Finally! Laura Nyro (for the uninitiated, pronounced Ne-ro) was announced as an inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame's Class of 2012. The induction ceremony will take place in Cleveland on April 14th.
Nero's heyday was the 1960's. She scored modest success as a singer, with a voice that was reminiscent of Carole King with a more reckless abandon, and she had two hit albums of collected songs.
But it was as a songwriter that she left an immortal mark on American popular music.
If George Gershwin were writing Top-40 pop hits, they might have sounded like the tunes of Laura Nyro. She blended rhythm-'n-blues and soul with jazz and pop, for a distinctive sound that is timeless even as it calls to mind the late '60's.
Artists like The 5th Dimension, Blood Sweat and Tears, and Barbra Streisand scored huge hits covering Nyro's songs. I hope I can encourage others to become familiar with Nyro's music. Her songwriting resume is unbelievable; all of them can be legitimately considered modern classics:
(click on the links to hear the songs)
Three Dog Night's version of "Eli's Comin'"; "Time and Love" and "Stony End" (Recorded by Streisand); "And When I Die" (Blood Sweat and Tears' biggest hit); and especially the covers by the Fifth Dimension: "Stoned Soul Picnic", "Save the Country", "Sweet Blindness", and my all-time Nyro favorite, "Wedding Bell Blues" ('B-I-I-I-I-I-L! I love you so, I always will ...')
Sadly, Laura Nyro will not be at the ceremony next April. In 1997, at the age of 49, Nyro died of ovarian cancer--the year in which another of my contemporary music heroes was inducted into the R&R Hall Of Fame: Joni Mitchell.
Nyro's induction is an honor that is way overdue.