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Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro was one of pop music's true originals: A brilliant and innovative composer, her songs found greater commercial success in the hands of other performers, but her own records -- intricate, haunting works highlighting her singularly powerful vocal phrasing, evocative lyrics, and alchemical fusion of gospel, soul, folk, and jazz structures -- remain her definitive artistic legacy.

The daughter of a jazz trumpeter, she was born Laura Nigro on October 18, 1947, and composed her first songs at the age of eight. After attending Manhattan's famed High School of Music and Art, she began performing in area clubs, drawing on influences as diverse as Bob Dylan and John Coltrane. In 1967, Nyro issued her first LP, More Than a New Discovery; though commercially unsuccessful, the album was a treasure trove of material for other artists -- the Fifth Dimension scored with "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Blowin' Away," Barbra Streisand covered "Stoney End," and Blood, Sweat & Tears tackled "And When I Die."

In 1967, Nyro made just her second major live appearance to date at the Monterey Pop Festival, where her idiosyncratic performance baffled the crowd. However, David Geffen -- a music agent at the time -- caught her set and was so impressed that he quit his current position to become her manager. He also won Nyro a contract with Columbia, and in 1968 she returned with the extraordinary Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. While the album earned vast critical acclaim, she again found commercial success not with her own recordings, but with covers of Eli's songs, as the Fifth Dimension reached the charts with renditions of "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness," while "Eli's Comin'" became a major hit for Three Dog Night.

New York Tendaberry, released in 1969, fared better thanks to the strong word of mouth now trailing her work; the record's "Time and Love" and "Save the Country" soon emerged as two of her most well-regarded and popular songs. With 1970's Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, she continued her exploration of soul music, enlisting Muscle Shoals staples like Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, and Eddie Hinton; "Beads of Sweat" also featured guitar work from Duane Allman. Gonna Take a Miracle, recorded with Labelle and the production team of Gamble & Huff, marked a dramatic left turn in 1971; Nyro's lone album of non-original material, it featured her tributes to Motown ("Jimmy Mack," "Nowhere to Run"), doo wop ("The Bells," "Spanish Harlem"), and the girl group era ("I Met Him on a Sunday").

At the age of 24, Nyro announced her retirement; she married, severed her industry connections, and moved to a small community in New England. However, the marriage ended in divorce, and in 1976 she resurfaced with Smile; a subsequent tour yielded the 1977 live set Season of Lights. However, the long layoff derailed whatever chart momentum her music had accrued, and after the dismal sales of 1978's Nested, she again retreated from the music business.

When Nyro finally returned from her self-imposed exile in 1984 with Mother's Spiritual, her music had grown more reserved and introspective; as the title indicated, her own motherhood provided considerable inspiration for her new work, as did her rustic New England lifestyle. While she did not make any overt declarations of retirement, Nyro waited another five years before issuing her next LP, Live at the Bottom Line, recorded at the legendary New York club; Walk the Dog & Light the Light, her first collection of new material in nearly a decade, followed in 1993. Four years later, Nyro died of ovarian cancer, on April 8, 1997. A posthumous album, Angel in the Dark, was issued in 2001, and several additional live recordings also surfaced. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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dhorvath8956
I was introduced to Laura Nyro through my dear, sweet brother who has left this planet in 1990 from Aides. He was the co-founder of Cleveland Ballet and choreographe d a ballet entitled Laura's Women. You must see it. A true gift to 'hear' her beauty and 'see' the interpretati o n of her artistry. A true synergy of music and dance.
I love you Laura for your inspiration and I love you Ernie for your creativity and mostly your integrity and respect for your art.
Debbie
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perfect in everyway
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mother use to play her when I was kid UP ON THE ROOF and STONE COLD PICNIC
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if you do not know Laura, you do not know music....
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left us to soon
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The best--what a voice...and what a lyricist. My son is named Eli, so I think of her often.
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She was fantastic thirty five ago stillsounds the same much love
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frank.czuri
Also loved Laura since I first heard Eli LP! She had a beautiful soul and an incredible way with her pen, fingers, and voice. I still hear something new upon each listen. She was a TRUE individual, in the days of Cream, Hendrix, etc. etc. Noone like her before or after her. I always thought she was the lead on :It's Gong to Be Alright by the Decoys on Aanko. I don't think it is her but it sounds like a teenage Laura for sure!
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The best--is there an 'album' better than Eli and the Thirteenth Confession? I always loved Gonna Take a Miracle--a brilliant songwriter, and a genius at phrasing--mi s s her every time I turn on the radio.
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tony00833
I'm 57 my sisters are 10 and 12 years older
And still today if I hear a Laura song I stop to ponder it's greatness
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I adore her more than words can express.
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glanpher9
Laura. Can't listen to you without crying. Heartbreakin g l y beautiful. Brings back...every t h i n g .
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She resonated in deep into my heart.. Living in the 70's on the island of Kauai .. I directed my singing skills to follow Nyro Joni Mitchell .. And Baez..loved them..��
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carnesem
Laura Nyro- you have touched my heart and soul like no other artist. I recall walking to school in Manhattan one day in the late 60's and seeing a sign that read Laura Nyro for mayor on a Volkswagen beetle- and it made me smile and still does. Your music is classic, haunting and beautiful and I could listen and do- every day. I saw you perform at Carnegie Hall in the early 70's when you asked some of your girlfriends to help you out on stage-- Patti Labelle and the Bluebells- WOW! People
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Love this site. You have done an amazing job on putting this stuff alltogether. I salute you. BTW I listen all the time. Don't change a thing!!!!!
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redram49
From the very first words and music I heard of Laura's, Lucky, I was hooked. I was only 13-14 years old. Saw her too many times to count. It was my honor to be blessed by her music and soul. To this day I listen to her constantly. She truly touches my soul. The day she died I was devastated. I saw the memorial concert in NYC at the Beacon Theatre and cried through most of it. I wish that everyone could find someone who touches them like she did for me. It opened the world of music to me.
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One of the greatest songwriters of all time. Hugely under-rated in spite of the popularity of her songs - huge hits for others though I would rather hear her sing them anytime. I recently watched the R&R Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I was surprised to see Laura get inducted - I was surprised in finding that she wasn't already in there. A most deserved honor. For those of you that go to see her perform, I envy you.
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tiffaboo096
Every time I go to Greenwich Village, I feel Laura's presence and wish I had been around NYC in the early 70's.Truly the voice of an angel as Patti Labelle is as well in my mind. Joanie from Brooklyn introduced me from our second floor house in Ansley Park Atlanta.
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Nyro bridged so many genres and mothered so many women artists. She is a Goddess,
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we_are_qpr
@Jazzygranny 6 0 2 I agree with you! I grew up listening to Laura Nyro because my older sister is a huge fan. Nyro died of ovarian cancer just like my Mom. When Nyro passed I also called my sister because I knew she would be devastated to have lost her favourite singer to the same disease that claimed our mother. Both live on in our hearts and of course we have Laura Nyro's glorious music to always remember her by.
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Laura Nyro songs just do something to my heart. I saw her in Ann Arbor in the 80's and she was great! She has seen me through the highs and lows of my life. When I listen to her she takes me where I was when I first heard her. My children and grandchildre n know her songs and love them. When she died my brother and sister called me because they knew how much I loved that woman. Her songs are still relevant and listening to this I'm hearing songs I didn't even know she wrote!
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mbossin
Saw Laura in Miami in 67, she sang one song and he relectric piano broke..she cried and left the stage. Wore out 3 copies of Eli. saw her again in Detroit years later, pure magic.....st i l l listening daily
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Remember: it was Harry Nilsson who said there were two (2) interesting songwriters : Randy Newman and Laura Nyro.
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Magic.
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apryl_wime
Dionne Warwick covered this. I loved this song.
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Leave a comment…
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jyutka
Have been a fan since I was a teenager. The last time I heard her was in Greenwich Village in the 80's. Am still an avid listener of Laura Nyro.
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badcat1989
I heard recently that Laura Nyro will be inducted postumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was and incredible talent and I am a very long time fan!!
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I discovered Laura my freshman year at UMASS...Bril i a n t composer and songstresss. . C h e c k out Beads of Sweat....Suc h a shame she left us so soon..
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I didn't know she had died. I'm so sad for her, but will love her music forever. She soothes my soul and spirit.
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The soundtrack of my soul, of my youth, of my middle age. I love Laura Nyro. An incredible artist, a great loss.
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the soundtrack of my youth, just brilliant!!
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"Discovered" her in '68 and 40+ years later she still resonates. To Laura!
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anascott
Timeless...T o date, I have not found another artist that has touched me and is as talented as the incomparable Laura Nyro
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After more than 40 years I am still awestruck by dear Laura's artistry - her lyrics that make you feel what the subject of the song is feeling and her amazing voice. In a way I am glad that she didn't live to see the ugly place our world is becoming.
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It makes me cry to know she's gone. I'll love her and her music forever
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marcials66
Obsessed since 1970.
Blessed to catch her at Carnegie Hall.
Wow.
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bobbiz4
One of the most soul-piercin g artists; in voice, lyric and genuine emotion that connects with me little little else in pop music.
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Such an incredible artist. Sad she died at the same age and from the same disease that took her mother. Some of the best songs ever written.
Christmas In My Soul is an antidote for holiday music overdose.
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I still get chills when I listen to this beautiful creature-I fell in love with her at 23 and at 60 I'm just as much in love with her and her music and her voice; I saw her at Bumbershoot many years ago,shortly before her death-I will never forget
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vherring0
By far my favorite artist ever. I've been listening to her since I was 18. I am 61 now and she still makes me smile and sometimes cry. Thanks for the music Laura.
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monesala
she was truly ahead of her time and misunderstoo d . . . her music is so beautiful. we all miss her.
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Just the best....
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sojournln3
my hero,first saw her in philly at the acadmey of music late sixtys loved her ever since
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tmo999
wow...wonder f u l artist!!
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richjazzman
I wonder if eli ever came for her-I hope so-she's a truly great talent!!
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I was turned on to Laura by my dear friend, Kathleen who is no longer with us and had quite a bit of her music but unfortunatel y someone else kept all of it and I only have 1 cd now. I saw her in concert Mid Wilshire in Los Angeles towards the end of her life. She made some wonderful music and always, always reminds me of my beautiful friend no longer with us. I would like to build my music library with all of her music, especially the first ones.
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destinyameth y s t
eli and the thirteenth confession. amazing. I'd wake up early every morning just to listen to "timer" before I went to school.
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jloischild
I have been a laura nyro fan since the age of 16,,it's hard to find her on the radio any more, I welcome the chance to hear my laura again on Pandora.
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saber4x
she really touches my heart so much feeling such passion and brilliant innovative songcrafting too.
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