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Laura Nyro

Unique and brilliant songwriter and singer. Why wasn't she popular? And was Laura Nyro a good performer in front of live audiences?

by Anonymousreply 8505/17/2013

Laura Nyro was one of my all-time favorites. She wrote some amazing stuff. She was, however, quite shy and not what you would call a magnetic stage performer. Still, she was mesmerizing to watch, because she was SO into her music and seemed almost carried away, lost in the song. I saw her three times in concert and enjoyed every one of them. She was brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 109/14/2010

It depends on how you define popularity.

Her songs were obviously very successful when covered by pop acts of the day. Her own performance of them was quirky and wonderful. Many of her albums were 'mid-charters' on Billboard. The 2001 release, recorded shortly before Nyro's passing, hit #8. She enjoyed great critical success, too.

2004's Live at the Filmore: 1971 includes very memorable performances, and a personal favorite is her interaction with audience members who shout "we love you!' at the start of Save the Country. Her riff about "it all goes down in the book of life" is electric, as is the song.

by Anonymousreply 209/14/2010

there's a great youtube link of her live studio audience performance of "He's a Runner". I can't download it right now though.

by Anonymousreply 309/14/2010

very popular with other composers & musicians.%0D friend of sondheim.%0D genius.

by Anonymousreply 409/14/2010

Her midlife club tour was successful - I saw her live and she was very comfortable. Some of her early performances were disastrous and she got a reputation for being extremely temperamental.%0D %0D NEW YORK TENDABERRY and ELI AND THE 13th CONFESSION were brilliant but a lot of the songs were quite obscure, not to all tastes by any means. After those albums she had the usual 70s 80s difficulties with record companies when the boom years had ended.%0D %0D And many years of semiretirement . . . %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 509/14/2010

Went to her memorial concert at The Beacon. She died of uterine cancer I believe. She was an out lesbian and I remember Sandra Bernhard and Desmond Child performing.

by Anonymousreply 609/14/2010

I LOVED her and still listen to her music today.I think she was a major talent.%0D I think her problem was that she was not attractive enough.%0D While she was a good looking human I don't think her look was marketable like per se Carol King's look was. I may be wrong.

by Anonymousreply 709/14/2010

Her "Gonna Take A Miracle" album recorded with LaBelle is still one of my favorite albums of all time!

by Anonymousreply 809/14/2010

It wasn't that she tried to make it as a pop star and couldn't, it was that she really wasn't interested in going that route. She was very young when her songwriting career took off and she was successful enough that she didn't have to go out there herself and sell her songs. %0D %0D This was also the era when certain successful performers like Glenn Gould and Barbra Streisand and the Beatles realized they could make a very good living just by recording their music and not have to put themselves through the living hell of touring. %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 909/14/2010

Why wasn't she a big name star?%0D One reason: she was very, very weird.%0D %0D I always thought she was overrated as a songwriter. "Stoned Soul Picnic" is particularly dreadful. Its lyrics (she must have been stoned when she wrote them) are as follows:%0D %0D Can you surry, can you picnic?%0D %0D Can you surry, can you picnic?%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D There'll be lots of time and wine%0D %0D Red yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine%0D %0D Red yellow honey%0D %0D Sassafras and moonshine (moonshine)%0D %0D Stoned soul, stoned soul%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D Rain and sun come in akin%0D %0D And from the sky come the Lord and the %0D lightning%0D %0D And from the sky come%0D %0D The Lord and the lightning%0D %0D Stoned soul, stoned soul%0D %0D Surry on soul%0D %0D Surry, Surry, Surry, Surry%0D %0D There'll be trains of blossoms (there'll be trains of blossoms)%0D %0D There'll be trains of music (there'll be music)%0D %0D There'll be trains of trust, trains of golden dust%0D %0D Come along and surry on sweet trains of thought%0D %0D Surry on down%0D %0D Can you surry, can you surry%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D Surry down to a stoned soul picnic%0D %0D There'll be lots of time and wine%0D %0D Red yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine%0D %0D Red yellow honey%0D %0D Sassafras and moonshine (moonshine)%0D %0D Stoned soul, stoned soul%0D %0D Stoned soul yeah%0D %0D Surry on soul%0D %0D Surry%0D

by Anonymousreply 1009/14/2010

I disagree,r10; I think the lyrics have an odd poetry of their own, and the song itself sets a certain mood. It certainly reminds me of sunny days when my friends and I would get together at Belmont Lake and get high, play Frisby and walk the trails talking, watching boats on the lake and the play of light on the water

by Anonymousreply 1109/14/2010

I think I'm in an LTR with r11... :)

by Anonymousreply 1209/14/2010

Wholeheartedly agree with R8. "Gonna Take a Miracle" is beautiful. And her version of "The Wind" is incredibly haunting.

by Anonymousreply 1309/14/2010

She bombed horribly at Monterey Pop and it affected her for years. I think she actually got booed.%0D %0D Love some of the covers of her songs. It's hilarious how The 5th Dimension was able to give such a sunny, uplifting veneer to a song as druggy as "Stoned Soul Picnic".

by Anonymousreply 1409/14/2010

Three Dog Night's live version of "Eli's Comin'" rocks. I don't think she wrote "Gonna Take a Miracle" however.

by Anonymousreply 1509/14/2010

I read that she was a bit crazy...

by Anonymousreply 1609/14/2010

She may never have been a superstar performer, but she was very well respected within the industry, and her fanbase was a devoted one. I remember when she died, one of the usegroups I was on...(remember those?) had posting after posting by people who simply ADORED her work to a life-changing extent. (Surprisingly, a lot of them were guys).%0D %0D There was also an off-Broadway revue of her work ("Eli's Coming") that ran briefly after her death (coinciding, I think, with the period after 9/11 when pretty much EVERYTHING in theater, especially outside the Theater District had a hard time running).%0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 1709/14/2010

She was represented for years by Geffen. That would make anyone crazy.

by Anonymousreply 1809/14/2010

Teddy Randazzo, Bob Weinstein, Lou Stallman wrote "Gonna Take A Miracle." Randazzo also wrote "Hurt So Bad." I just looked at the album "Gonna" and her face looks a lot like Lady Gaga.

by Anonymousreply 1909/14/2010

No one has mentioned her heroine addiction? That's always a downer when it comes to careers. %0D %0D She was probably one of the most gifted songwriters of all time. And a terrific singer. But screwed up on drugs. Lived an unhappy life.%0D %0D The Best of Laura Nyro album is one of the greatest of all time.

by Anonymousreply 2009/14/2010

Hope she made it into "Best Female albums"thread

by Anonymousreply 2109/14/2010

Janis Ian speaks of Nyro in her autobiography "Society's Child":%0D %0D "My agent, David Geffen, wanted me to meet some local people closer to my own age. He was also representing Laura Nyro, and he arranged an evening for the three of us. We spent most of it in his limousine, riding around downtown and smoking pot. I invited Laura to dinner at out new apartment, promising to cook. On September 24, I opened the door to see her standing there, clutching a portable television.%0D %0D "Laura, we have a television here," I said. She explained that friend Peggy Lipton was starring in a new show called "The Mod Squad", premiering that night, and she didn't want to miss it. So we watched tv through dinner, smoked some dope, and made our goodbyes.%0D %0D I'd known Laura vaguely from Music and Art, where she was two years ahead of me and had a reputation for being weird. You could hear her coming; she wore a long coat that clanked as the Cheracol bottles hidden in her pockets collided. She'd sip from them throughout the day, her eyes getting duller and duller by the hour. In her bright red lipstick and long black dresses she looked like a caricature of Morticia Adams, with bigger hips. But she was an amazing songwriter, and I really respected her. In fact, for my next album I'd deliberately chosen Charlie Callelo as producer, based on his work with Laura.%0D %0D Still, she was strange, and oddly inarticulate for a songwriter. Charlie once called me in a panic and asked me to rush down to a session they were doing. Laura was having hysterics because the band couldn't play what she wanted. I arrived to see Charlie walking out of the studio with Laura slung over his shoulder. She was kicking and screaming and crying with frustration. She looked around the room, pointed at a purple chair and told me, "Like that. I want it to sound like THAT."%0D %0D I walked back into the studio, looked at the chart, and told the musicians, "She wants it legato. A deep, mysterious legato. Not quite largo, but legato." They got it one the next take and congratulated me on my translation skills."%0D %0D "Legato" is Italian for "tied together." In music terms, it indicates that musical notes are played or sung smoothly and connected. That is, in transitioning from note to note, there should be no intervening silence.%0D %0D "Largo" means a very slow tempo. %0D

by Anonymousreply 2209/14/2010

[quote]No one has mentioned her heroine addiction? That's always a downer when it comes to careers. %0D %0D Which heroines was she addicted to?

by Anonymousreply 2309/16/2010

I like her music but agree her lyrics could be baffling- like Stoned Soul Picnic.%0D %0D Anyone know what Stoney End is about? I agree with Barbra who while happy to have a hit said she did not really know what she was singing- thus avoids singing it.

by Anonymousreply 2409/16/2010

"I Am the Blues" from the Smile album is one of my all time favorite songs.

by Anonymousreply 2509/16/2010

"Gonna Take a Miracle" is an album of cover songs -- classics from the 60s, e.g. "Dancing in the Streets," "Jimmy Mack," "(There is) A Rose in Spanish Harlem" etc etc backed by LaBelle as they were then known (Patti, Nona, and Sarah) and yes, Patti is allowed some vocal pyrotechnics.

It's a fabulous recording.

by Anonymousreply 2609/16/2010

Being booed at Monterey Pop is a myth, likely created by lousy music critics and then repeated.

by Anonymousreply 2709/16/2010

sorry to say, but she is one of the most overrated songwriters i have ever heard.%0D I admit i pay more attention to piano than most as i have played it since i was 4, but the piano in these songs all sound the same to me!!!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 2805/06/2011

She was what Madonna and Gaga pretend to be. She didn't court commericialism. She hated doing television and rarely gave interviews. Letterman was a huge fan and tried for years to book her, but she refused every time. She just didn't want to be bothered with the bullshit of being famous.%0D %0D But she had a shitload of money, thanks to all those covers of her songs, so she could do that.

by Anonymousreply 2905/06/2011

"I agree with Barbra who while happy to have a hit said she did not really know what she was singing."%0D %0D I thought it was tasteless for her to do that routine in concert.

by Anonymousreply 3005/06/2011

There is a difference in the idea of popularity now and back then. Nyro was very big in the music business and for followers of music she was a star. There's just not a lot of comparison to make between fame now and fame then. Both the ability to make a name for yourself in the world at large and the tactics used are so very different now. %0D %0D That she was able to produce such a quantity of quality music - some absolutely sublime - is an incredible achievement. I loved seeing her perform and for those who haven't you can see her on Youtube.

by Anonymousreply 3105/06/2011

I really looked forward to Janis Ian's autobiography - but I was very disappointed when it finally appeared. I felt that it glossed over a lot of stuff and was rather nasty about other things (including some former lovers). It seems a bit odd that Laura Nyro is only mentioned on those two pages and in such a negative way, particularly when so many other performers aren't mentioned or are only mentioned in passing. For example, Steve Goodman is mentioned on one page only, in one sentence only: "Backstage, I sat and talked with the other performers, meeting up with old friends like Steve Goodman and David Bromberg."

by Anonymousreply 3205/06/2011

I LOVE Laura Nyro's music. I'm 32 and did not discover her until after her untimely death. She was a beautiful singer and songwriter.

by Anonymousreply 3305/06/2011

Can only agree with what many other posters have already said.%0D %0D I was a huge fan when I was in college in the early 70s and saw her twice in concert in Boston. %0D %0D Unfortunately, both times she severely disappointed....very awkward and inarticulate in front of an audience and would only sing new sad bluesy material and none of her well-known hits: Wedding Bell Blues, Stony End, California Shoeshine Boys, Stoned Soul Picnic, Flim-Flam Man, Goodbye, Bill, etc. %0D %0D And she smoked nasty cigarettes as she sang!%0D %0D But I still love listening to those greatest hits and no one (including Barbra), IMHO sang them better.

by Anonymousreply 3405/06/2011

"Stoned Soul Picnic" is so Michfest.

by Anonymousreply 3505/06/2011

Any gay man who does not like her should hand in his card--now.%0D %0D With Joni Mitchell, it is all about the poetry--with Nyro, it is all about the poetic. Listen to "Blue," and then listen to "He's A Runner." Sad, sad songs about love, and Nyro's tune has lyrics that suggest a mood. Mitchell's "Blue" can stand by itself as a song because of the lyrics. "He's A Runner" does not "read" like a great song, but when you hear Nyro's recording it is a revelation. There is something in her voice, in her recording, that is so unique, so special.%0D %0D Janis Ian? Fuck her. A hack who should have quit at 17 and found a job at WaWa.%0D %0D And yes to "Gonna Take a Miracle." Girl power! If your heart does not break when you hear Nyro sing "Up on the Roof" you should have your ears lopped off. What Nyro captures in her recording is what no one else has ever gotten, including Carole King: the lonely, desperate feeling of someone who still has a reason to go on.%0D %0D I love her. May she rest in peace.

by Anonymousreply 3605/06/2011

I meant Godbye, Joe....not Goodbye, Bill!%0D %0D Always loved Goodbye, Joe as an "anthem" to Joe Namath!

by Anonymousreply 3705/06/2011

I saw Laura Nyro when I was a kid at a very small club. My dad took me.

It was just her on the piano and she was amazing.

by Anonymousreply 3805/06/2011

I dare anyone to listen to "Angel In the Dark" and not have an emotional reaction. It is a beautiful piece of music.

by Anonymousreply 3905/06/2011

Original, brilliant people are allowed, even encouraged, to be crazy. And the world is a better place for their craziness. Otherwise, it would all be fake-safe and boring.

by Anonymousreply 4005/06/2011

I meant "and if your heart does not break..." I love, love, love "Christmas and the Beads of Sweat." I wore it out when I first bought it, and it is a desert island disc.

by Anonymousreply 4105/06/2011

R10,%0D %0D I always felt that the lyrics to Stoned Soul Picnic suggest something akin to a black southern spiritual ("surry on soul"). What beautiful imagery, too ... "red yellow honey" *sigh*

by Anonymousreply 4205/06/2011

Yes - Laura Nyro was a terrific talent and janis Ian is just plain jealous. what a self-congratulatory anecdote! And just because you've played piano since you were 4 you are not necessarily any judge of talent nor do you necessarily have any of your own. Nyro was a great songwriter. Her stuff is covered and will always be covered - who covers Ian's stuff?

by Anonymousreply 4305/06/2011

Isn't it "surrey"?

by Anonymousreply 4405/06/2011

r 35: Nyro performed at Michfest!

by Anonymousreply 4505/06/2011

If Streisand didn't understand Stoney End she is pretty stupid.

I suspect, instead, that she was made uncomfortable by the lyric "I raised on Jesus until I read between the lines."

Steisand has never been a deep thinker and as a Jew she was probably uncomfortable making a solid diss on the fantasy known as Christianity.

by Anonymousreply 4605/06/2011

"Angel In the Dark" is a great song... One thing about Laura Nyro is that she bleeds emotion when she sings...

by Anonymousreply 4705/06/2011

surry: tTo move with the expectation of having a good time.

"red,yellow sassafras and moonshine"

60s retro language for gettin'high

by Anonymousreply 4805/06/2011

First of all, I'd say that "surry" is a misspelling of "surrey", a sort of horse carriage; "surrey down" would mean "take a carriage down to . . ."

As for "stoned soul picnic", I think that's also a misspelling. It should be "stone soul picnic", with the word "stone" being slang for "real" or "genuine", as in "that man's a stone fool".

A "stone soul picnic" is probably, given other references to "plenty of time and wine", "come the Lord and the lightning", etc, a reference to some sort of Christian concept of a happy gathering of souls (i.e. heaven). Song lyric transcription is often inaccurate and there can be many versions floating around. For example, a site shows both "surry" and "surrey", and while the lyrics show "stoned soul picnic", the song's title is given as "Stone Soul picnic":

by Anonymousreply 4905/06/2011

Nice comments r36. Back then Joni got all the attention (including from me), Nyro despite some great songs that perfectly capture that era, was somehow sidelined as Carole King and Carly Simon also dominated with James Taylor etc -it was that great era of the singer-songwriters. %0D %0D The pop music scene was so different then - these people were revered by their fans but were not mobbed in the streets and could travel around freely - I (yes its me again) met Joni Mitchell casually in the street and had a nice chat with her as we walked along (back in 72, when we were both 26), that was at Kings Road in Chelsea, London (as I detailed before), but nowadays you simply wouldnt be able to approach a name like that as they travel with minders and entourages. %0D %0D I am in the mood though for listening to Nyro more now, what a unique talent.

by Anonymousreply 5005/06/2011

"There'll be trains of blossoms (there'll be trains of blossoms)"%0D %0D I always thought it was "There'll be trays of possom (there'll be trays of possom)

by Anonymousreply 5105/07/2011


by Anonymousreply 5205/07/2011

Eli's coming, hide your heart girl.

by Anonymousreply 5305/07/2011

Re: Stoney End's alternate lyrics:%0D %0D This song, later a hit for Barbra Streisand, was the original b-side to Nyro's debut single "Wedding Bell Blues". The song was selected from Nyro's debut album ("More Than a New Discovery"), but when it came time to put it on a b-side, the record company balked at the line about being "raised on the good book Jesus," fearing that might be offensive. %0D %0D Nyro wrote a few substitute lines but she didn't just punch them in -- she re-recorded the entire vocal. So this version has never been rereleased on LP or CD, although it would have made a nice bonus track. The mix is also slightly different than on the original LP.%0D %0D Nyro's altered opening lines are "I was born from love/ and I was raised on golden rules/ till the love of a winsome Johnny/ taught me love was made for fools." %0D %0D Interestingly, Nyro would go on to use the uncommon word "winsome" on her next album in the closing track: ("Oh, I hate my winsome lover").%0D %0D %0D %0D

by Anonymousreply 5405/07/2011

Laura's son is now a rapper. Interesting she didn't leave him anything in her will...she was loaded, too.

by Anonymousreply 5505/07/2011

"she was loaded"%0D %0D Was she?

by Anonymousreply 5605/07/2011

The myth that Nyro bombed at Monterey is disproven by the clips of her performance, e.g., this YouTube one, with the end of Wedding Bell Blues and the entire, amazing Poverty Train.

by Anonymousreply 5705/07/2011

As a kid in the '60s was introduced to Nyro's work via the pop covers of Wedding Bell Blues (of course, my ears pinged because the song starts off with my name ... and what ego-centric kid doesn't respond to that?!?), Eli's Coming, Save the Country, and later, of course, to Stoney End. Shoplifted New York Tendaberry from the local five-and-dime, and at first just couldn't get into it. But over time it taught me to listen in a way that people often talk about Dylan. Have always responded to her mix of folk, pop, doo-wop, and her poetry. I think her stuff will hold up as well as Carole King's and Joni Mitchell's.

by Anonymousreply 5805/29/2011

Im in my 20s the genius of Laura Nyro was passed on to me from my father. It saddens me when my peers dont know who Nyro is, but think Taylor Swift is genius.

by Anonymousreply 5906/22/2011

Streisand Should have done the Nyro Album instead of that Bergman thing she is putting out as "Art"

by Anonymousreply 6006/29/2011

To R20: I don't know where you get your information, but your ASSertion that Laura Nyro was a heroin addict is so out there, untrue, I think maybe you're projecting... In any case she didn't do drugs; if you could produce any evidence to the contrary I'd love to hear it.

by Anonymousreply 6102/16/2013

Geffen was very good to her. and it was she who turned on him. A great read is 'The Operator" about Geffen. He comes off quite vulnerable, brilliant, and surprisingly likable.

by Anonymousreply 6202/16/2013

I found her Gonna Take A Miracle album irksome. Having Labelle on background when they could also sing better that she could. It was hardly a Dusty in Memphis situation.

by Anonymousreply 6302/16/2013

[quote] when they could also sing better

when they could all..

by Anonymousreply 6402/16/2013

R61 she was a fucking DRUG ADDICT. You are dense and foolish. Do some research before you speak.


by Anonymousreply 6502/16/2013

R62 is David Geffen's current beau. Laura did flake out on David though I must admit. Geffen for all his reputation as a bulldog is very loyal to his freinds,I'll give him. I'm a big fan of Laura's BUT she wnet back on her word and that was self serving.

by Anonymousreply 6602/16/2013

I love Laura so love that a thread about her keeps getting revived annually.

The PBS show on David Geffen had a lot of info about Laura and their relationship.

Off to read R65's link.

by Anonymousreply 6702/16/2013

Thanks for this thread, DLers!

I had never heard of her--I think I'm in love.

by Anonymousreply 6802/17/2013

Laura was so cool.

by Anonymousreply 6902/17/2013

Agree 100% w/ (36)

by Anonymousreply 7002/17/2013

Fun facts:

Her original name was Laura Nigro. Jewish mother; Italian father.

by Anonymousreply 7102/17/2013

Nyro is an original. Some of her works soared, some were a little tangential. Her 'mistakes' are more interesting than most folks' hits.

I discovered her a few years ago and was floored by how amazing her music was. Especially Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. But I also loved When I Was a Freeport and You Were The Main Drag.

[quote] Im in my 20s the genius of Laura Nyro was passed on to me from my father. It saddens me when my peers dont know who Nyro is, but think Taylor Swift is genius.

This, a hundred times this.

by Anonymousreply 7202/17/2013

I enjoyed her work with Labelle.

by Anonymousreply 7302/17/2013

The whole Laura/Labelle album was done in three days.

"The Bells" is amazing. When Patti and Laura's voices soar (around 1:30 here) I get goosebumps.

by Anonymousreply 7402/17/2013

This is one of Laura's best IMO!

by Anonymousreply 7502/17/2013

The Bells is also outstanding with Labelle

by Anonymousreply 7602/17/2013

[quote] It was hardly a Dusty in Memphis situation.

Well, nothing could be as FLAWLESS as that! LOL

by Anonymousreply 7702/17/2013

Possibly one of the half dozen best female singers of the last half of the 20th century. But she really has lost her fame. Most people I know under the age of 40 haven't heard of her. Poor Laura.

by Anonymousreply 7802/17/2013

I remember when "Wedding Bell Blues" came out, every DJ in San Francisco was entranced & played it constantly. But I never got tired of hearing it & it's still my favorite of her songs.

by Anonymousreply 7902/17/2013

wo'Nt yOu marRy Me bIll?

i'vE gOt tHe weDdiNg beLlllL blUes

by Anonymousreply 8002/18/2013

Blood, Sweat and Tears' versions of "And When I Die" and "He's a Runner" are quite brilliant.

by Anonymousreply 8102/18/2013

I was in 8th grade when I visited New York City in the late 1960s. I recall sometime after making that trip that I heard the New York Tendaberry album and the images of the city spring back into my mind just like yesterday.

by Anonymousreply 8202/18/2013

This goes out to "anonymous number 10": you are an trash Nyro's song "stoned soul picnic" yet make the exorbitant effort to print out the entire lyrics...this, pathetic little phillistine, is what we call "poetry"; literary work with special intensity given to expression of feelings and/or ideas by use of distinctive style, rhythm and imagery--something you apparently are oblivious of and lack the imagination and intelligence to comprehend..Now, get out there and buy that Katy Perry or Rihanna download you've been vapidly yearning for. Laura is way out of your little uninspired league, and there is no use throwing pearls before swine (no offense to the porcine species)...

by Anonymousreply 8305/17/2013

Fucking right on, sister...

by Anonymousreply 8405/17/2013

"this, pathetic little phillistine, is what we call "poetry"; literary work with special intensity given to expression of feelings and/or ideas by use of distinctive style, rhythm and imagery--something you apparently are oblivious of and lack the imagination and intelligence to comprehend."

Sweetie, if you consider Stoned Soul Picnic "poetry" then you one seriously fucked up twat. Maybe you're just trying to be annoying, but if not you're hilariously stupid. "Literary work with special intensity?" HAHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH!

by Anonymousreply 8505/17/2013
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