Hi Bob,

I just finished "Outliers," as well. After reading the chapter about the 10,000 hours, it occurred to me that by the time "Go All The Way" came out,in 1972, I’d spent 10 years studying the music of my favorite songwriters and writing songs of my own.

I was talking to my 86 year old aunt, who was a child prodigy on the violin and played with the Cleveland Symphony for 43 years, about the book, and when I mentioned the "10,000 hours", she looked up at me and said "That’s not nearly enough."

Eric Carmen



I had the honor of working with and knowing Laura for several years in the mid  1980’s. I engineered a lot of sessions at her home/ studio in Danbury Conn., but the only music released from that period was a  beautiful tune for a soundtrack called "Broken Rainbow" and a great double album "Live at the Bottom Line". I recorded her solo at the Bottom Line the following year, but those shows weren’t released either. Laura was a lovely gentle soul, and more talented and humble than just about anyone I’ve ever met.

While working at her home studio I discovered her "million-air" award honoring her for a million radio plays of "Wedding Bell Blues" hidden away under the kitchen sink next to the Brillo pads. This in fact was the only item I ever saw there that honored all the great songs she had written .

Truly a wonderful talent who left us too soon.

Mark Linett


My partner for most of my middle career was Charlie Calello. He produced "Eli and….." He told me many stories. His musical concept after he had a few meetings with Laura and became conversant with the material for the album was unique. He hired arrangers as the musicians and had them play anything but their instrument of choice. This gave Laura’s record a distinct unusual sound that suited her material.

When the two of them were writing string parts for one song, she turned to Charlie and asked if he could make the strings more green in the next section. He tried to have her define that better but she stuck to the green concept. I guess he "got it" cause she never mentioned it again. He once drove up to her place in Connecticut, not really knowing where it was. It was drizzling at about 5 P.M. as he pondered which way to turn at a rural crossroads. All of a sudden, out of nowhere she appeared, in a long black velvet dress, cupping a candle to guide him the rest of the way. This was waaaaay before celphones. Charlie said she was happily drenched and refused the ride he offered. There was talk she was gonna replace me in Blood Sweat & Tears but fortunately that never happened. Just David Clayton Thomas doing "And When I Die" Somehow he’s still alive, but Laura will always remain immortal.

Al Kooper


It’s funny, my dad-in-law (drummer Hal Blaine) did 5th Dimension records, and to my (not really much) surprise he also played on Laura’s tune ‘Save The Country’ and had this to say about it:


Snowy Holidays,
A.Guy Johnson


My Laura Nyro by Desmond Child

I was fourteen years old. It was in Lisa Wexler’s bedroom… in Jerry Wexler’s house in Miami Beach… the Xmas of 1967… that I heard the sound of a wailing woman… Laura Nyro’s first album on Verve Folkways. Yes this was the official start of me… as a person. Suddenly I woke up or maybe the opposite is true and I sank into a deep spell that I have never come out of. Either way, because of Laura Nyro… from that moment on right up to this second… I have lived with the bottomless aching hunger to be an artist.

Laura has appeared to me in recurring dreams… as the Virgin Mary… as the healing mother I never had… the dark haired lover I always searched for in women… and men… her black rose scent drifting into every song I have ever written. Laura Nyro is the reason I moved to New York City. I just had to be here and live in her world. Laura’s songs were mythical urban landscapes. She would sing about "junk yards in the sky". These were sultry and gritty tales of seduction, dependency, addiction, ravaging transcendent aloneness and then they were suddenly about compassionate love for mankind… for all creation.

I sent Laura fan letters. In 1971 when I was 17 I drove to New York and waited for her (stalked) outside of her apartment building on Riverside Drive in the rain to try to meet her… Laura Nyro… my soul mate. Later when I was in college at NYU I hired her father, Louis Nigro, to tune my little upright Wurlitzer piano just to get news about her. I once brought her flowers back stage at Carnegie Hall and tried to talk to her because our bogus manager at the time had told us that Laura had picked my group, Desmond Child & Rouge, to open for her and the singing group Labelle on tour. (To get us to sign, this manager told us that they had been at Laura’s apartment… hanging out with her and the singing group "Labelle" for dinner and that they started singing songs from "Gonna Take A Miracle" an album they had done together a few years back and that they had decided right at that moment to recreate the album for a national tour.) Laura was gracious but didn’t know anything about it, barely remembered the manager’s name and definitely had never heard of us. I was stunned and humiliated, handed her the flowers and quickly backed out of her trailer straight to the pay phone on the corner of 57th and 7th and fired that crazy lying manager!

Then in 1994 while living in LA, after nearly a lifetime of longing for real contact with my muse and mentor, Laura finally called me and left a voice message saying she wanted to "meet me". I sat on the edge of my bed listening to the message with tears in my eyes and said to Curtis my partner of twenty years: "Wow, that call took twenty five years to happen." A few days later, Laura came over for dinner the girls from Rouge were there and we sat around the piano and sang songs from "Gonna Take A Miracle". Later that year, I ended up being her opening act at the Algonquin… and we became friends. She even made dinner (Pasta with Ragu spaghetti sauce, iceberg lettuce with Wishbone dressing. I brought four kinds of Haagen Dazs.) for me and her then teenage son Gil (Now known as urban rapper Gil-T.) in her little house perched over a pond in Danbury. Laura played me her new songs… on a little upright Wurlitzer piano just like mine.

Then one day Laura called me with the saddest voice telling me that she had been dropped by Columbia Records. She hadn’t made an album in years… she wasn’t really costing anybody anything. Laura was loyal and had given up her relationship with David Geffen to stay there. Laura didn’t care about money, she shared everything she had, she was a gentle spirit. Laura made music when it was ready to be made not because of quarterly reports. She was the ultimate "hippie chic" and after all those decades, she truly thought that the people at the "label" were her family.

I called Donnie. I called Tommy. There was nothing I could do. An era had passed.

Laura never got over this and soon became very ill with ovarian cancer and died listening to the sound of the stream running under the floor boards and looking up at the stars though the windows over her futon on the floor of her little house perched over the pond in Danbury. She was 49 years old.

Desmond Child & Rouge (Maria Vidal, Diana Grasselli and Myriam Valle) reunited after 18 years to perform one song at Laura Nyro’s memorial concert on October 27th, 1997 at the Beacon Theater. We had selected Laura’s epic "Christmas In My Soul"… then Rickie Lee Jones said she wanted to sing it. They begged us to give it up but we stuck to our guns. Rickie even asked if she could join us on stage and sing it with us. This was our first time singing in 18 years… I still said NO WAY! I knew we would have ended up being her backup group.

It was a very emotional night. I was in the dressing room still going over the complex chords one more time on the electric keyboard that was there. Maria, Diana and Myriam had gone down the stairs to the side of the stage to wait for our turn up which was only a couple more songs to go. Suddenly in the doorway of the dressing room appeared Rickie Lee Jones herself and she walked in and said "I know you didn’t want me to sing with you on stage… but can we sing it now? Just you and me". And so there I was singing and crying with Rickie Lee Jones. Rickie ended up performing Laura’s cinematic "Been On A Train" about seeing a junky OD on the subway and chillingly channeled Laura when she wailed "GOD DAMN YOU MISTER… as I dragged him out the door". Rickie’s primal scream will never ever get out of my bones. That, my friends, is music.

Well I just looked up and it’s not Xmas Eve anymore… the presents are all under the tree and I’ve been going back and forth between writing this and vacuuming up the tell-tale glitter that came off these new sparkly ribbons Curtis bought for the "Santa gifts". Our 6 year old twin sons Roman and Nyro (No, he wasn’t named after "Dylan" for a change.) are fast asleep and I’m staring out of my window in the apartment we keep here looking over Central Park where I can see the street lights shining on the snow and the paper lantern buildings lined up on the other side… shutting off one by one.

I guess Bob and I are tuned into the same station… I too can only hear Laura Nyro singing in my head…

Christmas in my soul… Christmas in my soul… joy to this world

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