Laura Nyro (1947-1997) was one of the most remarkable popular music artists of the late 20th century—a pioneering singer-songwriter whose songs were beloved both in their original performances and in hit cover versions by Barbra Streisand, the 5th Dimension, Three Dog Night, and Blood, Sweat & Tears. Nyro had two audiences: a cult following that adored her high-priestess persona and whisper-to-a-scream vocals, and mainstream music fans who might have been unaware of Nyro herself but happily sung along with “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stoney End,” “Eli’s Comin'” and “And When I Die.” Nyro’s influence is cited by a wide range of famous fans, from Todd Rundgren and Rickie Lee Jones to Jenny Lewis and Fiona Apple.
Did you know?
- The 5th Dimension scored five Top 40 hits with Laura Nyro compositions, including “Stoned Soul Picnic” and “Wedding Bell Blues”
- Todd Rundgren’s song “Baby Let’s Swing” references Laura Nyro, who he cites as a major influence
- Although she penned many hits for others, Laura Nyro’s only chart single as an artist is a cover of Goffin & King’s “Up on the Roof”