Today, Laura Nyro would have turned 61 years old.
Imagine what she might have done had she lived past age 49.
How many more songs she would have written and sung. How many more albums she would have recorded. How many more hours of delight she would have provided us. How many more artists would have been inspired by her music and her artistic example.
Instead, we have memories. We have photographs. We have her songs.
Countless times since 9/11, I have heard her call to “Save the Country” playing in my head. This final month, before the most important election I can recall in my lifetime, it’s on a continuous loop.
I’ve decided to start this blog to carry on the work I began with the biography, “Soul Picnic: The Music and Passion of Laura Nyro” (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002. When I wrote the book, I wanted to return Laura more fully to popular consciousness. That has happened to some extent, and certainly not just because of the book: There have been plays such as “Eli’s Comin'” in New York, new cover recordings of her songs, re-releases of her albums and frequent namechecks of Nyro by other artists. But still, when the lists of greatest albums are compiled, Nyro’s masterpieces such as “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession” and “New York Tendaberry” are all too easily forgotten. She has not been considered for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, nor the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. That’s just wrong.
In this blog, I’ll continue the drumbeat for Laura’s proper recognition in the pantheon of popular music of the past 40-some years. I’ll bring attention to various Laura connections, musical or otherwise. I’ll also give shout-outs to artists who have been influenced by her, including a number who have been in touch with me in recent years. And sometimes I’ll just ask your indulgence to share my discoveries from YouTube and elsewhere that may relate only tangentially to Laura, but somehow connect to the same wellspring of musical joy.
I’ll look forward to your comments, your memories, your own sharing of great music and great artists. Thanks for dropping by …