Singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow, 60, has died

Phoebe-Snow

Image Credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Phoebe Snow, the distinctively voiced singer-songwriter who penned the ’70s radio staple “Poetry Man” and toured with the likes of Jackson Browne, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, and Paul Simon (she appeared on his hit “Gone at Last”), has passed away following complications from a 2010 brain hemorrhage. She was 60.

Snow’s self-titled 1974 debut was almost instantly successful, spawning the top-5 hit “Poetry Man” and earning her a 1975 Grammy nod for Best New Artist (she lost to Marvin Hamlisch).  Many collaborations and several smaller successes followed, though Snow’s career was ultimately sidelined by the care required for her daughter, Valerie, born severely brain-injured in December 1975.

“Occasionally I put an album out, but I didn’t like to tour, and [the albums] didn’t get a lot of label support,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008, according to abcnews.com. “But you know what? It didn’t really matter because I got to stay home more with Valerie, and that time was precious.”

Younger audiences may know her bluesy croon best from commercial jingles—she sang the theme song for the Cosby spinoff A Different World, as well as “Celebrate the Moments of Your Life” for General Foods International Coffees, and was featured in ads for Michelob, AT&T, and Hallmark. She also appeared frequently on Howard Stern, and performed at Stern’s wedding in 2008.

Watch her below, duetting with Linda Ronstadt on Saturday Night Live in 1979:

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  • scott

    R.I.P. Phoebe Snow. My favorite song of hers is “All Over.” Still sometimes gets stuck in my head for no reason. A true legend and amazing talent.

  • Anona Muss

    She was such a great mother as well, it should be noted. She quit the music scene to care for her disabled daughter.

    • DFSF

      thank you, redundancy police.

      • Anona Muss

        You’re welcome, jack-assery poster. This wasn’t in the article when I wrote it, tool man.

    • e4ia

      EW has done that to me in the past, too. I make a comment about something said or left out of the article and come back later and the article has been altered, making my comment look silly or make no sense.

  • riley

    that’s too bad that she died. I know the song Poetry Man, but I didn’t realize she was the one who performed it. (and I watched a few episodes of A Different World too- and I liked it.) Queen Latifah did a great remake of Poetry Man not too long ago.

    • David Clark

      Queen Lateefah has never done anything serious or talented, at least not in song. Some of her acting and still commercial work is decent, but music-hney that bus done left the station without her.

  • Tommy TuTone

    She had a beautiful voice and spirit. You will live forever in your music.

  • Beenie

    Phoebe Snow was a truly phenomenal and underappreciated talent. I have a lot of her albums on vinyl and her voice was so cool and so smooth, I got chills from listening! what a sad loss for the world – she was truly a talented woman.

    • debra

      i have her on vinyl too beenie – she will be missed but i’m glad she is not suffering any longer. another reason i kept my vinyl. peace

  • starei2

    A beautiful soul. RIP Ms Phoebe, your music has filled my heart since the 70’s.

  • defroh

    A very talented woman. Very distinctive style. I admired her for pretty much giving up her career to care for her disabled daughter. True talent will live on.

  • curlean

    Phoebe’s remake of “Love Makes A Woman” is outstanding as many of Her recordings are! R.I.P.

    • ZRob

      Yes, a gorgeous remake. RIP, Phoebe, you were lovely.

  • B.H.

    RIP Phoebe……. beautiful soul, beautiful voice.

  • Kana

    She had such a lovely voice and was an incredibly dedicated mother. May she rest in peace.

  • Wendy

    HUGE talent that will be missed! Her voice was awesome and her compassion unmatched! Beautiful soul! She was a special part of out lives for those who loved this talented women’s music. She will have a great legacy!

    • Marek Skocovsky

      Can somebody…?

    • Butterscotch

      I named my 1st. car after Phoebe because she (all my cars are female) gave me great pleasure. My favorite was Harpo’s Blues…

      • Rajeev Hasaparaneethavexicon

        Thanks for putting things into perspective and making this story about you and your stupid car.

      • Butterscotch

        @ Rajeev – my comment wasn’t about my ‘stupid’ car. It illustrated how important Phoebe’s music was in my life. I’d play her music loudly while I was driving. Maybe you’re just a stupid human…what if I had named my 1st. cat or dog Phoebe? Would this be about my pets?

      • Jena

        Yeah, we don’t care about your dumb car.

      • Toxic Warrior

        @Rajeev, @ Jena. You two need to dial it back and get some perspective. It seems YOU TWO are making it about your selves with your faux outrage. Just pay your respects and save the outrage and whinging for where it matters.

  • kaydevo

    I wore out her “Phoebe Snow” album in the 70s. Loved Poetry Man. Sorry to hear of her passing.

    • stiffy

      yes, I recently bought a Soft Rock CD collection and her classic ‘Poetry Man’ was a hidden gem…love it. RIP

  • Mike

    A distinctive voice. Sorry to hear of her passing.

  • Carol Naveira

    While I never heard her live in concert, I enjoyed listening to Phoebe Snow. Harpo’s Blues (from the debut album) remains one of my all-time favorite songs. I am sad to hear of her passing. May she rest in peace and be reunited with her daughter.

  • milessilverberg

    Wow, the SNL clip you picked is always the first thing I think of when I think of Phoebe. It was such a classic moment. Later in the show, they also did a heartbreaking version of “Married Man” by The Roches. RIP.

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