Phoebe Snow, Bluesy Singer-Songwriter, Dies at 60
By STEPHEN HOLDEN
Phoebe Snow, whose signature hit, “Poetry Man,” established her as a leading light of the singer-songwriter movement and whose swooping vocal acrobatics transcended musical genres, died on Tuesday in Edison, N.J. She was 60.
Her death, at a hospital in Edison, was caused by complications of a stroke she suffered in January 2010, her manager, Sue Cameron, said. Some sources give Ms. Snow’s age as 58, though New Jersey voter records say she was born on July 17, 1950.
“Poetry Man,” a lilting guitar-based original song from her 1974 debut album, “Phoebe Snow” (Shelter), catapulted Ms. Snow to fame. The song, with lyrics addressed to a married man, rose to No. 5 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and the album went to No. 4 on the album chart. Released as the singer-songwriter movement was at the peak of its influence, the album led to a Grammy nomination for Ms. Snow as best new artist of 1974.
A soaring contralto, Ms. Snow was variously labeled a jazz, blues, pop, funk and gospel artist, depending on the record she released. Few popular singers of her generation combined the technical resources she commanded. She was a renowned interpreter of soul and rock classics, including the Temptations’ “Shakey Ground,” Barbara Acklin’s “Love Makes a Woman,” the Buckinghams’ “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and Aretha Franklin’s “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man,” which Ms. Snow sang with a roof-raising power. continue to the rest of the New York Times obituary
A tremendous singer, fine guitarist and song writer who will be missed.