Laura Ann Biography & Facts
Laura Ann Branigan (July 3, 1952 – August 26, 2004) was an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Her signature song, the platinum-certified 1982 single "Gloria", stayed on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for 36 weeks, then a record for a female artist, peaking at No. 2. It also reached number one in Australia and Canada. Branigan's "Gloria" was a cover of a song written by Italian singer-songwriter Umberto Tozzi. It reached great success in Italy and Europe in 1979. In 1984, she reached number one in Canada and Germany with the U.S. No. 4 hit "Self Control", which was released by Italian singer and songwriter Raf, the same year. She also had success in the United Kingdom with both "Gloria" and "Self Control" making the Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart.
Seeing her greatest level of success in the 1980s, Branigan's other singles included the Top 10 hit "Solitaire" (1983), the U.S. AC chart number one "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (1983), the Australian No. 2 hit "Ti amo" (1984), her return to the top 40 "The Power of Love" (1987), the top hit 15 dance "Shattered Glass". Her most successful album was 1984's platinum-selling Self Control. She also contributed songs to motion picture and television soundtracks, including the Grammy and Academy Award-winning Flashdance soundtrack (1983), and the Ghostbusters soundtrack (1984), and also Miami Vice (1984). In 1985, she won the Tokyo Music Festival with the song "The Lucky One".
Her chart success began to wane as the decade closed and after her last two albums Laura Branigan (1990) and Over My Heart (1993) garnered little attention, she generally retired from public life for the rest of the 1990s. She returned to performing in the early 2000s, most notably appearing as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis. As she was recording new music and preparing a comeback to the music industry, she died at her home in August 2004 from a previously undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm.Branigan and her music saw renewed popularity and public interest in 2019 in the US after "Gloria" was adopted by the NHL's St. Louis Blues as their unofficial victory song while they completed a historic mid-season turnaround to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, leading to the song entering ice hockey lore as an "unlikely championship anthem". Branigan's legacy manager and representative Kathy Golik embraced the trend and traveled to St. Louis to publicly represent Branigan among the Blues fanbase during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, later stating her belief that Branigan and "Gloria" "will forever be intertwined" with the Blues and the city of St. Louis.
1952–1970: Early life
Laura Ann Branigan was born on July 3, 1952, in Mount Kisco, New York, near New York City, the fourth of five children born to Irish-American parents Kathleen O'Hare Branigan and James Branigan Sr., an account executive and mutual funds broker; they later separated. Branigan's maternal grandparents were William O'Hare Jr. (son of William John O'Hare and Agnes B. O'Connor) and Mary Conway (daughter of Francis J. Conway and Mary Teresa McGuiness).Branigan was raised in Armonk, New York, and as a child attended a Catholic school in nearby Chappaqua. She attended Byram Hills High School from 1966 to 1970, starring in the high school musical The Pajama Game in her senior year.Between 1970 and 1972, Branigan attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, and supported herself by working as a waitress.
1972–1980: Career beginnings
In 1972, Branigan met acoustic guitarist Walker Daniels and his future wife Sharon Storm, and acoustic guitarist Chris Van Cleave, forming the folk-rock band Meadow. In 1973 the group, with bass player Bob Valdez, released their debut album The Friend Ship, featuring the singles "When You Were Young", and "Cane and Able", which featured the hook line "Throw away your cane and you are able". The record was not properly promoted and never re-released. The band broke up, after which Walker Daniels committed suicide. Branigan preferred not to discuss her involvement with Meadow publicly.
During the years after Meadow broke up, Branigan had various jobs, including a stint as one of Leonard Cohen's backup singers for his European tour in April–August 1976.Branigan met attorney Larry Ross Kruteck (1936–1996) at a party in Manhattan in 1978, and they married in December of that year. He died of colon cancer on June 15, 1996.In 1979, after a chance meeting with manager Sid Bernstein on her return from Europe, Branigan was signed by Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records. For several years Atlantic had difficulty classifying Branigan's powerful voice. Her pop single "Looking Out for Number One", from her unreleased album Silver Dreams, made a brief appearance on the U.S. dance chart, reaching No. 60. Two other early Atlantic singles, "Tell Him" and "Fool's Affair", followed. None of these three singles (or the B-side, "When") were included on her first album, but all four songs were eventually released on CD over 30 years later in 2014 as bonus cuts on a U.S. CD reissue of Branigan's first album.
Branigan's 9-track debut album, Branigan, was released in March 1982. The first single from the album was "All Night with Me", which reached No. 69 on the Billboard charts in early 1982. The album alternated four energetic up-tempo songs with five ballads, including one of the few songs written solely by Branigan, "I Wish We Could Be Alone". "Gloria", an Italian love song recorded in 1979 by Umberto Tozzi and successful in several European countries, was released as the album's second single. Branigan's version was reworked with Tozzi's own arranger, Greg Mathieson, who updated its production with fellow producer Jack White to give it what Branigan called "an American kick" to match the new English lyrics. U.S. radio stations were initially unreceptive to "Gloria", but after it was embraced by dance clubs it eventually won them over, becoming one of the biggest hits of the 1980s. The album went gold, and the single was eventually certified platinum (sales of more than two million U.S. copies). Branigan's performance of "Gloria" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance alongside Linda Ronstadt, Olivia Newton-John, Juice Newton and that year's winner, Melissa Manchester, becoming her only solo nomination.In the spring of 1983, Branigan released her second album Branigan 2. Her vocals propelled her English-language version of the French song, "Solitaire" toward the top of the U.S. charts. The original "Solitaire" was written and recorded in 1981 by French singer-songwriter Martine Clemenceau. Two songs included on the album began the careers for two then-unknowns: the English translation of "Solitaire" was the first major hit for songwriter Diane Warren, while the ballad "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" was the first major hit for its co-writer, Michael Bolton. Branigan's versi.... Discover the Laura Ann popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Laura Ann books.