Judy Garland in 1961. Photo by Douglas Kirkland, from the collection of Lawrence Schulman

“When she sang, it was like an arrow going through your heart,” said Lawrence Schulman, a writer who lives in Mount Desert Island and released a two-volume set of books about Judy Garland in July.

The books are called “Garland: That’s Beyond Entertainment – Reflections on Judy Garland, Volumes 1 & 2.” They represent three decades of writing that Schulman has done, in many forms, about the music and career of Garland.

Judy Garland starring at Dorothy Gale in the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz.” Photo from the collection of Lawrence Schulman

I’ve been a fan of Garland since I sat on my grandfather’s lap when I was about 6 years old and watched “The Wizard of Oz” for the first time. I consider her to be one of the greatest singers of all-time because of how she emotionally occupies every song she sings, be it a zippy show tune, ballad or holiday song.

If the world ever implodes on itself, the last thing I’d like to hear is Garland singing “Over the Rainbow.” This is how much her music means to me.

So when Schulman reached out about his books and then mailed them to me, I was the kid in the proverbial candy store, scanning photos I’d never seen before and skimming excerpts of the books with fervor.

This guy knows his stuff, that’s for sure. He’s been a fan since he was 12 years old and is an authority when it comes to Garland’s many recordings, both well known and more obscure.


Both volumes of Lawrence Schulman’s book about Judy Garland. Photo by Aimsel Ponti

Schulman said the book (split into two volumes by the publisher Bear Manor Media) is a collection of liner notes, reviews, articles, interviews, talks, program notes and prefaces that he wrote between 1993 and this year. The main focus is Garland’s contribution to American popular music and the author’s work in digging up unissued Garland recordings. The pages are dense with details and rich with photographs.

Garland died before I was born, which means I never got to see her live. Schulman did though. Twice. The first time was in 1965 at the Forest Hills tennis stadium in Queens, New York, and then again at The Palace in Manhattan in 1967 on opening night. “In a word, she was electric,” said Schulman.

Lawrence Schulman. Photo by Alain Lucien Falasse

Schulman’s remarkable resume includes several articles and talks about Garland and the compilation of several CD sets devoted to her music. He’s also a music producer, critic and translator who lived in Paris for 26 years and holds French and American passports. Schulman met his French spouse in 1985, and they were married in 2013. “My home is in Maine, but my heart is in Paris,” he said.

In the book’s intro, Schulman said that Garland, in the context of other 20th century vocalists, is unique in her ability to make a song hers and make it for the ages. “The intensity of that ability placed her beyond entertainment.”

He continued. “At her peak, life flowed through her, and as a musician she allowed that intense permeability to flow out through her through song. She touched us all, and her importance to American popular music is fundamental and timeless.”

Schumann was 19 when Garland died at age 47 in 1969. “I was shocked but not surprised. She had been in such poor health for so long and in such dire straights financially, addicted to uppers and downers, and so painfully frail at the end.”


Despite a staggering amount of knowledge about her music and films, Schulman says Garland is a mystery. “I still haven’t figured it all out. Garland has always been an enigma to me. Anyone who pretends to explain her life and art is a fool. ”

But if someone wants a suggestion for delving into her music, Schulman suggests Garland’s 1961 Carnegie Hall recording. “The artistry, the force, the depth of her singing is so unearthly that the only conclusion is that she was not like the rest of us,” he said.

Schulman said that if he had to choose a favorite song of Garland’s, it would be her interpretation of the Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” from the 1944 musical “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The song was written specifically for that film, and the scene in which Garland sings it is heartbreaking yet stunning.

“It is the only sad Christmas song I know, and Garland interprets it magisterially. She alone could display intense and often opposite emotions in the same breath,” said Schulman.

He also gave a nod to the Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer penned “Come Rain or Come Shine” from the 1961 Carnegie Hall live album. Schulman said it’s mind-blowing. “When she sang ‘I’m going to love you like nobody’s loved you, come rain or come shine,’ it was more of a threat than an avowal of love. Only she could do that.”

Hop online or head to Sherman’s book store in Portland to pick up a copy of Schulman’s two-volume book and be ready for an extraordinary and unique lens on Garland’s music.

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