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Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro was one of pop music's true originals: A brilliant and innovative composer, her songs found greater commercial success in the hands of other performers, but her own records -- intricate, haunting works highlighting her singularly powerful vocal phrasing, evocative lyrics, and alchemical fusion of gospel, soul, folk, and jazz structures -- remain her definitive artistic legacy.

The daughter of a jazz trumpeter, she was born Laura Nigro on October 18, 1947, and composed her first songs at the age of eight. After attending Manhattan's famed High School of Music and Art, she began performing in area clubs, drawing on influences as diverse as Bob Dylan and John Coltrane. In 1967, Nyro issued her first LP, More Than a New Discovery; though commercially unsuccessful, the album was a treasure trove of material for other artists -- the Fifth Dimension scored with "Wedding Bell Blues" and "Blowin' Away," Barbra Streisand covered "Stoney End," and Blood, Sweat & Tears tackled "And When I Die."

In 1967, Nyro made just her second major live appearance to date at the Monterey Pop Festival, where her idiosyncratic performance baffled the crowd. However, David Geffen -- a music agent at the time -- caught her set and was so impressed that he quit his current position to become her manager. He also won Nyro a contract with Columbia, and in 1968 she returned with the extraordinary Eli and the Thirteenth Confession. While the album earned vast critical acclaim, she again found commercial success not with her own recordings, but with covers of Eli's songs, as the Fifth Dimension reached the charts with renditions of "Stoned Soul Picnic" and "Sweet Blindness," while "Eli's Comin'" became a major hit for Three Dog Night.

New York Tendaberry, released in 1969, fared better thanks to the strong word of mouth now trailing her work; the record's "Time and Love" and "Save the Country" soon emerged as two of her most well-regarded and popular songs. With 1970's Christmas and the Beads of Sweat, she continued her exploration of soul music, enlisting Muscle Shoals staples like Barry Beckett, Roger Hawkins, and Eddie Hinton; "Beads of Sweat" also featured guitar work from Duane Allman. Gonna Take a Miracle, recorded with Labelle and the production team of Gamble & Huff, marked a dramatic left turn in 1971; Nyro's lone album of non-original material, it featured her tributes to Motown ("Jimmy Mack," "Nowhere to Run"), doo wop ("The Bells," "Spanish Harlem"), and the girl group era ("I Met Him on a Sunday").

At the age of 24, Nyro announced her retirement; she married, severed her industry connections, and moved to a small community in New England. However, the marriage ended in divorce, and in 1976 she resurfaced with Smile; a subsequent tour yielded the 1977 live set Season of Lights. However, the long layoff derailed whatever chart momentum her music had accrued, and after the dismal sales of 1978's Nested, she again retreated from the music business.

When Nyro finally returned from her self-imposed exile in 1984 with Mother's Spiritual, her music had grown more reserved and introspective; as the title indicated, her own motherhood provided considerable inspiration for her new work, as did her rustic New England lifestyle. While she did not make any overt declarations of retirement, Nyro waited another five years before issuing her next LP, Live at the Bottom Line, recorded at the legendary New York club; Walk the Dog & Light the Light, her first collection of new material in nearly a decade, followed in 1993. Four years later, Nyro died of ovarian cancer, on April 8, 1997. A posthumous album, Angel in the Dark, was issued in 2001, and several additional live recordings also surfaced. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography


Track List: Smile (Bonus Track Version)

1. Sexy Mama

2. Children Of The Junks

3. Money

4. I Am The Blues

5. Stormy Love

6. The Cat-Song

7. Midnite Blue

8. Smile (With Mars At The End)

9. Someone Loves You

10. Get Me My Cap

11. Coffee Morning (Live)


Track List: Playlist: The Very Best Of Laura Nyro

1. And When I Die

2. Stoney End

3. Flim Flam Man

4. Lu

5. Stoned Soul Picnic

6. Capt. St. Lucifer

7. Christmas In My Soul

8. Jimmy Mack

9. Coffee Morning (Live)

10. Child In A Universe

11. To A Child

12. Broken Rainbow

13. American Dove (Live)

14. Medley: Timer/O-O-H Child/Up On The Roof (Live)


Track List: Live! The Loom's Desire

Disc 1

1. Oh Yeah, Maybe Baby (Live)

2. Dedicated To The One I Love (Live)

3. Wind (Live)

4. Lite A Flame (The Animal Rights Song) (Live)

5. Walk The Dog And Light The Light (Song Of The Road) (Live)

6. To A Child (Live)

7. And When I Die (Live)

8. Japanese Restaurant Song (Live)

9. My Innocence / Sophia (Live)

10. Wedding Bell Blues (Live)

11. Art Of Love (Live)

12. Emmie (Live)

13. Let It Be Me (Live)

Disc 2

1. Angel In The Dark (Live)

2. Gardenia Talk (Live)

3. Save The Country (Live)

4. Louise's Church (Live)

5. Wild World (Live)

6. A Woman Of The World (Live)

7. The Descent Of Luna Rose (Live)

8. Broken Rainbow (Live)

9. Blowin' Away / Wedding Bell Blues (Medley / Live)

10. Trees Of The Ages / Emmie (Medley / Live)

11. Ooh Baby Baby (Live)


Track List: Angel In The Dark

1. Angel In The Dark

2. Triple Goddess Twilight

3. Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow

4. He Was Too Good To Me

5. Sweet Dream Fade

6. Serious Playground

7. Be Aware

8. Let It Be Me

9. Gardenia Talk

10. Ooh Baby, Baby

11. Embraceable You

12. La La Means I Love You

13. Walk On By

14. Animal Grace

15. Don't Hurt Child

16. Coda


Track List: Laura Nyro: Live From Mountain Stage

1. Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies)

2. My Innocence

3. To A Child

4. And When I Die

5. Let It Be Me / The Christmas Song

6. Roll Of The Ocean

7. Lite A Flame

8. Emmie

9. Japanese Restaurant

10. I'm So Proud / Dedicated To The One I Love


Track List: Stoned Soul Picnic: The Best Of Laura Nyro

Disc 1

1. Wedding Bell Blues

2. Blowin' Away

3. Billiy's Blues

4. Stoney End

5. And When I Die

6. Lu

7. Eli's Comin'

8. Stoned Soul Picnic

9. Timer

10. Emmie

11. The Confession

12. Capt. St. Lucifer

13. Gibson Street

14. New York Tendaberry

15. Save The Country (1968 Mono Single Version)

16. Blackpatch

17. Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp

18. Beads Of Sweat

19. When I Was A Freeport And You Were The Main Drag

Disc 2

1. I Met Him On A Sunday

2. The Bells

3. Smile

4. Sweet Blindness (Live)

5. Money (Live)

6. Mr. Blue

7. A Wilderness

8. Mother's Spiritual

9. A Woman Of The World

10. Louise's Church

11. Broken Rainbow

12. To A Child

13. Lite A Flame (The Animal Rights Song)

14. And When I Die (Live)

15. Save The Country (Live)


Track List: Walk The Dog & Light The Light

1. Oh Yeah Maybe Baby (The Heebie Jeebies)

2. A Woman Of The World

3. The Descent Of Luna Rose

4. Art Of Love

5. Lite A Flame (The Animal Rights Song)

6. Louise's Church

7. Broken Rainbow

8. Walk The Dog & Light The Light (Song Of The Road)

9. To A Child

10. Medley: I'm So Proud/Dedicated To The One I Love


Track List: Mother's Spiritual

1. To A Child...

2. The Right To Vote

3. A Wilderness

4. Melody In The Sky

5. Late For Love

6. A Free Thinker

7. Man In The Moon

8. TalkTo A Green Tree

9. Trees Of The Ages

10. The Brighter Song

11. Roadnotes

12. Sophia

13. Mother's Spiritual

14. Refrain

15. Man In The Moon (Live)


Track List: Season Of Lights... Laura Nyro In Concert (With Bonus Tracks) (Live)

1. Money

2. Sweet Lovin' Baby

3. And When I Die

4. The Morning News

5. Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp

6. I Am The Blues

7. When I Was A Freeport And You Were The Main Drag

8. Captain St. Lucifer

9. Smile

10. Mars

11. Sweet Blindness

12. The Cat-Song

13. Emmie

14. The Confession

15. Timer

16. Midnite Blue

17. Timer


Track List: The First Songs

1. Wedding Bell Blues

2. Billy's Blues

3. California Shoeshine Boys

4. Blowin' Away

5. Lazy Susan

6. Good By Joe

7. Flim Flam Man

8. Stoney End

9. I Never Meant To Hurt You

10. He's A Runner

11. Buy And Sell

12. And When I Die


Track List: Christmas And The Beads Of Sweat

1. Brown Earth

2. When I Was A Freeport And You Were The Main Drag

3. Blackpatch

4. Been On A Train

5. Up On The Roof

6. Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp

7. Map To The Treasure

8. Beads Of Sweat

9. Christmas In My Soul


Track List: New York Tendaberry (2002 Remaster)

1. You Don't Love Me When I Cry

2. Captain For Dark Mornings

3. Tom Cat Goodby

4. Mercy On Broadway

5. Save The Country

6. Gibsom Street

7. Time And Love

8. The Man Who Sends Me Home

9. Sweet Lovin' Baby

10. Captain Saint Lucifer

11. New York Tendaberry

12. Save The Country (Single Version) (Mono)

13. In The Country Way


Track List: New York Tendaberry

1. You Don't Love Me When I Cry

2. Captain For Dark Mornings

3. Tom Cat Goodby

4. Mercy On Broadway

5. Save The Country

6. Gibsom Street

7. Time And Love

8. The Man Who Sends Me Home

9. Sweet Lovin' Baby

10. Captain Saint Lucifer

11. New York Tendaberry


Track List: Eli And The Thirteenth Confession

1. Luckie

2. Lu

3. Sweet Blindness

4. Poverty Train

5. Lonely Women

6. Eli's Comin

7. Timer

8. Stoned Soul Picnic

9. Emmie

10. Woman's Blues

11. Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)

12. December's Boudoir

13. The Confession


Track List: Eli And The Thirteenth Confession (Expanded Edition)

1. Luckie

2. Lu

3. Sweet Blindness

4. Poverty Train

5. Lonely Women

6. Eli's Comin'

7. Timer

8. Stoned Soul Picnic

9. Emmie

10. Woman's Blues

11. Once It Was Alright Now (Farmer Joe)

12. December's Boudoir

13. The Confession

14. Lu (Demo)

15. Stoned Soul Picnic (Demo)

16. Emmie (Demo)


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Okay I a little carried away ;)... dementia
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Still mourning her loss...
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Laura, I need You!
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had she been with us longer, she would have another Carole King
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Have been a big fan of this woman since the mid 70's - always suprised that more music lovers do not know who she was - oh well their loss.
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Such a talent, such a loss. Listening to Emmie just now blew me away. First heard her on Armed Forces radio in Vietnam (1971), fell in love with her then, and hearing her now after so many years puts me in a very mellow mood... Thank you Laura!
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Her sweet, joyful voice lifted up my morale when I was far from home. They played her a lot on Armed Forces Radio, and I had her tapes to play on my boom box...
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Serious playground, that's where I work and play. Serious playground, night or day. More, more than stress or strain. More, more than just capital gain. So send me the music like wings to fly, natural high.
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I try to to be an old curmudgeon about the 'old times,' but I'm always in awe the first time Laura Nyro's voice comes in over the piano; there's really nothing like her today (that I know of)--someone like Adele might have the voice, but not the panache. I can listen to 'Gonna Take a Miracle' in any mood and still smile.
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I heard Laura for the first time in 1972 in the dorm at the Univ of Miss in Oxford, Ms. My neighbor in the dorm was playing her album. I loved her then and still do.
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She has the most beautiful voice ever. Been listening to her since the 70s...
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If you don't know Laura Nyro you better ask somebody !
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I have been an avid Laura Nyro fan since the early 70's. I'm still amazed at how many people do not know who she is. In the mid 90's there was a play off Broadway NYC which was a compilation of her songs, it took 5 people to sing 1 of her songs to sound the way she did. What a voice, what talent. She is sorely missed.
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I was introduced to Laura Nyro through my dear, sweet brother who has left this planet in 1990 from Aides. He was the co-founder of Cleveland Ballet and choreographe d a ballet entitled Laura's Women. You must see it. A true gift to 'hear' her beauty and 'see' the interpretati o n of her artistry. A true synergy of music and dance.
I love you Laura for your inspiration and I love you Ernie for your creativity and mostly your integrity and respect for your art.
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perfect in everyway
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mother use to play her when I was kid UP ON THE ROOF and STONE COLD PICNIC
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if you do not know Laura, you do not know music....
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left us to soon
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The best--what a voice...and what a lyricist. My son is named Eli, so I think of her often.
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She was fantastic thirty five ago stillsounds the same much love
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Also loved Laura since I first heard Eli LP! She had a beautiful soul and an incredible way with her pen, fingers, and voice. I still hear something new upon each listen. She was a TRUE individual, in the days of Cream, Hendrix, etc. etc. Noone like her before or after her. I always thought she was the lead on :It's Gong to Be Alright by the Decoys on Aanko. I don't think it is her but it sounds like a teenage Laura for sure!
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The best--is there an 'album' better than Eli and the Thirteenth Confession? I always loved Gonna Take a Miracle--a brilliant songwriter, and a genius at phrasing--mi s s her every time I turn on the radio.
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I'm 57 my sisters are 10 and 12 years older
And still today if I hear a Laura song I stop to ponder it's greatness
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I adore her more than words can express.
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Laura. Can't listen to you without crying. Heartbreakin g l y beautiful. Brings back...every t h i n g .
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She resonated in deep into my heart.. Living in the 70's on the island of Kauai .. I directed my singing skills to follow Nyro Joni Mitchell .. And Baez..loved them..��
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Laura Nyro- you have touched my heart and soul like no other artist. I recall walking to school in Manhattan one day in the late 60's and seeing a sign that read Laura Nyro for mayor on a Volkswagen beetle- and it made me smile and still does. Your music is classic, haunting and beautiful and I could listen and do- every day. I saw you perform at Carnegie Hall in the early 70's when you asked some of your girlfriends to help you out on stage-- Patti Labelle and the Bluebells- WOW! People
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Love this site. You have done an amazing job on putting this stuff alltogether. I salute you. BTW I listen all the time. Don't change a thing!!!!!
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From the very first words and music I heard of Laura's, Lucky, I was hooked. I was only 13-14 years old. Saw her too many times to count. It was my honor to be blessed by her music and soul. To this day I listen to her constantly. She truly touches my soul. The day she died I was devastated. I saw the memorial concert in NYC at the Beacon Theatre and cried through most of it. I wish that everyone could find someone who touches them like she did for me. It opened the world of music to me.
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One of the greatest songwriters of all time. Hugely under-rated in spite of the popularity of her songs - huge hits for others though I would rather hear her sing them anytime. I recently watched the R&R Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I was surprised to see Laura get inducted - I was surprised in finding that she wasn't already in there. A most deserved honor. For those of you that go to see her perform, I envy you.
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Every time I go to Greenwich Village, I feel Laura's presence and wish I had been around NYC in the early 70's.Truly the voice of an angel as Patti Labelle is as well in my mind. Joanie from Brooklyn introduced me from our second floor house in Ansley Park Atlanta.
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Nyro bridged so many genres and mothered so many women artists. She is a Goddess,
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@Jazzygranny 6 0 2 I agree with you! I grew up listening to Laura Nyro because my older sister is a huge fan. Nyro died of ovarian cancer just like my Mom. When Nyro passed I also called my sister because I knew she would be devastated to have lost her favourite singer to the same disease that claimed our mother. Both live on in our hearts and of course we have Laura Nyro's glorious music to always remember her by.
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Laura Nyro songs just do something to my heart. I saw her in Ann Arbor in the 80's and she was great! She has seen me through the highs and lows of my life. When I listen to her she takes me where I was when I first heard her. My children and grandchildre n know her songs and love them. When she died my brother and sister called me because they knew how much I loved that woman. Her songs are still relevant and listening to this I'm hearing songs I didn't even know she wrote!
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Saw Laura in Miami in 67, she sang one song and he relectric piano broke..she cried and left the stage. Wore out 3 copies of Eli. saw her again in Detroit years later, pure i l l listening daily
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Remember: it was Harry Nilsson who said there were two (2) interesting songwriters : Randy Newman and Laura Nyro.
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Dionne Warwick covered this. I loved this song.
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Leave a comment…
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Have been a fan since I was a teenager. The last time I heard her was in Greenwich Village in the 80's. Am still an avid listener of Laura Nyro.
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I heard recently that Laura Nyro will be inducted postumously into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was and incredible talent and I am a very long time fan!!
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I discovered Laura my freshman year at UMASS...Bril i a n t composer and songstresss. . C h e c k out Beads of Sweat....Suc h a shame she left us so soon..
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I didn't know she had died. I'm so sad for her, but will love her music forever. She soothes my soul and spirit.
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The soundtrack of my soul, of my youth, of my middle age. I love Laura Nyro. An incredible artist, a great loss.
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the soundtrack of my youth, just brilliant!!
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"Discovered" her in '68 and 40+ years later she still resonates. To Laura!
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Timeless...T o date, I have not found another artist that has touched me and is as talented as the incomparable Laura Nyro
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After more than 40 years I am still awestruck by dear Laura's artistry - her lyrics that make you feel what the subject of the song is feeling and her amazing voice. In a way I am glad that she didn't live to see the ugly place our world is becoming.
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It makes me cry to know she's gone. I'll love her and her music forever
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Obsessed since 1970.
Blessed to catch her at Carnegie Hall.
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