On Oct. 18, 1947, Laura Nigro was born in the Bronx. Many of us know her as Laura Nyro, the amazing singer-songwriter who penned melodies and phrases that are foundations of pop-music consciousness (“Eli’s Coming,” “And When I Die,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Sweet Blindness” to name but a few). Her father was a piano tuner and jazz trumpeter and her mom, a bookkeeper, had a record collection with music by Ravel, Debussy, Leontyne Price and Billie Holiday — thus the origins of what would become Laura’s musical sensibilities of gospel, soul, folk, and jazz.
Laura taught herself to play the piano and by age 8 she had written her first song. On a website bio, citing Laura’s Anthology, is this quote:
“I would go out singing, as a teenager, to a party or out on the street, because there were harmony groups there, and that was one of the joys of my youth. I mean you could just go out and sing. If I look back now, all these years later, I must have had a spiritual, holistic feeling from all of that.”
“Save the Country” is my favorite song by her. This gospel-tinged rally cry for peace and spiritual unity is still as relevant today as it was in 1969.
One day the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will come to its senses and induct Laura Nyro.