FIRE IN THE RAIN. . .SINGER IN THE STORM: An Autobiography by Holly with Derk Richardson Near


Email this review


Singer-songwriter, political activist and feminist, Near tells her story with the frankness and personal intensity of one of her concerts. A native Californian, Near began performing at age seven. An actress and a singer, she attended UCLA in 1967 to study theater and political science. Her acting career included a role in Slaughterhouse Five and an early film with Don Johnson. She did a stint on Broadway in Hair and made numerous TV appearances including--of all things--The Partridge Family. In 1971, Near joined Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland on their FTA (Free The Army) tour of the East. Though she would be strongly identified with the women's movement and gay rights, her political and sexual awakening was gradual, She did not ""come out"" until 1976, when she announced her lesbian relationship to the audience at the Women's Music Festival in Michigan. In the meantime, she and partner-pianist Jeff Langley recorded her first album, Hang In There, on her Redwood Records label, which would become one of the most successful independents in the country. Known for years solely as a feminist performer, Near's popularity increased considerably in the early and mid-1980's through her attention to the conflicts in Chile, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, most notably on her album Watch Out. In addition, her teaming-up with Ronnie Gilbert, formerly of The Weavers, bridged gaps both musically and generationally. By the late 1980's, Near, who had suffered a series of nervous-exhaustion collapses and severe back problems, felt secure enough with her audiences to perform everything from political to lesbian love songs to Broadway's Comden and Green. She has in recent years campaigned for Jesse Jackson, involved herself with the AIDS crisis, and supported abortion rights. Difficult to follow at times, and with more than enough about her sexual life, Near's is still a compelling heartening story of a richly talented, outspoken woman.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1990
Publisher: Morrow