Laura Nyro And The Summer Of 1968

Jun 2, 2018
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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We all have songs that bring memories. Fifty years ago, Laura Nyro wrote a song that put momentous and terrifying events into words. Martin Luther King, an apostle of peace, had been shot down. There was grief, unrest and uprising in the streets.

Then Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968. The funeral train that bore his body from New York to Washington, D.C., to be buried next to a brother who had also been felled by an assassin, brought out millions of Americans of all kinds and colors, along a route of backstreets, rusty bridges and the backsides of apartment blocks to sob, cheer and say goodbye.

America boiled. Americans died overseas in Vietnam and at home in our great cities. The Democratic National Convention met in Chicago that broiling summer, and crowds and cops in Grant Park broke into open rebellion. It was in June 1968 a 20-year-old Laura Nyro went into a Los Angeles studio and sang.

LAURA NYRO: (Singing) Come on, people. Come on, children. There's a king at the glory river. And the precious king, he loved the people to sing. Babies in the blinkin' sun sang, we shall overcome. I got fury in my soul. Fury's gonna take me to the glory goal. In my mind, I can't study war no more. Save the people. Save the children. Save the country now. Come on, people. Come on, children. Come on down to the glory river. Gonna wash you up and wash you down. Gonna lay the devil down. Gonna lay that devil down. Come on, people. Sons and mothers, keep the dream of the two young brothers. Got to take that dream and ride that dove. We can build the dream with love, I know. We can build the dream with love. We could build the dream with love, I know. We could build the dream with love. I got fury in my soul. Fury's gonna take me to the glory goal. In my mind, I can't study war no more. Save the people. Save the children. Save the country. Save the country. Save the country. Save the country. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.