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This Date in Music – October 18, 1947 – Singer-songwriter Laura Nyro was born!

 Laura NyroBorn on this day was singer-songwriter Laura Nyro. Now many of you may not know Laura’s name but you just may have heard a song or two that she wrote because……

Between 1968 and 1970, a number of artists had hits with her songs: The 5th Dimension with “Blowing Away”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Save The Country” and “Black Patch”; Blood, Sweat & Tears and Peter, Paul & Mary with “And When I Die”; Three Dog Night and Maynard Ferguson with “Eli’s Coming”; and Streisand with “Stoney End”, “Time and Love”, and “Hands off the Man (Flim Flam Man)”. Nyro’s best-selling single was her recording of Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof.

 

Here’s some more background information about Laura from Wikipedia…..

Laura Nyro (October 18, 1947 – April 8, 1997) was an American songwriter, singer, and pianist. She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession (1968) and New York Tendaberry (1969), and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. Her style was a hybrid of Brill Building-style New York pop, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, show tunes, rock and soul.”[1] Read More 

 

An amazing  number of great songs in such a short period Patty Di Lauria writes on Laura Nyros’s webpage:

“If Laura’s life were to be represented in a painting, it would have to be a mural, one shared by artists such as Chagall (the lightness and flow of her), Picasso or Braque (the fractured struggles she endured in the world of the music industry), Gauguin (for her luscious sensuality), Rousseau ( for her awareness of the mystery of creation itself), and Picasso, once again, (for the fury and anger she felt at social injustice and abuse.” Continue Reading

 

Laura died at the age of 49 on April 8th in 1997 of ovarian cancer, the same disease that had claimed the life of her mother. While she left us why too soon, her music and the influence she had on so many artists live on…..

Nyro’s influence on popular musicians has also been acknowledged by such artists as Joni Mitchell, Bette Midler, Rickie Lee Jones, Kate Bush, Elton John, Cyndi Lauper, Todd Rundgren, Steely Dan, and Melissa Manchester. Todd Rundgren stated that once he heard her, he “stopped writing songs like The Who and started writing songs like Laura.”[20] Cyndi Lauper acknowledged that her rendition of the song “Walk on By”, on her Grammy Award-nominated 2003 cover album At Last, was inspired by Nyro.[21] Elton John and Elvis Costello discussed Nyro’s influence on both of them during the premiere episode of Costello’s interview show Spectacle on the Sundance channel. When asked by the host if he could name three great performer/songwriters who have largely been ignored, he cited Nyro as one of his choices. John also addressed Nyro’s influence on his 1970 song “Burn Down the Mission”, from Tumbleweed Connection, in particular. “I idolized her,” he concluded. “The soul, the passion, just the out and out audacity of the way her rhythmic and melody changes came was like nothing I’ve heard before. Read more

 

Prior to her death, Columbia Records prepared a double-disc CD retrospective of material from her years at the label. Laura was involved and she selected the tracks and approved the final project. She lived to see the release of Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro (1997), and was reportedly pleased with the outcome. So here’s some morning music “Stoney End” from her début album! Happy Birthday, Laura – you left us way too soon!!

 P.S. The other day I came across a new album released by Billy Childs Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro on the JazzWeek Chart. I didn’t get a chance to listen that closely to the album, but what I heard sounded interesting.! So Check it out!