Bronx-born singer, songwriter and pianist Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was still a teenager in 1966 when she recorded her debut album, and Peter, Paul & Mary cut "And When I Die." At age 19, Laura played the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, which brought her to the attention of first-time manager David Geffen. He led her to Columbia, Laura's record label for the next 25 years, starting with 1968's iconic Eli And The Thirteenth Confession. Other artists scored hit after hit with her songs, led by the 5th Dimension's "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness" in 1968 (then "Wedding Bell Blues" in '69 and "Blowin' Away" in '70). Over two consecutive weeks in October 1969, Blood, Sweat & Tears entered the Hot 100 with "And When I Die," and Three Dog Night followed with "Eli's Coming." In 1970-71, Barbra Streisand charted three consecutive times with Laura Nyro songs, "Stoney End," "Time And Love" and "Flim Flam Man." Laura's 1971 LP with Labelle, Gonna Take A Miracle, an entire program of R&B covers, produced in Philadelphia by Gamble & Huff, remains a classic four decades later. Elton John acclaimed her influence to Elvis Costello: "The soul, the passion, the out-and-out audacity of her rhythmic and melody changes was like nothing I'd ever heard before." Laura's tragic death of ovarian cancer at age 49 robbed popular music of one of its purest lights.
For more information on Laura Nyro, visit RockHall.com.
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