Laura Nyro didn’t tell us HOW to surry. She just asked if we could do it. Then she instructed us to,
“Surry down to the stoned soul picnic. There’ll be lots of time and wine, red-yellow honey, sassafras and moonshine. And from the sky come the Lord and the lightning.”
What? What did you say would come from the sky?
And “surry” by the way, is a verb that Laura Nyro admitted she made up.
Laura’s Stoned Soul Picnic became a platinum record for The Fifth Dimension, selling more than a million copies.
Do you have the courage to write that way?
“Eli’s comin’. Hide your heart, girl. Eli’s comin’. Better walk-walk. But you’ll never get away from the burnin’ heartache. I walked to Apollo by the bay.”
In ancient times, the temple of Apollo by the bay in Naples was believed to be one of the entrances to the Underworld. So maybe Laura Nyro was saying, “I walked to the edge of death tryin’ escape the burnin’ heartache.” But then again, maybe she meant something else entirely. She never bothered to say.
Do you have the courage to write ads that way?
“Yes, but why would I want to?”
“Because most ad writing is painfully predictable and coldly colorless. It lacks rhythm and bounce. It lacks laughter and light. And that’s why people ignore it.”
“I’m not scared of dying and I don’t really care. If it’s peace you find in dying – when dying time is here – just bundle up my coffin, ‘cause I hear that it’s cold way down there. Yeah, crazy cold way down there. My troubles are many, they’re as deep as a well. I can swear there ain’t no heaven, but I pray there ain’t no hell.”
Written when she was 17, Laura Nyro’s And When I Die sold more than 4 million copies and was certified quadruple platinum. It also won a Grammy for Blood, Sweat and Tears in 1970. The rhythm and bounce of that song were remarkable. [I’ve gathered all these songs for you in the rabbit hole – Indy Beagle]
Do you have the courage to write website copy with rhythm and bounce?
Believe it or not, it was a Laura Nyro song that made Barbra Streisand a household word. Laura’ s Stoney End (1971) was Barbra’s biggest song for 5 years, until she recorded Evergreen in 1976.
“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 want to see the morning. I never wanted to go down the stoney end. Mama let me start all over. Cradle me, Mama, cradle me again. I can still remember him with love light in his eyes. But the light flickered out and parted as the sun began to rise. Now I don’t believe I want to see the morning.”
And just to show us the breadth of her diversity, Laura Nyro wrote Wedding Bell Blues.
“Bill, I love you so. I always will. I look at you and see the passion eyes of May. But am I ever gonna see my wedding day? I was on your side, Bill, when you were losing. I was the one came runnin’ when you were lonely. In your voice I hear a choir of carousels. But am I ever gonna hear my wedding bells?”
Hang on a second. What does “a choir of carousels” sound like?
Wedding Bell Blues rocketed to #1 on the charts and stayed there for 15 weeks.
Do you have the courage to engage the imagination and raise eyebrows?
If you do, you’ll elevate attention, increase time on site, time spent listening, and ultimately conversion and profitability.
Do I have your attention now?
The reason most ad writers don’t have the courage to include made-up words and weird phrases in their ads is because every time they’ve done it in the past, a prune-faced martinet weaned on a pickle rapped them on the knuckles with a ruler, rolled his eyes and said, “You’re not doing it right.”
Frightened, uptight martinets would rather be “safe and correct” than successful.
Elton John credits Laura Nyro with giving him the courage to cut loose, engage the imagination and raise eyebrows. In a 2008 interview, Sir Elton spoke of the influence Laura Nyro had on his songwriting. “I idolized her,” he said. “The soul, the passion – just the out-and-out audacity… was like nothing I’d heard before.”
Laura Nyro refused multiple invitations to appear on The Tonight Show and on Late Night with David Letterman. Uncomfortable with her fame, she retired from songwriting at 24, then passed away 20 years ago at the age of 49.
Last week, Wizard Academy purchased a treasure trove from the family of Laura Nyro, including the letter she received from David Geffen, the painting she made of her mother, the music chart you see at the top of this page, a chunk of her personal record collection and a couple of dozen other mementos of her reluctant ride to fame 50 years ago.
You’ll see all of these on display when you attend our special event of 2018, How to Make Money by Raising Eyebrows. We’re going to teach you how to think like a songwriter when you’re writing ads and website copy.
I say you’re going to have a wonderful time and return home happier, healthier, and ready to rock the world with your words.
That’s what I say.
Roy H. Williams
True confession: Roving reporter Rotbart says he interviewed this week’s guest for almost an hour and is still confused about blockchain. But it’s a sizzling-hot topic and he’s confident that most of you – because you are exceptional – will get what it’s all about. Chris Boscolo is on the cutting edge of the rapidly expanding blockchain universe and there is zero doubt that blockchain is poised to revolutionize global commerce and digital privacy on an order of magnitude comparable to the transformation brought about by the introduction and growth of the Internet. Countless billions of dollars will be made by those who can unlock and monetize blockchain’s complexities. Listen in as Chris offers a Master Class on the upwardly-spiraling blockchain phenomenon that will soon replace all of our passwords, physical IDs, and even the keys on our keychains by using blockchain-enabled smartphone applications. Roving reporter Rotbart says the interview will begin as soon as you click the start button at MondayMorningRadio.com