It’s cool to blog from an airplane.
Laura Nyro was simply amazing. I’ve always had a bit of a problem with the idea that it’s sadder that somebody died prematurely because they were so talented. It’s a shame because the person died, and the level of their talent or accomplishment doesn’t make it worse. That’s said, it is a damn shame that this is what did happen to Nyro, who passed away at age 49 in 1997 from ovarian cancer.
Here is Wikipedia’s take:
She achieved critical acclaim with her own recordings, particularly the albums Eli and the Thirteenth Confession and New York Tendaberry, and had commercial success with artists such as Barbra Streisand and The 5th Dimension recording her songs. Her style was a hybrid of Brill Building-style New York pop, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, show tunes, rock and soul.
Between 1968 and 1970, a number of artists had hits with her songs: The 5th Dimension with “Blowing Away”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Save The Country” and “Black Patch”; Blood, Sweat & Tears and Peter, Paul & Mary with “And When I Die”; Three Dog Night and Maynard Ferguson with “Eli’s Coming”; and Streisand with “Stoney End”, “Time and Love”, and “Hands off the Man (Flim Flam Man)”. Nyro’s best-selling single was her recording of Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up on the Roof.”
Here are a demo of When I Die (when she was 18), Eli’s Coming and, of course, Stone Soul Picnic. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of good video of Nyro, who I think had a strong resemblance to Amy Winehouse.