I'm a gay man and she's one of two or three women I've ever found hot.
For the last 30 years I thought the song Gloria was the theme song for the Gena Rowland movie of the same name. I just found out this year that's not the case.
I'm a young gay and I like Laura! "Self-Control" and "Gloria" are great songs. She should have had a bigger career. 1 of many acts in the biz who were somehow overwhelmed by less talented, more annoying acts (*cough* Madonna *cough*).
I read that Atlantic records had to work overtime to make Laura appear attractive and feminine on her albums and in her videos.
Off topic, Sheena Easton was arguably the first reality singing star and her makeover was well documented in the UK programme that made her a star. She was commonly referred to as "that homely lass" before winning a contest and record deal.
I'm 41 and loved her beyond words back in the 80s.
Great performer! So sad she died so young.
..and so much tragedy. Her brother to AIDS, then her husband died...
After Hurricane Gloria in 1985 the radio stations played "Gloria" constantly. We need a "Sandy".
There've already been three huge hits titled Sandy, all from the '60s. First by Larry Hall, then by Dion DiMucci and then by Ronny & the Daytonas.
Best original singer of her time! Now, we're stuck with Rhianna, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber.
How's that for a cultural shock?
She was a great singer with an awesome set of pipes.
But she happened a bit too late. She would've shined five years earlier in the disco era and even rivaling Donna Summer. She showed up a little late but she was the best.
She was always supportive of her gay fans even in the horrible first days of AIDS.
It's a shame she never gotten the credit she deserves.
Just listen to her version of
"I Found Someone" versus Cher's
"The Power of Love" versus Celine Dion's
"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," versus Michael Bolton's *yeah I know he wrote it.
She always comes out better
"Gloria" was the perfect mix of song and singer...
(Still miss you, Laura!)
[quote]"How Am I Supposed To Live Without You," versus Michael Bolton's *yeah I know he wrote it.
That was my heartbreak song, when my bf broke up with me. The most beautiful and heartbreaking song by Laura Branigan. I never thought she would die at such a young age.
OP, who were the other ones? I agree, she was hot. I always thought the song 'Gloria' was very sad and related to it.
That's weird R4 I thought that Sheena was fairly good looking. Great voice, but a definite fame whore.
She was an attractive mix of Irish and Italian. Nice curvy body (chunky by today's standards.) And, of course, THAT voice.
Two of her early albums are being reissued with 12" bonus tracks on Gold Legion Records. Can't wait to hear "The Lucky One" remixes.
Was it something that they said...all those voices in your head...
She never liked really anything she recorded, even though I like similar singers, Donna Summer especially. It could be more an aversion to her material and producers though, than her voice. I don't know how many people are familiar with the disco/dance diva France Joli, but I think she's actually a better comparison than Summer. Joli had very good looks and a voice at least as good as Branigan, she just wasn't as lucky as far as management and label support.
That paragraph is supposed to begin with "I". I imagine Laura did like a lot of what she recorded.
The Grammy-nominated pop star, famous for her 1982 platinum hit "Gloria," died in her sleep last Thursday night at her home in Quogue, New York.
Her brother Mark said she had complained of a headache for about two weeks before she died, but had not sought medical attention.
What to do about a persistent headache?
My best friend was troubled by a fierce, persistent headache for years; it got worse when he coughed, forcing him to bend over in agony.
Complicating things: he has high blood pressure, and is on medication for it.
Making things even more interesting: he's a board-certified, practicing clinical neurologist, with training under one of the greatest diagnosticians ever in the field.
So if even I, a gas-passer, know that he should've gone to see someone about two years ago, you'd thing he'd have come to a similar conclusion himself, right?
You'd be wrong.
He never went in, because, like me, he's petrified of doctors and medical work-ups.
We know what can happen when the rock starts to tumble down the hill.
So he waited to wake up dead one day, and lo and behold, the headaches went away a few months ago.
What were they?
Should Laura Branigan have gone in to see someone?
I don't know.
Most headaches go away on their own, so why bother?
If everyone with two weeks of persistent headache that was worse with coughing went in for an exam and cerebral angiography, the country would come to a halt and be bankrupt.
What's going on when you have a cerebral aneurysm, anyhow?
Well, it's a stretching/bulging/thinning of the arterial wall, is the pathophysiology.
When it gets thin enough, it bursts, and blood pours out under high pressure.
The bleeding continues until the pressure inside the skull is so great that the brain is forced downward through the hole at the base of the skull (the foramen magnum).
When that happens, the brain stem stops working, the heart stops, breathing ceases, and you're dead.
If you diagnose an aneurysm in time, it is an entirely curable condition.
The surgeon can clip it (isolate it from the main part of the artery); a radiologist can embolize it
(fill it with inert material that essentially isolates it from the main part of the artery).
These are tricky things: you can easily die during these procedures, or wake up hemiplegic.
I used to specialize in giving anesthesia for such neurosurgical vascular procedures, back when I was in academic anesthesia.
Nothing like taking the old blood pressure down to 60/35 and keeping it there so the surgeon can get a clip around the thing. Yee-ha!
Read my book if you need details on how to do it yourself.
When I was a med student at UCLA, the actress Patricia Neal came to the UCLA ER with complaints of an overpowering headache.
She was rushed to the angiography suite, where she became the unwitting star of one of the most stunning movies (medical diagnostic category) ever made.
As she lay on the table, the radiologists around her watched in awe as her brain aneurysm exploded in real time inside her unconscious head.
They rushed her to the operating room with their catheter still in her brain, and the neurosurgeon-on-call did a STAT craniotomy in record time, zipping off the top of her skull before the inexorable compression of her brain stem killed her.
She survived, and with intensive physical therapy recovered most of her capability.
Talk about luck.
"She was an attractive mix of Irish and Italian. Nice curvy body (chunky by today's standards.) And, of course, THAT voice"
Italian women generally look good a little meaty.
Oh, and yes, that voice.
So did Gloria emerge from her self-imposed exile or not?
Her two biggest hits, Gloria and Self Control, were rehashes of Italian hits which had already been chart toppers in Europe before she recorded them for the American market. Her original stuff was of inferior quality and that pretty much sums up her career.
We don't like r26
Rolling Stone magazine was critical of her voice, calling it rather blunt and unrefined.
R28 - So what? It was still powerful.
She sounded like a FOGHORN.
'Gloria' is still an awesome song, one of my favorite pop songs from the 80s, and Laura sang the hell out of it. I was very young at the time, and it wasn't until years later when I was much older that I figured out that the 'Gloria' Laura was singing about in the song was basically a used-up, fucked-out whore who was probably mentally ill.
The first time I heard "Gloria" was at Buddies in Boston in 1982. I was 15, and was there for an afternoon Boston Alliance of Gay and Lesbian Youth pizza party. I had just walked in, and it was the first time in my life I saw boys dancing with boys, same-sex teens kissing, holding hands, etc. It took me a minute or two to take it all in, and I felt for the first time that I was actually "OK." Whenever I hear "Gloria" to this day, it brings back that wonderful memory!
Actually, r26, she managed to snap up "Self Control" just after it was written (it was written with English lyrics); her version and the Italian version, by Raf, were released simultaneously. Although Raf had a #1 hit in Italy, Laura's version was the much bigger hit, going to #1 in Germany (6 weeks), Austria, Sweden, Switzerland and the overall Europe chart.
Aside from "Gloria" and "Self Control," her other top 40 hits in the U.S. were "Solitaire," "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You," "The Lucky One," "Spanish Eddie," and "Power of Love."
I loved her voice: it had a soulful emotionalism yet crystal clear tone. I was devastated when she passed away.
[quote] thought that Sheena was fairly good looking. Great voice, but a definite fame whore.
Sheena Easton was stunning but NOT WITH THAT HAIRCUT she had. You have to remember in the early 80s it was really fashionable for women to cut off almost all their hair.
Look at Pat Benetar or --gasp--Olivia Newton-John who cut off her long bleached locks for that awful "Physical" haircut. It didn't take her long to grow her hair back and keep it that way.
Look at Easton's first two album covers and she is not attractive. Then look as she grows her hair long. By the mid to late 80s and early 90s (The Lover In Me) she was smokin'
The short cut worked for Pat and Sheena, but not for ONJ.
ROLLING STONE also gave Britney Spears OOPS I DID IT AGAIN four stars. Like they have any critical judgement whatsoever.
I disagree with the short hair. ONJ is the only one who looked fucking hot with a mullet.
I was at my desk at work fucking off on the Internet when I read that Laura Branigan had died, and did an "Oh my god!" When my co-workers asked what was wrong, I covered it up with some work-related problem. MARY! moment!
She was only 40-something, it was sad.
Massive Laura fan here but some observations about her:
Great voice; one of the best pop voices I've ever been exposed to. But Laura had no--I mean NO--starpower at all. When she walked out on stage, you looked at the band. Or the audience member in front of you. And when she was on TV. . .my God. . .it was awful. She'd do the same move over and over again--run her hand through her hair. As a result, she'd start the number looking all neatly put together and end looking like she had just walked into a hurricane. (The infamous hand through hair move also made it into her videos--particularly "Shattered Glass".) And sometimes she walked out looking as if she didn't even give a shit. I remember one TV performance (I think it was to promote her superior version of "The Power of Love") and she had her hair on her head in a scrunchie or something. She looked like she worked in a freaking Chess King. It was horrendous. But she had that voice and, as a fan, you just ahd to say, "Oh well. Her voice is really waht counts"--but it was a shame because while she had some harsh features, she could photograph beautifully; she just didn't care to compete on that level even though that level became increasingly important as the 80's wore on. And then there was the matter of her material. Her record company kept her working with the right people for far too long, making them the right people at the wrong time, creating records that sounded outdated upon release. They also missed some great single opportunities. And, unfortuantely, Branigan herself had pretty pedestrian taste in music, liking and recording covers of songs by artists like Bryan Adams and Air Supply. So that great voice went to waste--on occasion--on some very mediocre material including, at the lowest point, a duet with--yes--David Hasselhoff. She was wasted when she should have been treasured and built up into something huge.
[quote]She was an attractive mix of Irish and Italian. Nice curvy body (chunky by today's standards.)
So you're saying she was the female version of Chris Christie?
I wish she would have done more stuff with Stock Aitken Waterman.
R42? I'm making a drinking game with that video: Every time she does that hand-in-her-hair thing, I'm taking a drink. I think she does that at least seven times in three minutes. How I wish someone had thought to get her a chorepgrapher or, at the very least, rubberband her wrists together until she stropped doing that.
Anyway--she only did two songs with SAW because she hated working with them. The way she performed and recorded was to run through the entire song, saying that it built the emotion that way. The way SAW worked was to record the chorus one time only and use that recording over and over, whenever the chorus appeared. So, where Laura would normally record by singing verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus, chorus, SAW would just have her do the verse, chorus, the verse, the bridge, and that was it. She felt the way they edited performances sucked the life out of a song and so, instead of them producing an entire album (which one can asssume may have reignited her career given that the SAW wave hit the US the summer after this album came out), she just used the two completed tracks and worked with other producers to finish out the album.
(That album, by the way--"Touch"--is her finest. With the exception of a cheesy, misguided "Name Game" cover, it's mix of half moody mid-tempo and half dance music is the most solid album of her career.)
Whoa! In this one--a great track from "Self Control"--she does the dramatic hand in hair move thirteen times! A baker's dozen! (And, on the fade out, I think she may have thrown in a bonus for fourteen repetitions in ffour minutes!)
Yes, I noticed this as an eleven or twelve year old and it has always bugged me. I used to watch her on "Solid Gold" or stay up late to watch her on Dock Clark specials. . .only to cringe and dream of being her choreographer. "STOP! TOUCHING! YOUR HAIR!"
I'll see your Gloria and your Celine, R46 and R47 and raise you one "Moonlight on Water", which I personally think is her best video and shows how downright gorgeous and stunning she could be. (Plus, it's one of my favorite songs.)
She was very talented and probably could have had a big career but her husband got sick at some point in the 80's and she left the business to take care of him. Similar to Celine Dion and Gloria Estefan, Laura's husband was a big shot record guy, I think at Atlantic, who had a svengali hold over his wife--he picked the songs, picked her outfits and managed everything. I guess when he died, she didn't know how to move forward, or things had changed and she was no longer in favor. SAD
Great info, R43--but what was the other song she did with SAW?
I almost forgot--the Popbitch newsletter posted an item a year or two before Laura died. Apparently some gay nightclub had hired her to perform, and on the bottom of advertising posters and flyers they had to put (I assume because of slow ticket sales):
"Notice! This is the REAL Laura Branigan, not a drag queen impersonator!"
Here's a link to the Popbitch item. Poor Laura--she deserved better!
Well, to be hones, with that mustache and waterpolo player shoulders, it would be hard to tell the real thing from an impersonator.
I LOVED Laura Branigan. She was actually the first performer I ever saw live (as a gayling (though I was closeted)). It was at a Melody Tent. The stage turned in a circle, constantly.
But powerful voice. I loved her music.
Like Kim Carnes (with her hand movement (see BDE, Invisible Hands, fuck, even the Diet Coke commercial) and awkward sexuality...should've been a bigger star.
Here's one of favorite early Branigan songs.
I don't know much about her, but I like the song "Gloria."
I'm like r56 -- I only knew Gloria, but really liked it, and felt very bad when she died so young.
R51, the other song was called "Wherever I Go (Whatever I Do)" and was on the "Touch" album. It was not an original track and had been a hit in the UK three years earlier for SAW artiost Hazel Dean. (Another fault of Branigan's albums was the constant recycling of songs; her label's A&R team did little to find original material--they suggested covers.)
HUGE Laura fan...even listened to "Solitaire" on the way into work this morning. As a baby gay, she was one of the first concerts I attended. It was at the height of "Self Control" and I was in heaven. My older brother, who had to drive me since I was around 11, was mortified the whole time.
She should have been a bigger star...but as others have said here, she didn't have a lot of star power, and wasn't really all that interested in her "image"...CLEARLY. Some of the outfits and hairstyles she appeared in were awful. Even the cover of the Self Control album--her biggest seller--had a HORRIBLE cover photo that didn't even really look like her.
I agree with above poster--"Touch" was her best album, despite "The Name Game". It still pisses me off that Cher and Celine had bigger hits with covers of songs Laura did first.
[quote]the cover of the Self Control album--her biggest seller--had a HORRIBLE cover photo that didn't even really look like her.
Was that the one where he hair was all kinked in that ugly 80s way and her nose looked odd?
That was it, r60. It was a pretty bad cover, and Laura looked sedated or something.
Like others said, Laura had a great, fabulous voice but NO style or 'pizzazz' whatsoever. She looked like any chick you would have seen at the mall. In the 80s, having a certain look and being 'hot' became just as important as the music itself. It became very much about image, and Laura just didn't seem to give a shit. I think if she had been a few years older and hit in the 70s instead of the 80s she would have been a lot bigger because the gimmicky image thing wasn't nearly as important then, and 70s music was more about the vocals than the looks. Everything changed when MTV arrived in the 80s. Laura had a few big hits, but she was only popular on the charts for 2 or 3 years.
She wasn't that good and her songs were commercial schlock. You fanbois are ridiculous.
In R61's pic Laura looks like a young Madonna, only even prettier
She sounds ridiculous singing rock I saw her do a Janis Joplin song on the Tonight Show and she was terrible. I thought she copied Donna Summer a lot except her voice was not anywhere near as good and her albums and singles weren't very good either.
"Solitaire" always got to me, especially that big note at the end that keeps going. She didn't have much showmanship and it was a weird transitional time too (she was on "CHIPs", for chrissakes) but she was a truly great voice.
Anyone looking for a peer has to listen to Irene Cara (and not just the obvious hits)... another one who got shortchanged career-wise. She was wonderful, I thought.
Two comments on the 'Shattered Glass' video
1. Why didn't PETA raise any flags about the fishbowl image? The goldfish were clearly alive and swimming when they detonated the bowl.
2. The makeup artist used dark eyeshadow deep into the folds of Laura's eyelids, this is supposed to make the eye appear to have a heavy lid sitting in a dark pool. Stevie Nicks does the same technique, there is an interesting (?) video of Stevie applying her own make-up during the Rumours tour and explaining the technique and why she does it. Stevie's eyes were much more successful than Laura's creepy looking eyes in some of the sequences in the 'Shattered Glass' video.
R61's pic looks like Alicia Florrick, as played by Julianna Margulies on 'The Good Wife'
R66 - PETA wasn't as much of a force then.
I love "Self control". wasn't the video banned on MTV or something? They played it a lot in Canada & I found it cool & scary as a kid.
"Was that the one where he hair was all kinked in that ugly 80s way and her nose looked odd?"
She looked that way on all her album covers. Because that's how she looked. Umph--that NOSE!
She was good but her husband backed her up so much that is why she had any success. But then again Pia Zadora could actually sing too. She did a good job on her records, but she had such a bad rep from the start.
The problem with the 80s was Madonna took over and blasted everyone else out. Then the rock era ended around 1988 and the R&B and rap replaced rock as mainstream.
Thus you had people like Olivia Newton-John trying to be the queen of kink and failing at it, largely as it wasn't her personality and she was too old
Sheena Easton tried to follow ON-J and had more success pulling off the look and could sing R&B with any of them. But she had backlash against her constantly from country and R&B singers.
The move to R&B allowed black singers to take over even more. Oddly enough in music blacks have always been over represented. If you look at #1 hits on the pop charts alone, you find 1972 was the lowest year for blacks and they still had 14% of all #1 hits, which is above their national percentage.
Janet Jackson was quite the failure at first. She couldn't get anywhere with her earlier albums because her voice is just not that hot. It's not bad, but it's nothing special. Video allowed her to be positioned as a singer. And she became a hit because of music video.
If you look at the old "Diff'rent Strokes" episode where Willis forms a band to manage and has to choose between Kimberly his sister and Charlene his girlfriend, it's embarrassing to hear that Dana Plato's voice runs rings around Janet Jackson's voice and is just so much better.
Branigan was a great singer but as someone else said, she arrived too late on the scene for her type of music. She'd have been much, much bigger if she arrived five years earlier.
R65, agreed that Irene Cara was great. Her problem was the exact opposite, though: unlike Branigan, who may have had some backing from her husband (who I thought was a banker, not a music industry exec as someone earlier claimed) Cara had no one in her corner and, at the end of the day, an entire industry against her. Here career-long manager stole millions and, though found guilty, never repaid her. . .and then she (the manager) died. Cara's recording contract left her with no royalties from "Flashdance"--the single that went gold several times over, was #1 for something like five weeeks, hit all over the world., won an Oscar, Grammy, etc. When she sued to get out of her contract and to be paid royalties, she was suing a powerful player in the biz with lots of friends--and that's why her career vanished almost overnight. She went from being A-list from 1980 through 1984 to unwelcome on any list by 1987.
Sounds like it would make a great 'Unsung' episode.
R70 - She had a beautiful nose.
Laura and Irene both were great. They both should have been 2 of the biggest 80s stars instead of lessers like Vadge and Janet.
I love Gloria. I remember laughing at that song with my sister when we were young because the lyrics sounded like they were about some delusional skank.
The Freidkin directed "Self Control" video was damn shocking for its time and quite avant-garde. Ithad to be cut for MTV in the U.S. Remember, Madge's "virgin/whore" schtick had yet to take off fully early in the spring of 1984, so Laura was shockingly the sex-siren at that moment in time. The fact that she had a superb voice makes the song's massive success even sweeter.
Patty Smyth was better, I saw Scandal live back in the day at the Ritz. They rocked, new wave rock
Bump because I heard "The Lucky One" today. I remember when she was a big enough deal that radio would even play her non-single tracks, like "Deep in the Dark", which was basically a copy of "Der Kommisar"...
"Branigan 2" was the first cassette I bought to listen to in my first car. Memories!
She was SO awkward, but I loved her voice. She could belt, for sure. Sad she didn't have a bigger career or live longer.
R40, I agree. Kim Carnes had the same problem. Just a shade too late.
MTV devoured each of them.
And Carnes had the likes of Ken Kragen in her corner.
Both very talented. Carnes still tours, is still popular in S America and Europe.
What a shame that Branigan died. "Solitaire" and "All Night With Me" were classic 80s hits.
Her death, at age 47 in 2004, was a shock.
Laura Branigan was one I thought would live a long life. (Meaning, she wouldn't die before reaching senior-citizen age.)
I'm sorry she is no longer alive.