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Repost: “Wedding Bell Blues”

Posted by purplemary54 on November 5, 2015

It would’ve been Laura Nyro’s 65th birthday not that long ago; it’s been fifteen years since she died. And I’m still not quite sure how to classify her in the music pantheon.

Laura Nyro did a little bit of everything. She played bluesy, folky, gospel rock. She played, sang, and wrote. Her piano work sounded simple, but I get the feeling there was a lot more going on. Or maybe that was just a result of the mood she created. Nyro, like fellow traveller Carole King, could fill a room with emotion just by singing a single line. You’ve heard her work, even if you’ve never heard of her.

Ever hear Barbra Streisand sing “Stoney End”? That was a Nyro song. Blood, Sweat, & Tears’ classic “And When I Die”? Yep, Laura Nyro wrote that. The 5th Dimension’s “Wedding Bell Blues”? Got it in one.

I’ve always loved this song. I can identify with the yearning for a romantic fairy tale ending (I’m a pretty, pretty princess who loves rainbows and flowers hidden the guise of a foul-mouthed cynic). She sings of her love and loyalty for Bill, who seems to be hesitating about making that final commitment to her: “I haven’t lived one day not loving you only.” There’s a resignation here, too, as if she knows on some level he’s never gonna get there, when she sings “And though devotion rules my heart, I take no bows, but Bill you never wanna take my wedding vows.”

I suppose it was no accident when The 5th Dimension covered this tune. Singer Marilyn McCoo married Billy Davis in 1969. Doing a little research for this post, I was kind of tickled to find out they’re still married today. Which makes this clip from 1969 kind of funny.

This Bill took his vows pretty seriously. Gotta love that.

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2 Responses to “Repost: “Wedding Bell Blues””

  1. Corina said

    This has long been a favorite of mine. I was in high school when the 5th Dimension recorded this. I had a special Bill then. It’s still a favorite even though there’s no more special Bill.

    • My dad was a Bill, too, although I only thought of the song in connection with him when I was tiny. It’s one of those songs that’s always been a part of my life, which is why I love it. I prefer Nyro’s version, myself, but the 5th Dimension did a great job on it.

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