Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Tribute to Laura Nyro ( The Night Laura Nyro was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame)

  This week I listened to practically every Laura Nyro record I had and they brought back memories some good, some bad. I remember when I first discovered her through a conversation with the late Ron Townson (of the 5th Dimension) who I had the good fortune to meet in 1968 at EJ Corvette department store in Manhattan while the 5th Dimension was promoting the new album "Stoned Soul Picnic". I had just recently purchased it  and I said to Mr. Townson "I'm surprised to see that there is only one Jimmy Webb song on this album when he was so prevalent on the first two albums. I was a Jimmy Webb fan back then and I am still one today. Webb was very young, still in his early twenties when he wrote songs that eventually would become hits for Richard Harris, The Brooklyn Bridge, Isaac Hayes, Glen Campbell and Donna Summer. Ron Townson explained at the time that on the "Stoned Soul Picnic" lp they were working predominantly with a new relatively unknown young artist from here in New York........Laura Nyro .This talented young songwriter would later have her songs become hits for Blood Sweat & Tears, Barbra Streisand, Three Dog Night in addition to the 5th Dimension. She was prolific but not commercial. Practically all of her hits were recorded by someone else, yet she still had a well deserved following and recorded for the exceedingly demanding Columbia/Sony record label for many years.
    Townson also said that I will be hearing more about her soon. He was absolutely right. When I went to
college I mentioned her to my late friend Shelton Ray, who to my surprise raved about her and invited me
to listen to two of her albums. Laura Nyro's highest charting single was her version of the Drifter classic
"Up On The Roof" penned by Carole King and Gerry Goffin. It only made it to #92, but what she didn't
achieve on the pop chart, she made up on the concert circuit and album sales.
   One of my good friends showed me a picture of herself many years ago and I was amazed at how much
she looked like Laura Nyro, to which she responded "Who is Laura Nyro?" So I introduced her to some
of her videos and they got rave reviews from her. She couldn't believe that she wasn't aware of such a
stunningly vibrant performer.
    In this video we see a modern day performer, Sara Bareilles sing one of the more popular Laura Nyro songs "Stoney End"
that went to #6 on the pop chart sung by Barbra Streisand. Of course no one can actually sound like
Laura Nyro, but this young lady does an unforgettable rendition of a Nyro classic in her own style the night
Laura Nyro was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
    I can see Evette or Miriam singing this song as part of the Claude Chaney and Friends' repertoire. Enjoy.


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