Laura Nyro’s “Eli And The Thirteenth Confession!” Todd Rundgren’s Love Letter To Laura’s Masterpiece!


“Yes, I’m ready, so come on, Luckie!”

These lyrics welcomed listeners to embrace a brilliant album from one of our great Singer/Songwriters, Laura Nyro…and she had something else to share as well:


“Eli’s a-comin’ and the cards say… a broken heart!”

Yes, Nyro also warned of a “ladies man” named Eli, who was coming to break your heart.
It’s a quirky song that was a huge hit for the 70’s group Three Dog Night, but it was also part of the brilliant “Eli And The Thirteenth Confession!”

Laura Nyro

Fans know that Laura Nyro burst onto the scene in the late 60’s with critically-acclaimed music, and big hit singles as well – for the other Artists who covered her songs.

Todd Rundgren fans also know that she was a huge influence on his music, and he spoke about it recently!


This great article in MOJO magazine sums up Todd’s thoughts on Laura, and Rundgren included an “ode” to her, “Baby Let’s Swing”/”The Last Thing You Said”/”Don’t Tie My Hands”, on his first solo album, “Runt.”


I loved seeing the MOJO story with Todd, as this magazine has shown a lot of interest in him lately, offering up coverage of his new music, as well as looking at Artists who have been influenced by Todd’s work.

Todd Rundgren AWATS

Here is an article they posted showing the influence that Todd’s “A Wizard A True Star” had on other Artists – and how many Artists have “sampled” his music. Check out the story here:

I also found a great video of Todd discussing his friendship with Laura – here is a look at that musical friendship, including the clip of Todd discussing her music:

The album that Todd was so heavily influenced by was called “Eli and the Thirteenth Confession”:


Laura Nyro released this album in 1968, but it sounds a fresh and vibrant today as it did when it was released – here are some of the highlights of this iconic album:



The album begins with an upbeat, breezy song with fascinating lyrics:

“Well, there’s an avenue of Devil who believe in stone
You can meet the captain at the dead-end zone
What Devil doesn’t know is that Devil can’t stay
Doesn’t know he’s seen his day

Oh, Luckie’s taking over and his clover shows
Devil can’t get out of hand
‘Cause Luckie’s taking over
And what Luckie says goes…”

Here is an audio-only version of the song:


“Sweet Blindness”

Another great song on the album was turned into a big hit soon after by the MOR pop group The Fifth Dimension.

I love these lyrics:

“Let’s go down by the grapevine
drink my dady’s wine
get happy
down by the grapevine
drink my daddy’s wine
get happy
oh sweet blindness
a little magic
a little kindness
oh sweet blindness
all over me…”

The Fifth Dimension rounded off some of Laura’s more raucous edges and made it much more “middle of the road”….here is the audio-only version by Laura:

Next up is another classic Nyro song:

“Poverty Train”

This is an amazing song – check out the lyrics:

“Last call for the poverty train
Last call for the poverty train
It looks good and dirty on shiny light strip
And if you don’t get beat you got yourself a trip
You can see the walls roar, see your brains on the floor
Become God, become cripple, become funky and split
Why was I born
whoa-oh no-no-no-no no no no, no

Oh baby, I just saw the Devil and he’s smilin’ at me
I heard my bones cry,
Devil why’s it got to be
Devil played with my brother,
Devil drove my mother
Now the tears in the gutter are floodin’ the sea
Why was I born
whoa-oh no-no-no-no no no no, no

Oh baby, it looks good and dirty, them shiny lights glow
A million night tramps, tricks and tracks will come and go
You’re starvin’ today
But who cares anyway
Baby, it feels like I’m dyin’ now

I swear there’s something better than
Getting off on sweet cocaine
It feels so good
It feels so good
Gettin’ off the poverty train

Here is a clip of Laura performing the song live at the Monterey Pop festival:

A legend has grown around her performance at this festival, as she felt the audience booed her as she performed…but the incredible new blu-ray release of the concert shows otherwise…see more here:

As I mentioned, many of Laura’s songs were turned into big hit singles, like this song from the album:

Eli's Coming Three Dog Night

“Eli’s Comin'” is one of Nyro’s biggest hits – for Three Dog Night! This vocal trio may have turned the song into a big hit, but Laura’s version is vastly superior – funky, soulful with a terrific goal range by Nyro:

Many of Laura’s greatest songs were hits for other Artists – Barbra Streisand and Blood, Sweat & Tears for example – you can see many more here:

Another huge hit for The Fifth Dimension is also on the album:


“Stoned Soul Picnic”

Yes, Nyro wrote many songs that The Fifth Dimension turned into big hits, but as always, the original version on this album was far superior.

Here is Laura performing the song from her 1989 live album, audio-only with some great fan graphics covering…

Thanks to “LauraLand4u” on YouTube for posting this!

The album is full of great songs like “Emmie”, “Woman’s Blues”, “December’s Boudoir” and the last song on the album, “The Confession”…

“Oh I hate my winsome lover
Tell him I’ve had others
At my breast
But tell him he held my heart
And only now am I a virgin
I confess

Love my love thing
Love is surely gospel…”

Her songwriting was honest, candid and at times painfully raw.

Here is an audio-only clip, covered with still of Laura:

This album is a masterpiece, and has been acknowledged as such from its time of release.

In the February 2016 issue of the british music magazine UNCUT, “Eli And The 13th Confession” was rated one the 100 Greatest Albums of All Time. Some have even commented that the cover of the album had an influence on Todd…


Todd Rundgren Healing album

Look at Laura’s album cover, then at Todd Rundgren’s “Healing” album – it seems to be an homage to Laura’s cover…Todd’s album is also spiritual, raw, honest and hopeful…and today, we need all of those things more than ever – you can read all about Todd’s brilliant album “Healing” here:

Let me know if you’ve heard “Eli And The 13th Confession!”


Categories: 70's Cinema, 70's Music, Art, Awards, Books / Media, Classic Rock, Cult Movies, Memoirs, Music, New York, Obscure Music, Talent/Celebrities, Todd Rundgren, Uncategorized

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12 replies

  1. Wonderful! Great look at this album, John. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been said that many imitated Laura Nyro. It’s never been said that Laura Nyro imitated anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never heard of her. When I listened to the recording on ‘Confession’ she sounds a lot like Joni Mitchell. Thanks for taking the time to share two of your favorite recording artists, John.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura was indeed a great songwriter, John. And your devotion to Todd continues unabated. A very nice combination, I agree.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pete! The album is a classic, and a number of other Artists did really well by recording her songs – and your British music magazines have shown Todd a lot of love in the last couple of years…thanks again for your comment!



  1. Brilliant Laura Nyro! Todd Rundgren’s Muse! Their Beautiful Musical History Together! – johnrieber
  2. The “Uncut” Monterey Pop! Laura Nyro’s Complete Performance On The Way! Criterion’s Amazing New Blu-Ray Has Uncut Hendrix! The Who Too! – johnrieber

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