“Sweet Blindness”

Laura Nyro released her song “Sweet Blindness” in 1968, when she was 20; it appeared on her well-known album Eli and the Thirteenth ConfessionBut it was a bigger hit for the Fifth Dimension—who recorded many of Nyro’s songs—in the same year, reaching #13 on the Billboard charts (their version is here). Nyro’s is better, but I doubt that it even placed on the charts. It’s one of my ten favorite Laura Nyro songs.

A note from Wikipedia:

The song was a drinking song, that sounded old fashioned, and noted for its rhythm changes, as well as for its brass section. The song ends with the noted Count Basie piano riff before the brass holds a long jazzy cadenza.

I can’t hear the Basie-an piano riff!

You’ll be taken to YouTube if you click the version below; to go directly to the recording, click here.

If you want a real chuckle, watch this live version with Frank Sinatra (wearing a psychedelic, ruffed Jimi Hendrix costume), singing with the Fifth Dimension. He may have been Chairman of the Board, but this song isn’t his thing.

 

6 Comments

  1. Posted March 22, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Ok just found another hero, she wrote some good stuff and covered by quite a range of bands and artists. Blood, Sweet and Tears, 3 Dog night to the 5th Dimension.
    I Spotified and loaded her tunes for a good listen.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    “Sweet Blindness” provided what is widely seen as the nadir of Frank Sinatra’s musical career. Dig those crazy threads:

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Yes, Sinatra was out of his dimension.

  4. bbenzon
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t hear the Basie piano riff either, Jerry, but it’s there in the Sinatra/5th Dimension version.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    I love coming across stuff like this – let me try:

    There’s also a Mozart motif that was used as the basis of the melody. Scott Joplin-ish counterpoint is transformed in the middle section to provide drive. There’s a relationship between the tonic and dominant straight from Archimede’s experiments with jars filled with water.

    But if you can’t hear it, I guess YOU AREN’T HIP ENOUGH….

    Funny, this reminds me of a certain interview which transpired the other day,….

    In case I’m not being clear : I do not hear a Basie riff or a “jazzy cadenza” (trying not to laugh)… or put another way, there’s as much of a Basie riff as there is a Fats Waller riff.

    Oh and “rhythm changes” does not mean what Wikipedia thinks it means. Because this song ain’t “I Got Rhythm” changes… or maybe I’m not hip enough.

  6. Larry Smith
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Great choice – one of my favorites as well.

    I have a live version of Sweet Blindness on my iPod that is much less peppy and frantic than this version. As a result, you get to hear more of her wonderful, sultry voice.

    Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B3bM8MN_JFk

    There’s an great lyric change (at about 1:45) in this version, where she changes “I’m just a bit of a shade hungover” to “I’m just a bit of a shit hungover.” Understandable that couldn’t fly on the radio version, but I think it adds both a bit of edge and a nice internal rhyme to the song!

    Is there time to lobby for “Time and Love”?


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