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Laura Nyro & LaBelle

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

Comments

Always come back to the Voice of Laura
malpelir
Grew up in Queens. had a friend who attended Music and Art with Laura. I had a crush on her from day 1. 45 years later, this lady is still the epitome of music. And the crush lives on, stronget than ever.
Laura had such talent and her music is as vibrant as it was in the 70's. love Spanish Harlem song
Why do they not play her songs more?
Laura, you still get me through....
Miss you so....
why did light have to burn out so soon? love you and bless you, Laura
Finally made the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Shame on them for not recognizing her sooner.
She's incredible. voice gives me chills. and SO underrated!
Been a fan since 1972 upon my return from an overseas tour, all of her music is beautiful.
eonchontay
Laura,
You are in our hearts forever. Thank you for the music.
kmounds
Laura
saw you live at the egg in albany ny, great concert! we still love you
kmounds
Laura is the east coast vocal goddess like Joni Mitchell was on the west coast while residing in Laurel Canyon. Laura's soaring vocals & intimate lyrics about Tom Cats and her beloved New York City are haunting & she is just in a league unto herself. Her vocal phrasing with piercing soprano elevations and womanly whispers are otherwordly when testisfying her marvelous frank lyrics. So unrecognized as a major artist but her time will come but her legions of fantical fans will always carry Laura i
starami8
Miss you Miss Laura!!!!
I love her from the bottom of my heat and always will.
Her voice is like a bird singing in my ear. It also reminds me of my late wife who also loved her.
I could never get enough of Ms Nyro. I saw her in concert at Marymount College, Tarrytown, NY and was absolutely blown away. She lives on in the music after leaving us with an impressive collection of work. Love you, Girl!
rhcordova
Laura Nyro is the best! Imagine if she had made music her whole short life. Ive been listening to her amazing voice since 1970.
I just love listening to her music, been a fan since late 60's up to the end of my life..
rpaeper
I can't get her out of my head, so I feel that I can listen to her forever even though she died so early and tragically, like Gilda Radner.
I have to say that Laura Nyro is my all time favorite and it saddens me so that I never got to meet her. She just touches my soul and has since I first heard her at age 13. I wonder if her child is a musician today. I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. Does anyone now if she had a son or daughter? Are they playing music?
the best there was.
Love the ststion; just wanted to change it to Laura Nyro without LaBelle to give it added versatility. I really like this sation. It gives me a sense of nostalgic importance. The best music machine I've ever listened to. Ha. I wonder why?
Keep em comin Dennis Johnson

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