November 29, 2010

Margo Guryan -the most influential pop icon most people never heard of.

I'll admit I didn't hear anything by Margo Guryan the singer-songwriter until the reissue of her first (and only) album which was originally released by Bell Records in 1968. That might be the culprit, since Bell Records wasn't exactly grinding out hits and they weren't exactly promoted either.

But that's not to say Margo Guryan was a complete nobody. She had a wildly successful run as a writer of songs recorded by other people which would have made her a shoe-in for recognition in her own right. It happened with Carole King, so surely it could have happened for Margo Guryan. Well, the big difference at the time was, A&M believed in and promoted their artists and Bell just didn't. Our loss.

After the somewhat dismal failure of Take A Picture, Guryan retreated from the pop music world to concentrate on the nuts and bolts of making music. Still a writer, but more of a music teacher. And it pretty much stayed that way until around 2000 when the Indie label Franklin Castle secured the rights (and the masters) to her Bell album, along with several demos and aborted singles and the world got a chance to rediscover her.

So tonight's Roundtable consists of the last track off Take A Picture, a five minute quasi-freakout tapestry called Love which amply demonstrates what a remarkable talent she was (and still is - she's still composing) not only for writing but arranging and production.

Sadly, you hear too many stories about the ones criminally neglected in the pop music world (any genre of music, for that matter) that it makes you sometimes wonder just how much of a miracle it is that anyone makes or survives. So when you run across these neglected or undiscovered gems, it at least makes you glad someone out there is listening.

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