Over Laura Nyro
Laura Nyro penned reams of tunes for other artists, but she should be remembered for more than just "Stone Soul Picnic" (which the 5th Dimension turned into a huge hit). Like Jimmy Webb, Nyro was one of the definitive songwriting voices of the late 1960s and early '70s, but she also had a successful solo career that was both helped and hampered by a unique, if slightly over-the-top singing style. A real maverick, Nyro created jazz and pop-tinged arrangements containing certain subtleties her impressive voice lacked; meanwhile, her voice and piano came together to continually fudge the line between hope and despair. So while sensitive sorority sisters clung to their copies of Carole King's Tapestry, jaded romantics had Nyro's darkly human New York Tendaberry to help ease the passage from the wide-eyed '60s to the cynical '70s. Nyro's popularity waned in the '80s, but as cancer was claiming her life in the late '90s, her work was rightly being embraced by a new generation of Adult Alternative singer-songwriters.