Today was Laura Nyro‘s birthday.
Although I hadn’t heard Nyro’s singular voice in years and years and years, there was a time when I listened to her records obsessively. (As there were other times when I listened to other singers obsessively. For me as for so many others of A Certain Age, there was a Bob Dylan Era, a Jackson Browne Era, a Blood Sweat & Tears Era, a Barbra Streisand Era. More recently: Annie Lennox.
So many supposedly Indispensible Musicians who, when my copies of their LPs wore out, I neglected to preserve in my life by systematically re-purchasing my increasingly-scratched up albums with their incarnations on compact discs.
For several years now I’ve been wondering whether to embark on The Potentially Hugely Expensive Music Re-purchasing Campaign. I’ve often wondered, when contemplating such a decision, which albums of the many long squirreled away in my attic (and probably thoroughly melted by now) that I would deem the most crucial to replace first.
Now I know.
The e-newsletter Gay Wisdom for Daily Living alerted me to the fact that today is Nyro’s birthday. Then my Nyro-loving friend Franklin posted to Facebook this vintage video of one of Nyro’s (rare) television performances:
What a voice! And what an unusual one. The songs on the video aren’t among my favorites, but the way she sings them vividly called to mind her many other songs that are etched in my hindbrain.
Nyro died in 1997 at the heartbreakingly young age of 49, of ovarian cancer.
There’s more on Nyro (including a list of all her albums) at Wikipedia, and there’s a Laura Nyro webpage that includes photos, music, and comments posted by fans who clearly appreciated this irreplacable, irrepressible performer for a lot of the same reasons I did, and do.
Much of the world’s creative output – the writings written, the poetry spoken, the plays performed, the paintings painted – is unavailable to us for alll sorts of reasons. Lucky for me, lucky for you, Nyro’s recordings are still available for listening to, again and again.