It goes without saying that you don't have to condone the lifestyle or personal social and political views of a singer-songwriter to appreciate their music and artistry, and that's certainly the case for me in respect to the late Laura Nyro, who died in 1997 at the age of 49 of ovarian cancer. Nyro was an immensely talented singer and songwriter that emerged in the Sixties at the then young age of 17 (for musicians). She brought a blend of New York City Brill-Building style pop (a la Gerry Goffin and Carole King), soul, R & B, folk, and jazz -- influencing others like Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon, and Riki Lee Jones. The Wikipedia entry (worth reading in itself )summarizes her astounding, youthful success like this:
"Born in the The Bronx, New York, of Italian-American and Jewish-American parents, Nyro was best known by the general public – and had the most commercial success – as a songwriter rather than a performer. Her best-known songs include "And When I Die" (made a hit by Blood, Sweat & Tears), "Stoney End" (covered by Barbra Streisand), "Wedding Bell Blues," "Stoned Soul Picnic," "Sweet Blindness," "Save the Country" (all covered by the Fifth Dimension), and "Eli's Coming" (a hit for Three Dog Night). Ironically, Nyro's own best-selling single was a cover of Carole King and Gerry Goffin's "Up on the Roof."
Nyro had great integrity, even if I may disagree with her social advocacy via her music (she was a feminist, pacifist, and animal rights advocate). She refused to allow the music industry to exploit her, declining, for the most part, videos and television appearances.
Lyrically, she moved from teenage angst to more issue oriented music. Personal difficulty followed her. Her marriage failed, and she formed a personal relationship with a female partner, presumably meaning she was a lesbian. I listen to her music -- to her soulful soaring voice, full of emotion -- with a degree of sadness for her lostness and yet a joy in the fine voice and music only God can give. I'm just a pushover for female voices, and Nyro strikes a chord with me.
I selected my favorite of her songs. You can listen to this medley by clicking the link below:
Link: Best of Laura Nyro.
1. Brown Earth - Laura Nyro 2. Blackpatch - Laura Nyro 3. Blowing Away - Laura Nyro 4. And When I Die - Laura Nyro 5. It's Gonna Take A Miracle - Laura Nyro 6. Up On The Roof - Laura Nyro 7. Emmie - Laura Nyro 8. Louise's Church - Laura Nyro 9. Broken Rainbow - Laura Nyro 10. To A Child - Laura Nyro 11. Children Of The Junks - Laura Nyro 12. I Met Him On A Sunday - Laura Nyro 13. Spanish Harlem - Laura Nyro 14. Time And Love - Laura Nyro
Enjoy the music!