin
Rec'd In Concert 23/3/72
Paris Cinema, Lower Regent Street, London
Soldiers Of The Heart
There's A Rugged Road
(& The Phoenix, 14/5/73)
Recorded 14/2/73 at Langham Studio 1, London
Producers: Pete Ritzema / Bill Aitken
( I have made the assumption that the live LP that I have is of the "In Concert" mentioned in the entry above, it would be useful sometime to have this verified)
7 Inch 45rpm Singles
Judee's Uk Asylum Singles Were As Follows :-
Jesus Was A Crossmaker Aym502 Feb72
Enchanted Sky Machines Aym509 Oct72
The Kiss Aym513 Jan73
BOB YOUNG 22/9/99