Remembering Laura Nyro October 18

copying from World of Wonder by Stephen  Rutledge  http://worldofwonder.net/bornthisday-singersongwriter-laura-nyro/

October 18, 1947– Laura Nyro:

They say a woman’s place is to wait & serve under the veil, submissive & dear. But I think my place is in a ship from space to carry me the hell out of here…”

Laura Nyro photo Tara Greene

It would never have happened to me when I was young. I was a fearless performer as a youth. I actually became more reticent as I got older. Some performers just shun the spotlight & find that back road to success. Laura Nyro was a perfect example. Crippled by chronic stage fright, she never found more than a cult audience with her solo career; but when her songs were covered by Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, The 5th Dimension,Three Dog Night or Blood, Sweat & Tears, they effortlessly reached the Top 10 on the charts. Somehow, those reinterpretations brought her material closer to the audience’s musical preoccupations in the late 1960s & early 1970s.

You might have missed Nyro’s obituary when she left this world. Her death didn’t garner the type of media coverage that pop icons like Elvis Presley, John Lennon or Janis Joplin had when they left this world. In fact, you may not even know with her name. That is a shame.

But, if like me, you were listening to the radio from 1967 to 1971, you know her impassioned, iconoclastic music. Nyro was still in her teens when she wrote: Wedding Bell Blues, And When I Die, & Stoney End. By the time she was 21 years old, Nyro had already produced a meaningful & large catalog of songs, a stronger body of work than most pop songwriters have in a full lifetime. But, she never had a hit record as herself.

Nyro was not only a distinctive songwriter who created her own world with her music, she also possessed a delicious vocal style, soulful, with deep feeling, fused with Blues, Jazz, Gospel, Folk & Broadway.

I wonder where The 5th Dimension would have been without her songs. That pop-soul group scored big hits with Stoned Soul Picnic, Wedding Bell Blues, Blowin’ Away, Sweet Blindness, & Save The Country. Blood, Sweat & Tears took And When I Die to #2 on theBillboard Hot 100 Charts in 1969. Three Dog Night hit #1 with Eli’s Comin’. Streisand had a #1 hit with Stoney End in 1971, using that song to increase her hipness quotient & prove that she was not just a singer of showtunes.

Nyro was born Laura Nigro in 1947, the daughter of a jazz trumpeter. She began playing music as a little girl, read poetry & was introduced to the music of classical composers Ravel & Debussy by her mother. She attended Manhattan High School Of Music & Art, she was a fan of a wide range of music, from Dylan to Coltrane, Gospel to Doo-Wop, Burt Bacharach to The Supremes.

Nyro’s first album More Than A New Discovery (1966) was recorded when she was just 19 years old (Madonna was 25 years old when she released her first album). It was a remarkable debut, but brought her little attention as a performer.

A little known music agent, who I shall call David Geffen for legal reasons, saw her performance at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, where she was booed off the stage. He quit his job & became her manager. He got her a deal with Columbia Records & she recorded her next album Eli & The 13th Confession in 1968. The critics liked it. But, the hits came from the cover versions of the tunes by The 5th Dimension & Three Dog Night. Nyro’s originals went unnoticed by most of the public, except for listeners of extreme savvy taste, like me.

 New York Tendaberry (1969) was Nyro’s only album to ever reach the Top 40. It included 2 more songs that The 5th Dimension covered: Time & Love, & Save The Country. This album gave her a cult following & foreshadowed the whole introspective singer/songwriter movement that emerged in the early 1970s. Ironically, Nyro’s own bestselling single was a cover of Carole King & Gerry Goffin‘s Up On The Roof.

Nyro released 2 more albums before & then left the biz in 1971 at of 24 years old. But, after 4 years away, she returned to the studio & periodically released new albums for the next 2 decades. In 1997, a retrospective boxed-set was being released by Columbia: Stoned SoulPicnic: The Best Of Laura Nyro. Nyro selected the tracks & approved the final project. She lived to see its release & said that she was pleased with the project.

Nyro was taken from this world by that damn cancer in 1997. She was only 49 years old; the same ovarian cancer that had claimed the life of her mother at the very same age. She left behind a partner of 18 years, artist Maria Desidero.

A tribute album, Time & Love: The Music Of Laura Nyro, with Nyro’s songs performed by 14 women singers & groups, including Phoebe Snow, Suzanne Vega, Roseanne Cash, &Jane Siberry was issued shortly after Nyro was gone.

Nyro’s huge influence on other musicians has been acknowledged by: Janis Ian, Joni Mitchell, Melissa Manchester, Rickie Lee Jones, Steely Dan, Todd Rundgren, Sandra Bernhard & Elton John. She is Bette Midler’s favorite singer. Barry Manilow lists her amazing album, & my own personal favorite Nyro LP, Christmas & The Beads Of Sweat, on his Desert Island Discs. The juicy Jackson Browne tune That Girl Could Sing is about Nyro. John & Elvis Costello discussed Nyro’s significant influence on both of them during the premiere episode of Costello’s interview show Spectacle (2012) on the Sundance Channel.

When I was a callow youth, I loved Nyro beyond all reason. Her songs are very much a part of my musical consciousness. The Husband is a big fan. If you remember these songs in their hit versions by other artists, it is fascinating to hear Nyro’s own interpretations. If you’re too young to remember these songs from AM radio, you will be knocked out by the variety & depth of her vision. Listening to her music more than 45 years later, I am transported back to that amazing time. I don’t know why more people didn’t discover the singer/songwriter behind the great melodies & lyrics. Stoned Soul Picnic captures the sweet, hopeful trippiness of the late 196os better than most protest music of the time:”

laura Nyro Astrology chart

Speculative Astrology chart for Laura Nyro with no exact birth time. She was a Libra with 3 planets in Scorpio plus Chiron Plus her South Node.Venus in Scorpio rules her Sun and Neptune, all of her creativity was deep, sexual, intense, obsessive, about the shadow { Devil].

 I named my first child and only son ELIJAH after her song Eli’s Coming in 1983.. 

I just discovered that Laura had her MOON OUT OF BOUNDS. That tells me volumes right there. A moon out of bands makes someone feel differently to most people. They will not be confined, they are naturally wild and unconventional. Uranus opposite the Moon in Sagittarius makes perfect sense to me for such a unique talent who definitely marched to her own drummer. She has one son and was married a couple of times then became a lesbian in her later years with a long-term relationship. She had that powerful Mars Pluto Saturn conjunction in Leo. I feel that this was her currency, her resources that incredibly powerful sexual passion straight from her heart and soul. She was more soulful than anyone ever. 

My previous article about Laura’s Astrology https://infinitynow.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/rock-and-roll-hall-of-fame-laura-nyro-original-songstressgets-her-saturn-solar-return-due/

also an incredible article here on Laura http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/09/28/the-laura-nyro-incarnations/

He’s a Runner/Save the country Laura Nyro  

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4 comments

  1. Thanks for this, Laura is indeed an awesome talent who should continue to be acknowledged, and appreciated. And yea, her original versions are vastly superior to the covers. The radio programmers blew it big time.

    Btw, I feel I must point out that she was absolutely not “Booed off stage” at Monterey! The footage of her performance is available on Youtube, check it out, and you will find that the only B word coming from the audience is “Beautiful!” And I couldn’t agree more.

    Happy Birthday to the Angel in the Dark, she will be cherished in our Hearts forever.

    Like

  2. Great songwriter/poet ahead of her times , good article, however, please NOTE she was not booed off the stage at Monteray Pops, watch youtube Contrary to urban legend Laura Nyro was NOT booed off the stage at Monterrey. She knocked ’em dead. You can hear a guy yelling “beautiful!” in the background. talk to people who were there and remember her…

    Like

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