Phoebe Snow, one of its most respected and versitile voices to ever grace the stage, passed away this morning after long and courageous battles against a variety of health issues. She was 58 years old.
Highly respected among musicians and adored by fans, Phoebe’s body of work ran the gamut from folk, blues, jazz, soul, rock n roll – she could do it all and did it effortlessly. When her signature song, ‘Poetry Man’ became a Top 5 hit, Phoebe was on her way to rightfully becoming the premier vocalists of her generation. But when her daughter, Valerie Rose, was born with severe brain damage, she decided to be her primary care giver rather than place her in an institution. Doctors told Snow that her daughter would only live a few years, but she knew better. Valerie Rose lived for 31 years before passing away in 2007.
Like a lot of singer-songwriters-vocalists of that time, Phoebe’s recording career was derailed by record company politics, as they weren’t quite sure how to market her expansive musicial tastes. She sang on a series of commercial jingles and sang the theme song to NBC’s ‘A Different World’. She enjoyed a bit of reinassiance when she joined The New York Rock & Soul Revue which featured Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald, Boz Scaggs and Charles Brown, among others. Her version of the Etta James classic, ‘At Last’ was considered the show’s highlight.
A big heart to match and equally big voice, Phoebe Snow will be missed but never forgotten. Rest in peace.
Here’s a great piece that aired on CBS Sunday Morning a few years back…