Perception deception. One of my favorite stories is about the late, beautiful Laura Nyro. In 1967, she appeared at the Monterey Pop Festival. The story goes, she followed the late and immortal Jimmy Hendrix. As always, Jimmy was a sensation and when Laura followed him, she, well, felt that she wasn’t quite “as popular”. For years afterwards, she would tell people that her performance was a disaster and that she was booed off stage. Many years later, someone found a tape of that performance. It seemed that Laura was successful and greatly appreciated that evening. It was not as devastating as she perceived it to be. She passed away at age 49, and I don’t think she ever learned what really happened that night in Monterey.
Perception is everything. Many people will recognize Laura’s name because she was associated with The Fifth Dimension, Blood Sweat and Tears, Barbra Streisand and others. Songs like Wedding Bell Blues, Stoned Soul Picnic, and Eli’s Comin’ were just some of the songs written by this talented lady. Even Todd Rundgren has said that once he heard Laura Nyro, he stopped writing songs sung like “The Who” and began writing like Laura.
On Friday, March 13th at 1pm Eastern Time / 10am Pacific Time, Movies Broadway Singers and Beyond will pay tribute to Laura Nyro, Carole King, Carly Simon, Jimmy Webb and Joni Mitchell. These are all musicians, who not only sang, but wrote songs for themselves and other musicians. Their work has spanned the test of time and will live in music history.
Carole King received the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. She is 73 now, and still beautiful. She performs a great deal with James Taylor, and Sweet Baby James is as sweet as ever.
Carly Simon has always been one of my favorite singer / songwriters. Her song, You’re So Vain, had people speculating for years on who she was talking about. I believe it was Warren Beatty but considering that Carly has spent her entire life in show business, she could have been writing about anyone. Her song, The Reason, is funny and through provoking. Her Have You Seen Me Lately is one of my all-time favorites.
Jimmy Webb is so talented. He wrote some of the biggest hits for Glen Campbell, like By the Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, and Galveston. My personal favorite is The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress.
Jimmy also has a wonderful voice.
Last, but definitely not least, we come to Joni Mitchell. Back in the late 60’s, she released a beautiful song called Both Sides Now. Joni did a beautiful job singing as well as writing. When I listen to that version of it from her early days, I hear a lilting voice and effervescence of youth. She then rerecorded this song more than 30 years later. I’m going to play both versions for you in my tribute show. I want you to hear the difference between Joni’s early interpretation and her later one. Perhaps the later one could have been entitled “I looked at love from ALL sides now”. Her voice has lost none of its beauty, and there is a poignancy that comes with the passing of time.
Please tune in to this wonderful tribute on Friday, March 13th at 1pm Eastern Time / 10am Pacific time. This is my love letter to these talented musicians who rocked my world. Yeah, we’re gonna rock a little, but it will be smooth ride.