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nyro award 1

Tomorrow is a red letter day for all fans of the late, great American singer-songwriter Laura Nyro.

At a special ceremony in Cleveland, Ohio, she’s being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Quite right too.

Now in its 27th year, the latest list of inductees includes a host of names who’ve helped shape popular music over the past half century.

Guns ‘n Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Donovan, the Small Faces/Faces, the Beastie Boys and Buddy Holly’s backing band The Crickets amongst others.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – official website

But if you asked a crowd of music fans to tell you anything about Laura Nyro (1947-1997), it’s a fair bet that most would struggle to get past first base.

Which is a pity as for me and other Nyro fans, she is one of the greats – a pioneering songwriter and performer, who did the groundwork for female artists who’ve followed from Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush to Suzanne Vega and Tori Amos.

Laura’s run of albums starting in 1966 with ‘More Than A New Discovery,’ ‘Eli and the Thirteenth Confession’ (1968),  ‘New York Tendaberry’ (1969), ‘Christmas and the Beads of Sweat’ (1970) and ‘Gonna Take A Miracle’ with Labelle (1971) is perhaps one of the most impressive in popular music.

                                     

Being inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is not only long overdue, but provides a golden opportunity to introduce her work to total strangers.

In 2005, I was fortunate to make a radio documentary for the BBC about Laura.

It was presented by Bette Midler, who appropriately is inducting Laura at the Cleveland ceremony.

They were great friends and Bette not only read the script I had prepared, but generously added her own tribute and anedoctes in inimitable Midler style.

Listening back to the programme for the first time since making it, I was struck by the high-quality of the cast list willing to take part and pay tribute to Laura.

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll reflect on what I learned about Laura from such music industry luminaries as David Geffen, Lou Adler and the late Arif Mardin.

If Laura’s music is new to you, then take a lead from the Guardian journalist and writer Richard Williams.

‘If I wanted to persuade someone of her merits,’ he told me, ‘I’d start with ‘Wedding Bell Blues’ – a perfect pop song. Irresistible.’

Wedding Bell Blues – Laura Nyro

Laura Nyro – official website

One Response to “nyro award 1”

  1. Willie Brown says:

    This is one of my favourite of her lesser known performances:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92BEZeqVjoc

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