I know this is similar to what I posted on Oct. 18th (Laura Nyro’s birthday), but can you ever hear Laura Nyro sing “Save the Country” too many times?
In January of 1969, The Kraft Music Hall, a longtime musical-variety television program on the NBC network, broadcast an episode titled The Sounds of the Sixties (sources for the actual broadcast date conflict between the 15th and the 22nd).
Regardless of the actual date, the program’s host, Bobby Darin, sang renditions of contemporary pop music, and performed duets with Stevie Wonder and Judy Collins. One of the guest performers that evening was singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, who performed “He’s a Runner” and “Save the Country.”
“Save the Country” is an upbeat protest song. At a time when the country had experienced the political assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., when cities had literally burned from racial strife and sentiments were turning stronger against the Vietnam War, Laura Nyro wrote a song to pull us together as a people for a greater good.
Blending pop music with gospel, Nyro sings about re-birth, avoiding the path of hate (“lay that devil down”) and channeling the “fury in my soul” into a harmony and hope that individuals possess the power to do the right thing, to change the world for the better. Her lyrics remain relevant today.
The song became a hit for the 5th Dimension in the summer of 1970 (following the Kent State shootings, at the same time Crosby, Stills,Nash & Young released “Ohio”).
The biggest correction to my October post is that Laura Nyro will finally be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on April 14, 2012.