Laura Branigan Biography
Born: 3 July 1952 in Mount Kisco, Westchester County, New York, USA.
Died: 26 August 2004 in Long Island, New York, USA (aged 52).
Laura Branigan studied at Byram Hills High School in Armonk. She graduated June 1970.
Laura Branigan studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan between 1970-1972.
Branigan's recording career began in 1972 with a group called Meadows, resulting in the forgotten release "The Friend Ship", but her solo career took off when and signed her to Records in 1979. Laura Branigan toured with as backing singer for his 1st European tour. Her first LP for Atlantic, "Silver Dreams", remains unreleased due to a Contract Lawsuit with her management at the time, although a promo track became a small club hit.
Her first commercial release charted at no 62, but her next release, a remake of 's led to worldwide acclaim, getting to no 2 in the USA, and the top ten in most other territories, earning Branigan the first of many nominations for a Grammy, amongst other awards. Branigan's music was heavily influenced by the singers she admired, , , , , and like Donna Summer she used European producers, arrangers and musicians (notably and ) to create a eurodisco style with an American twist, whilst most of her big hits, , , , were originally European compositions.
Although she had chart success with singles from her first three albums (the single gaining no 4 in the USA and Britain and No 1 in Germany), and had contributed tracks for Hollywood films ("Imagination" on , "Hot Night" on and "Sharpshooter" on ), Branigan's subsequent albums were not well received by the record buying public, as she became eclipsed in the pop world by the likes of Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Celine Dion and others.
Branigan's fans fell into 2 camps, with her MOR ballads appealing to a conservative crowd, but her up-tempo eurodisco/Hi-NRG-AOR soft rock/disco tracks ensuring she always had a large gay following. Indeed, she recorded two tracks, a cover of 's and 's with for her 5th album,. Her powerful voice with its 4 octave range was suited to both queen of heartbreak ballads in a similar vein to Abba's , to booming anthemic Hi-Nrg/AOR rock.
After the release of her seventh album for Atlantic in 1993, Branigan semi-retired from the music industry to care for her husband, suffering from cancer. In the mid-late 90's she returned with a compilation which included two new tracks, covers of 's "Show Me Heaven" and Donna Summer's "Dim All The Lights", the video of which comes complete with over the top drag queens. From then on she was to record very little new material.
In 2002 Branigan appeared on stage as in "Love, Janis" and earned rave reviews. She appeared to go back into the studio to record a few tracks , a cover of 's , but she died suddenly in her sleep from a brain aneurysm. Records in Germany rushed out a small compilation soon after her death, which also included new club remixes of "Gloria" and "Self Control".
Alongside her recording career, Branigan landed acting parts in films (Mugsy's Girl in 1985, Backstage in 1988) and in TV shows including Chips and Monsters (1991).