“Wedding Bell Blues”

I forgot to post a Laura Nyro song yesterday, as I was busy trying to find my ducks (it was cold, and they didn’t appear). If you were of music-appreciating age in the Sixties, you either loved Nyro (as did I) or ignored her. To my mind, this is Laura Nyro’s best song, and it’s also number one on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “10 essential Laura Nyro songs.

Nyro wrote this song when she was just 18, and it was released the same year (1966) on her “More Than a New Discovery” album, packed full of great songs. As Wikipedia notes, this isn’t the song that Nyro intended to record:

Nyro wrote “Wedding Bell Blues” at the age of 18 as a “mini-suite”, featuring several dramatic rhythmic changes — a trait Nyro explored on future albums. It was to be recorded in 1966 for Verve Folkways label as part of what would become her More Than a New Discovery album. However, producer Herb Bernstein did not allow Nyro to record this version, which led to Nyro more or less disowning the entire album.

What was recorded was fairly similar in content and arrangement to the later, much more familiar, 5th Dimension version, albeit with a somewhat more soulful vocal line. It was released as a single in September 1966 and remained on the Billboard Pop Singles “Bubbling Under” charts segment for several weeks, peaking at #103.

It’s hard to believe this song didn’t go above #103, yet the version recorded three years later by the Fifth Dimension (hear it here), featuring the incomparable Marylyn McCoo, went to #1. I like Nyro’s better. Go figure.

9 Comments

  1. Posted March 21, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I’m a decade behind you and had never heard of Ms. Nyro. What a treasure! Brilliant heads up.

  2. philfinn7
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I am about the same age as you Jerry, and although I grew up in Oz, we were very much into American music. And I have never heard of her either. And now to listen! Cheers.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted March 21, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Same here. UK.

  3. August Berkshire
    Posted March 21, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    My top three Laura Nyro songs, in order:

    1) Stoney End
    2) Eli’s Coming
    3) Wedding Bell Blues

  4. Posted March 21, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    It’s nice that Marilyn McCoo did marry Bill!

  5. Posted March 21, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Although not really my style, I’ve always appreciated Laura Nyro’s talent.

  6. Posted March 21, 2018 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for that Jerry. I was more familiar with the 5th dimension rendition but Nyro is better.


%d bloggers like this: