Monday, June 9, 2008


Generally speaking, I try to keep the serious content in this blog to a minimum. After all, this is a celebration of the early days of rock and roll, that rebellious in-your-parents’-face music we Boomers loved to shock the older generation with when we were growing up. A healthy amount of cheekiness is certainly called for. But these last few days we have been marking the 40th year since the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, and barely three months prior, that of Martin Luther King Jr. Like everyone who was old enough to understand what was happening at the time, I remember vividly where I was when both of those terrible events were reported, as well as for that of JFK five years earlier. It’s indelibly stamped on our individual and collective memory. And, like so much of our Baby Boomer experience, it was recorded in song. Most people will immediately call to mind Dion’s elegaic ballad, “Abraham, Martin and John” with it’s mention of "Bobby" as well in the last line. But a similar song that doesn’t get played is “Save the Country” by the late Laura Nyro (1947-1997).

My first introduction to Laura Nyro came through songs others had recorded, like Three Dog Night (Eli’s Coming), Blood Sweat and Tears (And When I Die), and The 5th Dimension (Stoned Soul Picnic, Wedding Bell Blues, Blowing Away). But after I heard her in concert, I was a fan for life. Her unique style has been described as “a distinctive hybrid of Brill Building-style New York pop, mixed with elements of jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, show tunes and rock” (Wikipedia). I’d say that about sums it up. As Dion put it, “it seems the good die young” and we also lost Laura too soon, but she left a rich musical legacy “to carry on.”

So here, thanks again to YouTube, is Laura Nyro, and “Save the Country"


Quiet Paths said...

Thank you for this. I followed your link to YouTube and listened also to It's gonna take a miracle. What a voice and she plays a style of piano I love!

Ken said...

Thanks for your post. Her music is as powerful and meaningful for me as it was when I first heard it back in the '60s. I had the opportunity to see Laura perform twice, most notably on Christmas Eve 1970 at the Fillmore East. Her opening act was a young songwriter named Jackson Browne.

I miss her still. Thank God we have her music to remember her by.