clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: Poetry Man

Phoebe Snow had an incredible voice and a very difficult life.

Singing Cop Daniel Rodriguez
Phoebe Snow during NYPD officer Daniel Rodriguez celebrates the release of his album “The Spirit of America” at Lure. at Lure Restaurant in New York City, New York, United States.
Photo by KMazur/WireImage

Phoebe Snow was a brilliant vocalist who lived, through no fault of her own, a tragic life.

Her talent was obvious early to many. She was on a bill at the Bitter End, in New York, with a young Bruce Springsteen, among others, and asked him how he had managed to get signed. Don’t worry, he told her, you won’t have to wait long.

And she didn’t. She was soon signed by Shelter Records and her first album came out in 1975. The big hit, which still gets played a fair amount, was Poetry Man, which was huge.

Just when her career was taking off, Snow had a daughter, Valerie Rose, who was born with severe brain damage. Rather than institutionalizing her, she dedicated her life to her daughter, sacrificing much of her career.

She did lot of commercials for a while to keep some money coming in and her loving care helped her daughter, who wasn’t expect to live more than a few years, to live for 31, dying in 2007.

Snow began to perform again, though devastated. Sadly, she would lose her own life a few short years later, dying in 2011 of a cerebral hemorrhage and congestive heart failure. She was just 58. Her voice continues to dazzle.