Phoebe Snow (July 17, 1950 - April 26, 2011) was a critically acclaimed and versatile singer, songwriter and guitarist who became famous during the mid 1970s and helped define the singer-songwriter movement of that decade. She had a distinctive soulful, smoky contralto with a range spanning some four octaves. Her music was a unique blend of such diverse genres as pop, soft rock, jazz, blues, R&B, soul, folk, and gospel. Born Phoebe Ann Laub in New York City, Snow began performing in the Greenwich Village area during the early 1970s and signed with Shelter Records in 1972. Her fame soared in 1974 with the release of her self-titled debut album which went gold, made the Top 5 on the Billboard 200, and spawned her first hit the following year with the self-penned ballad, "Poetry Man." Snow received a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1975, and she was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone.
After the success of "Poetry Man," which topped the Adult Contemporary charts and became a Top 5 Pop/Rock hit, Snow had a long string of hits that also included "Harpo's Blues" (1975), "Shakey Ground" (1977), "Games" (1981), and "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" (1981). She had a Top 40 hit in 1975 with Paul Simon and The Jessy Dixon Singers with the gospel-infused "Gone At Last," and she can also be heard providing background vocals on Simon's 1976 smash hit, "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover." Her hits continued on the Adult Contemporary charts through 1989 with "Dreams I Dream" (1988, with Dave Mason), "If I Can Just Get Through The Night" (1989), and "Something Real" (1989). She also had a minor hit on the R&B charts in 1978 with her cover of "Love Makes A Woman."
Over the years, Snow released many albums that included the gold-certified "Second Childhood" (1976) and her latest release, "Live" (2008). She also lent her unique vocals to various TV theme songs and commercial jingles, made many TV appearances, and appeared in "Noah's Arc: Jumping The Broom" (2008). Some of her music was also featured in the film's soundtrack. Though she continued to record and perform actively through 2008, she devoted most of her adult life to the care of her beloved daughter who was born with severe brain damage, and she was often forced to put her career on hold. In 1998, Snow received the Cultural Achievement Award by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. Her many other honors and accolades also included a Don Kirshner Rock Award, several Playboy Music Poll Awards, New York Music Awards, and the Clio Award. In 1999, she performed at Camp David for President Bill Clinton, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and his cabinet.
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- Phoebe Snow discusses the inspiration behind "Poetry Man," caring for her daughter, and other topics in an interview with Eric Snider for cltampa.com.
- The New York Times remembers Phoebe Snow.
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- Poetry Man 1975
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