LAURA NYRO, American singer and composer died on this date (b. 1947); An American composer, lyricist, singer and pianist her music was a distinctive hybrid of Brill Building-style, New York pop, mixed with elements of jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, show tunes and rock.
She was best known, and had the most commercial success, as a composer and lyricist rather than as a performer. Between 1968 and 1970 a number of other singers had significant hits with her songs: the Fifth Dimension with “Blowing Away”, “Wedding Bell Blues”, “Stoned Soul Picnic”, “Sweet Blindness”, “Save The Country” and “Black Patch”; Blood, Sweat & Tears and Peter Paul & Mary with “And When I Die”, Three Dog Night with “Eli’s Coming”; and Barbra Streisand with “Stoney End” and “Hands off the Man (Flim Flam Man)”. Ironically, Nyro’s best-selling single was her recording of Carole King and Gerry Goffin’s “Up On The Roof.”
Nyro was married, to carpenter David Bianchini in 1971. She was also reportedly uncomfortable with attempts to market her as a celebrity, and she announced her retirement from the music business at the age of 24.
By 1976, her marriage had ended, and she returned with an album of new material, Smile. She then embarked on a four-month tour with a full band, which resulted in the 1977 live album Season of Lights. Around this time, she met her subsequent life partner, Brooklyn-born painter Maria Desiderio, who passed in 1999.