Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

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Will C.
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Joined: Mon Oct 10, 2022 12:30 pm

Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by Will C. »

Laura Nyro is such an immensely talented and POWERFUL artist. Something that blows my mind is how little video footage there is available of her. This poignant statement from Laura Barton in her Guardian article "The passion and soul of Laura Nyro" comes to mind:

"There is a clip on YouTube, just under four minutes long, that shows the American singer-songwriter Laura Nyro giving a special performance of her song Broken Rainbow, in honour of Earth Day 1990. It’s a video of a video, and while the voice is strong, the image ladders and blinks as if it is beamed from both far away and long ago. Together, the effect is disconcerting: the closeness of the song, the distance of the singer."

So, I ask this forum a question that has been eating away at me in recent weeks. Is there more footage out there that isn't available via the main routes (YouTube, etc.)? So far, my journey has come up relatively fruitless. I thought I was onto something when I landed on the Historic Films archive website, but only the well-distributed Monterey Pop footage turned up as a result.

Some videos that were once briefly available to be seen were scrubbed from the internet. "Timer" live at Yale University in 1973 comes to mind, which I can't find any trace of.

And then there's the video that is talked about, but impossible to uncover. Her episode of WNET / PBS "Critique" which is available as audio only. The original video reel is believed to have been taped over. Also, an unreleased film called "Night Passage."

If anybody could help give me any leads or point me in a direction(s) where more could be witnessed, I would be infinitely grateful!

pljms
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by pljms »

I think the best hope we have is that someone made a private recording of Laura Nyro's wiped 'In Concert' show for the BBC in 1971. There have been a few instances over the years of private copies of previously lost TV shows coming to the surface, but this tends to happen only after an advertising campaign by the BBC. I recall several lost episodes from 1970 of the sitcom Steptoe & Son being found this way and being re-broadcast in the 1990s after a bit of digital cleansing. From what little I know of Laura Nyro's show for the BBC, it was something in the region of 30 to 40 minutes long and featured her alone at the piano in front of an invited audience performing around 8 or 9 songs, a veritable treasure trove when you consider the dearth of footage there is of her performing on TV.
Paul

pljms
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by pljms »

pljms wrote:
Tue Oct 11, 2022 2:04 am
From what little I know of Laura Nyro's show for the BBC, it was something in the region of 30 to 40 minutes long and featured her alone at the piano in front of an invited audience performing around 8 or 9 songs, a veritable treasure trove when you consider the dearth of footage there is of her performing on TV.
I've just come across an old blog by music journalist Richard Williams in which he remembers being present at both Laura's concert at The Royal Festival Hall in February 1971 and the recording of her BBC TV In Concert show a few months later. He also gave details of the setlist for the BBC show and it is as follows:

Medley of Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing and Natural Woman
Buy And Sell
Stoned Soul Picnic
I Am The Blues
Christmas In My Soul
Medley of Timer, Ooh Child and Up On The Roof
Mother Earth
Stoney End

Apparently during the run-through before recording started she asked her then boyfriend Jackson Browne to sit in the audience where she could see him, only to later chastise him good humouredly for singing along with her.
Paul

Sara D
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by Sara D »

The dear lady would have been 75 today and twenty-five years after her death she remains a little known woman of mystery. I read somewhere that a documentary film about her life is in the works and I should imagine that all the existing video footage of her performing will be shown in this film, including all the rarely seen stuff that suddenly appears on YouTube and just as quickly disappears.

Blair N. Cummings
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by Blair N. Cummings »

There have been rumors of documentaries "in the works" for over thirty years, many of which seemed credible at the time. There was supposed to have been a video crew at one of the Bottom Line shows I saw around `90 but none ever showed.
It`s difficult to guess the interest such a project would arouse today. Often, media hype exaggerates a performer`s popularity. Clive Davis revealed in his first book that one of the best kept secrets of Columbia/CBS Records was how few copies of his albums Bob "Dylan" actually sold. The number was miniscule compared to his vaunted "influence." I honestly don`t know where a Nyro doc would end up today. There`s currently a theatrical release of a celebration of Bowie (`Moonage Daydream`) but I can`t imagine a similarly wide distribution for an appreciation of Laura.

pljms
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by pljms »

There was a very well made hour long radio documentary broadcast by the BBC in 2005 entitled Shooting Star - Laura Nyro Remembered. It was presented by Bette Midler and included interviews with David Geffen, Janis Ian and Laura's biographer, Michele Kort. I believe this documentary received a lot of positive feedback, so much so that the BBC broadcast it again a year or so later. I'd forgotten that I taped this programme so it was a very pleasant surprise recently to stumble upon the old audio cassette and to listen to the doc once again.
Paul

geoff85
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Re: Laura Nyro: The Search For Video Footage

Post by geoff85 »

Sara D wrote:
Tue Oct 18, 2022 2:46 am
The dear lady would have been 75 today and twenty-five years after her death she remains a little known woman of mystery. I read somewhere that a documentary film about her life is in the works and I should imagine that all the existing video footage of her performing will be shown in this film, including all the rarely seen stuff that suddenly appears on YouTube and just as quickly disappears.
Laura Nyro might not be as obscure as you think. The internet is a wonderful thing in that you are able to stumble upon talented artist you otherwise might not have if you had to count on the radio or music you pay for. Im a millennial who discovered Nyro in 2010 and havent turned back since. She is my fave female singer songwriter of all time. Just like how I wish Warwick had stayed with Burt and Hal after 73 and kept that sound going I wish Nyro had kept that her late 60's and early 70s sound going much longer and kept on making music more consistently because her albums were a true blessing for lovers of high art in musical form.

Her life story is very intriguing and I think there is alot of mystery that still surrounds much of her personal life. It would be great to see an a list celebrity play her to give a bit of exposure to her amongst a broader audience. I could see Lady Gaga with a long black wig and having that NY sensibility about her doing an effective job especially now that she has done classic vocal training.She was a gift and ornamented the earth during her short time here.

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