Two for Tuesday: Laura Nyro (Encore Presentation)

From June 2016

I feel like I should know more about Laura Nyro than I do. Todd Rundgren said that after he heard Laura’s songs, he “stopped writing songs like The Who and started writing songs like Laura.” Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Melissa Manchester, and Alice Cooper, among others, have acknowledged her influence on their music. Oddly enough, I never actually heard her do any of her own songs. It might have been because she took the first part of the Seventies off, or because the radio stations in Chicago didn’t consider her important enough to add to their playlist, or maybe I just wasn’t listening to the stations that were playing her music, or maybe (most likely) I did hear her and just didn’t realize it at the time. I heard plenty of her songs, though: The Fifth Dimension performed several of her songs, as did Blood, Sweat & Tears and, as we know, Three Dog Night had a hit with her “Eli’s Coming” in 1969.

And When I Die” was the third single released off of BS&T’s eponymous second album. It rose to #2 on the Hot 100 in late 1969 and early 1970. Laura wrote the song when she was seventeen and sold it to Peter, Paul & Mary, who recorded it for their sixth album, The Peter, Paul & Mary Album. Here’s Laura’s version, which appeared on her first album, More Than A New Discovery (1967).

The Fifth Dimension recorded “Sweet Blindness” on their 1968 album Stoned Soul Picnic (the title track was also written by Laura). It rose to #13 on the Hot 100 and #45 on the R&B chart. Laura did her version of the song on her 1968 album Eli and the Thirteenth Confession.

Laura died of ovarian cancer in 1997, just shy of her fiftieth birthday. There is a very well-done website dedicated to her memory, and naturally there’s a Facebook page.

Laura Nyro, your Two For Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

9 thoughts on “Two for Tuesday: Laura Nyro (Encore Presentation)

    1. “Midnight at the Oasis” was Maria Muldaur, who bears a strong resemblance to Laura Nyro. Laura had a song called “Midnight Blue”; maybe that’s the one you’re thinking of?

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  1. She has an amazing voice and should be better known to the world. As soon as I heard her sing I thought, “how is she not known and Diana Krall is? She has it all over that Krall.” As you can note, I dislike Krall from her icky singing and icky facial hair expressions. What a shame that she died so young

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    1. I’ve always felt like I should like Diana Krall better, but most of what I’ve heard is deathly slow. Laura’s songwriting ability has always been touted more than her performing, and other artists (most notably The 5th Dimension, who’ve done many of her songs) know that. Still, it’s a shame she wasn’t better known for her playing: she was at least as good as Carole King, another tremendous songwriter and performer (her “Tapestry” album set records [so to speak] for length of time on the Hot 200 album chart).

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  2. Other groups and people made her songs popular, but I think that she only had one song that she performed that broke into the Top 1o it is not surprising that you did not hear her on the radio.

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    1. She was perfect for FM radio in her day, but I never heard her, anyway. Carole King, you couldn’t put a radio on without hearing her. Go figure…

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