Melissa Etheridge by Joyce Luck, ECW Press

Melissa Etheridge: Our Little Secret

Luck, Joyce

  • This first full-length biography of the international rock star is beautifully illustrated with over 50 photographs, 22 of which are in full color and many of which have never before been published. 18,000 copies in print. NOW IN ITS THIRD PRINTING! An Advocate best seller! Carefully researched, filled with numerous anecdotes collected from fans and with insights gathered from Etheridge’s friends and colleagues, Our Little Secret also features a useful bibliography of some 250 sources and a comprehensive discography. Biographer Joyce Luck, a devoted fan, offers us this tribute to Melissa Etheridge that both chronicles the artist’s personal and professional accomplishments to date and anticipates even greater achievements.


    Chapter One:
    Out of Kansas: Coming Alive in the Midwest

    If you head north out of Kansas City on Highway 7 and travel on for about 45 minutes, you’ll come upon Leavenworth, Kansas, sprawling peacefully across the Midwestern plain from the banks of the Missouri River. Here, on the north side of town near the famous federal penitentiary, Melissa Etheridge was born on 29 May 1961 at 1:15 in the afternoon.

    Flash forward: 12 November 1994: She’s come home. It’s a Saturday night in Leavenworth. The high-school auditorium air thickens with nervous energy; the place is jam-packed. Everybody is here, from a little neighbor kid to a couple in their fifties who lived over on the next block. Even some of her old high-school teachers dot the crowd. This looks like an audience for a school play. It isn’t. The buzz of the crowd is getting louder and more urgent. People lean in closer, pressing towards the front of the hall. The space seems to swell.

    Finally, a lone male figure strolls onto the stage to introduce the woman everyone has been waiting for. He welcomes the crowd. Everyone listens with mounting impatience as he adds, “Melissa is a hometown girl... her father was very active in our community... we are going to dedicate the ball field in her name (sorry, in John’s name)”--the one in the ”new park we’re getting ready to build.” The $20 each person has spent on his or her ticket will go towards that project, the man reminds the audience; then he points out that ushers in orange vests are still collecting money at the back of the auditorium.

    Several women scream, drowning out whatever he has left to say. Melissa Etheridge and her band have taken the stage. The crowd leaps up with a roar as Etheridge and the band explode into “If I Wanted To”; then they segue into “No Souvenirs.” Dressed in black pants, a T-shirt, and a loose-fitting rust-colored overshirt, sleeves rolled up and head thrown back, Melissa plays ferociously, thrusting the neck of her Ovation guitar up into the air, her strumming fingers a blur.

    The hall rocks as it has never rocked before.

  • Joyce Luck, an assistant professor of English, holds a BA in English and Religious Studies from Randolph-Macon College (1984) and an MA in English from the Pennsylvania State University (1987). She lives in San Carlos, California. Melissa Etheridge: Our Little Secret is her first book.

  • Published: November 1997

    ISBN: 9781550222982

    Dimensions: 6.75 x 9.75 in.

    Pages: 235