(Bette Midler did the induction. Sarah Bareillie performed at the ceremony -- performed Laura's songs.)
Laura was a private woman and all we have at present is a book that's a pretty bad one. I'm hoping her son will write a book. I never forget how bad the book is but sometimes I'm reminded a new about how bad it was. Like when I hear someone speak about Laura that I never would have guessed like Laura's art, let alone knew her.
Last night, I blogged about the Liza Minnelli episode of Song Travels with Michael Feinstein -- a wonderful radio program hosted by Michael Feinstein. It's an hour long, weekly show where he and his guests talk songs.
For this post, I was saving when Liza spoke of Laura.
Michael asked what songwriters were important to her and had influenced her and her performances? She listed off a number of artists before stopping with.
Liza: [. . .] the wonderful Laura Nyro.
Michael: Oh yeah.
Liza: -- who really -- How about her harmonies?
Michael: Yeah, she was another one who was a bridge for me.
Liza: Me too!
Liza: She changed everything. She really did. And her songs were recorded a lot by the Fifth Dimension.
Michael: "Wedding Bell Blues." That one --
Liza: Oh, yes!
Michael: -- sure.
Liza: [Starts singing Nyro's "Sweet Blindness" which was also a hit for the Fifth Dimension] Let's go down by the grapevine, drink my daddy's wine." And they would change tempo. [Singing and clapping] "Oh, sweet blindness, a little loving, a little kindness." It was just fascinating. And it was like --
Michael: She was an instinctive writer. Did you know her?
Liza: Yes. Very well.
Michael: What was she like?
Liza: Fabulous. And she used to -- A little strange but most great writers can be a little strange. And she was. But good strange. She used to come to see me [laughing] at the Empire Room, at the Waldorf. And she came every night. And I introduced her like the first three nights and then backstage, after the third show, she said, "Look, when I want to be introduced, I will put a rose on the table. When I don't, there'll be no rose." I said, "Oh, good. Thanks. It helps a lot." Because sometimes she just wanted to listen to those arrangements and the songs themselves and just hang out.
Michael: Were you singing any of her songs?
Liza: Yes, I was. It was a medley that I did -- a dance medley, naturally. So, yeah, we used "Sweet Blindness," we used a bunch of stuff. [Clapping and singing Nyro's "Poverty Train"] "Well it looks good and dirty on shiny light strips." I mean, she was sensational. I still listen to her.
C.I. knows Liza and the first thing I did Friday morning was ask about that. I am so sorry to Liza. I've enjoyed her acting and singing over the years but I guess I had this image of Liza with a lampshade, always the life of the party and singing and center of attention. C.I. said Liza is one of the most generous people when it comes to praising others and provided many examples.
I'm glad to learn about that side of Liza Minnelli. And I'm really glad Liza was kind enough to share her memories of Laura on the radio. If you're like me, you're a big Laura fan and you know the same stories that can be told because that's all there is out there. Liza's stories were a joy and a real treasure for a Laura fan. If you're a Laura fan, I'm sure you're agreeing with me right now and probably a little touched by what a sweet woman Liza Minnelli is to share those stories.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"