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Laura Nyro

[nEr' O] singer-songwriter

Laura Nyro

Laura Nigro was born in the Bronx, New York, on October 18, 1947, the daughter of a trumpeter. She began playing music very early, and enjoyed a wide range of influences through her high school years at Manhattan's Music and Art.

Laura gained fame as a teenager in the 1960's writing songs that became big hits for other artists, including "And When I Die," recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary and later by Blood, Sweat and Tears; "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Stoned Soul Picnic," both hits for the Fifth Dimension; "Eli's Coming," a hit for Three Dog Night; and "Stoney End," a hit for Barbra Streisand. Other artists who have recorded her songs include Chet Atkins, the Four Tops, Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross and Frank Sinatra.

Laura made her first extended professional appearance at age 18, singing at the Hungry i coffeehouse in San Francisco. Her debut album, More Than A New Discovery, was released on the Verve/Folkways label the following year (1966). An appearance at the Monterrey Pop Festival in 1967 proved to be a disaster. Working with a back-up band unused to her style, she was booed off the stage and refused to perform in public for two years afterward.

Laura did not give up music, however. Her most celebrated album, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession, was released by Columbia Records in 1968; it was followed up by New York Tendaberry (1969) and Christmas and the Beads of Sweat (1970). Gonna Take A Miracle, a cover album of soul songs, was released in 1971. In 1973, her Verve debut album was acquired and reissued by Columbia as The First Songs. After recording Smile in 1976, Nyro embarked on a four-month tour with a full band, which resulted in Season of Lights (1977), a "live" album. Nested, released in 1978, continued Laura's explorations of sound and color.

In 1978, Nyro gave birth to a son, Gil Bianchini, and spent the next several years away from the music scene. She reappeared in 1984, with the release of Mother's Spiritual, an album in which she muses about motherhood, sisterhood and nature. Her second "live" album, Laura--Live At The Bottom Line, was released by Cypress/A&M in 1988, following a countrywide concert tour. Walk the Dog and Light the Light, released in 1993, contained a studio version of "Broken Rainbow," considered one of her most important songs of social protest. Written for the film of the same name, which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary of 1985, the song and film are about the forced relocation of the Navajo. Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best of Laura Nyro, a thirty-year retrospective of Laura's career, was also released in 1993.

Laura Nyro died of ovarian cancer on April 8, 1997, at her home in New York City.

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This page was last updated on 10/09/2018.