If you had been in New York City on Christmas Eve 1970, you could have taken in a show at the Fillmore East, where singer/songwriter (and 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee) [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Laura Nyro[/lastfm] was wrapping up a two-night stand. Her opening act was a new artist from California who was already getting positive reviews and reaction from audiences.
Music writer Susan Mittlekauf remembered the Christmas Eve show: “I had never heard of Jackson Browne at that point, but I liked him right away. And even though I was not there to see him — it was Laura that I was dying to see — I was very taken by his show. She was blue-eyed soul and he was very folky, so musically it was a perfect fit.”
A New York Times critic wrote, “Mr. Browne is certainly worthwhile as a songwriter.” The same critic remarked on Browne’s long hair and soft-spoken style on stage, echoing a Los Angeles critic’s comparison of Browne to [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]James Taylor[/lastfm] earlier in the month.
Browne and Nyro were not just a musical fit. According to Nyro’s biographer, close friends believe Nyro and Browne became lovers on the tour. When the performers returned from the European leg of their tour in early 1971, the relationship was over. “It was never a great big relationship,” said Browne’s manager, David Geffen. “Maybe it was for her. I don’t remember it being a cause of tremendous pain. Jackson was very pretty, not at all the kind of guy she was usually interested in. She liked [lastfm link_type="artist_info"]Sonny Bono[/lastfm]!”
Browne didn’t forget Nyro, however. His 1980 hit song “That Girl Could Sing” is said to be about her. Here’s a live performance from 1982.
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