“Stoney End”

Two more days remain in Laura Nyro Song Week (we’ve skipped a few days). Nyro had many good songs, and I’m just putting up my favorites. This one, Stoney End, was made famous not by Nyro, but by Barbra Steisand’s cover on her eponymous album. That version isn’t nearly as good as Nyro’s version—despite Streisand having one of the two great women’s voices of our time. (You should know the other by now.) Somehow Streisand’s version lacks the emotionality of Nyro’s.

Stoney End is #2 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s “10 Essential Laura Nyro Songs“, which describes the song like this:

Written by Nyro when she was a teenager, “Stoney End” was a deceptively simple folk-pop cut that illustrated Nyro’s gift for complex vocal harmonies and melody. The song, initially released on More Than a New Discovery by the Folkways imprint, featured Nyro’s nuanced piano playing and lush production as the backdrop to a hard-worn, homespun narrative: I was born from love and my poor Mother worked the mines / I was raised on the good book Jesus / Till I read between the lines / Now I don’t believe I wanna see the morning. A precocious Nyro had developed a fondness for poetry, which imbued much of her work with a literary quality that belied her age. Barbra Streisand named her 1971 studio album after “Stoney End,” which included a cover of the title track that peaked at Number Six on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.

Don’t ask me what it’s about: you can find various interpretations on the Web. (I replaced an earlier version that wouldn’t play in the U.S.)

6 Comments

  1. Liz
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Wedding Bell Blues is her song that is most familiar to me. This song is beautiful also. I thought of Born Secular by Jenny Lewis which is a song I heard a few years ago. I’m not sure they have similar meanings but I thought of that song.

  2. David Jorling
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite all time songs as well. Here is a great rendition by Sarah Bareilles at a Rock and Roll Hall of fame show from several years ago, during a tribute to Laura Nyro:

  3. Posted March 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    despite Streisand having one of the two great women’s voices of our time. (You should know the other by now.)

    Yes, and I agree!

  4. Steve Zeoli
    Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Linda Ronstadt with the Stone Ponies also did a wonderful version of “Stoney End.”

    • Steve Zeoli
      Posted March 26, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, I guess that should be the Stone Poneys.

  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 27, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Again because bad things happen to white people it doesn’t mean non whites have not suffered from systemic oppression. Both things can actually happen and be true.


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