One year ago my friend Phoebe Snow died. I didn't get to say goodbye. She asked me to write the liner notes to her Very Best of Album on Sony. It was a labor of love. Dear Crazy Friend you are missed every day. Here is what I wrote in 2001 on the CD:
I could not possibly recount every accolade that has been written about my friend Phoebe Snow. They simply wouldn’t fit in this tiny space on the CD. So I tried to remember just what it was in our first meeting that resulted in a friendship that has lasted years. It is more than the fact that I get “Happy Birthday” sung to me every year by a voice that surpasses anything I have ever heard. I was assigned to interview Phoebe for Entertainment Tonight. She was promoting a new album. I don’t generally become friends with my interview subjects because….well, many of them need PR agents just to arrange a beer and a game of pool. Not Phoebe. There wasn’t a handler in site. Just her, me and my crew. After the crew left we talked for what seemed like hours about everything from love lives and family to music and her beloved daughter Valerie. By the time I left that New York City rehearsal studio, I had a friend. I can chock it up to one factor- Phoebe is real.
I love it when a friend new to her music asks me how I would label her work. I just laugh, knowing that is one subject that is guaranteed to make Phoebe roll her eyes. I really don’t have an answer for my friends or for you if you are picking up a Phoebe CD for the first time. I can tell you this- whether she is remolding a McCartney classic like “Every Night” or rocking the house with “Standing on Shaky Ground” or reminding you of the love of your life with her signature “Poetry Man”, she gives you every ounce of her soul and talent. She is unfiltered. She speaks her mind and sings with her heart. She can have every jaw in the house on the floor moments after walking on a stage and hitting her first note. I watched from the side of the stage at a benefit as another diva, Mariah Carey, was so blown away when Phoebe started to wail, all she could say was- “Wow”. I don’t know if a singer of Mariah’s caliber could offer a higher compliment. The letters Phoebe gets on her website (www.phoebesnow.com
) share Mariah’s sentiments. Longtime fans tell stories of love gone bad, good times, hard times and everything in between (with Phoebe’s music serving as a soundtrack to their lives).
I do know that after you have taken the CD and proceeded to the check out counter (am I being to pushy?) and then popped it in your CD player in the car or at home- you, me and Mariah Carey will have one thing in common: when Phoebe Snow hits your speakers, your vocabulary will be pretty much reduced to one word. Wow.