Go Slow

Go Slow
Go Slow

Go Slow

The Life of Julie London
By Michael Owen


336 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, PDF, Mobipocket

Cloth, $29.99 (CA $39.99) (US $29.99)

ISBN 9781613738573

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Jul 2017)


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It has been said that the records of singer and actress Julie London were purchased for their provocative, full-color cover photographs as frequently as they were for the music contained in their grooves. During the 1950s and 1960s, her piercing blue eyes, strawberry-blonde hair, and shapely figure were used to sell the world an image of cool sexuality that stoked the fevered dreams of many men. 
The contrast between that image and reality, the public and the private, is at the heart of Julie London’s story. Through years of research, extensive interviews with family, friends, and musical associates, and access to rarely seen or heard archival material, author Michael Owen reveals the impact that her image had on the direction of her career and how it influenced the choices she made, including the decision to walk away from performing. 
Go Slow follows Julie London’s life and career through its many stages: her transformation from 1940s movie starlet to the coolly defiant singer of the classic torch ballad “Cry Me a River” of the 1950s, and her journey from Las Vegas hotel entertainer during the rock and roll revolution of the 1960s to the no-nonsense nurse of the 1970s hit television series Emergency!


“Beautifully crafted and stunningly researched, this entertaining biography of Julie London reminds us why she matters, now and for always. It is a great read!” —Michael Feinstein, singer

Go Slow offers us a long-awaited, highly detailed look at a neglected jazz and pop singer who has always been worthy of greater recognition and attention. The author provides lots of new information and historical context, while, to his credit, resisting the temptation to make outrageous claims for his subject. I learned a lot that I didn’t know and it made me want to hear more.” —Will Friedwald, author of Stardust Melodies and Sinatra! The Song Is You

“Michael Owen tells the unique story of a singular talent and reluctant celebrity with dispassionate appreciation, weaving personal life and professional history into the tale of a woman who was steadfast in her personal passions and career path without the ego and ambition that drives so many other singers and actors. Neither sycophant nor assassin, Owen deftly chronicles Julie London’s life with both empathy and objectivity.” —Michael Cuscuna, record producer, writer, and discographer

Go Slow is a sensitive, informative biography, inviting the reader to discover Julie London’s unique and solitary contribution to the history of American music. With an ear for tone and an eye for story, Michael Owen leads us seamlessly through a life fashioned for style, revealing an instinctive range where just enough sound can occupy a space, exploiting every lyrical nuance along the way. As Go Slow discloses, through years of struggle and turmoil, an irony was born that would further distill some of Julie’s finest work as an interpreter of popular song. Esteemed jazz vocalists and musicians loved and respected her. A generous spirit to her family and friends, Julie London was one grand dame and there will never be anyone like her. Thanks to Michael Owen, we begin to understand why.” —Kevin Tighe, actor, Emergency!  

“An affectionate and complex portrait of London that will help rekindle an interest in her life and work.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The book offers an intimate look at her memorable public career and the sharp contrasts of her private life.” —Discover Hollywood

“Michael Owen has written an interesting book that fans of London or people interested in the popular culture of the 1950s will want to read.” —All About Jazz

“Owen's fascinating, clear-eyed portrait examines her work and looks at her decision to walk away from show business in the ‘70s, as well as her apparent indifference to her career.” —The Arizona Republic

Author Biography

Michael Owen is an archivist, writer, and researcher. A historian of popular music and culture, he is the consulting archivist to the estate of the songwriter Ira Gershwin, and managing editor and feature writer for its newsletter Words Without Music. He is a member of the Editorial Board of the George and Ira Gershwin Critical Editions, for which he is completing a scholarly, annotated edition of Ira Gershwin’s 1928 European travel journal. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.