Saturday, April 30, 2011

Remembering Phoebe Snow...

    I didn't want any more time to slip by without mentioning Phoebe Snow. The vast majority of people remember her for one thing, her 1975 hit single, "Poetry Man", and of course we will get a view of that here, but to my mind it's the rest of her life that made her memorable.

     She was discovered singing at the Bitter End club in New York City in 1972 and a few years later released her highly acclaimed first album. The album went top five, and Snow was nominated for a Grammy in the new artist category, soon afterward however came the event that changed her life.

     She was in a brief marriage to Phil Kearns and in December of 75, a daughter Valerie was born with severe brain damage. Rather than putting her in an institution, she chose instead to take care of her at home. Because of her stunning voice and unique ability to sing proficiently in just about any genre, it was difficult to pin her down, not to mention she never interested in finding a niche musically saying, "No creative person should ever produce the same thing over and over." This along with her commitment to taking care of her daughter set her career back, never quite ending it, but never allowing for the momentum needed for personal success in music.  

      She would do studio work, and did several ads over the years for different products as well as an occasional TV appearance. She's also would record the occasional album, but didn't care much for touring and the demands of her as a mother never would allow her to tour extensively. Because of this, most record labels did not promote the little output she had.  She did studio work for many artists, and friends such as Howard Stern kept her on the front burner and in the public consciousness. In fact she sang at Stern's wedding in 2008.

     Valerie died at the age of 31 in 2007, and Phoebe threw herself back into music not so much to make up for lost time, but as therapy over the loss of her, "best friend". 2010 was the year that Snow intended to make an album and for the first time in years back it up with a tour, but in January she suffered a stroke and slipped into a coma. The last 15 months have been battles with phenomena and congestive heart failure until her death on Tuesday.

     Look back on her career, she commented to the LA Times in 2008, "In hindsight, I missed out on some good or productive years. On the other hand … I really made the only choice I could under the circumstances." The fact of the matter was she did have a choice, and although it might have kept the world from knowing Phoebe Snow, it makes her even more memorable.


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