Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Laura Branigan (July 3, 1957 - August 26, 2004) was a popular American singer/actress from Westchester County, New York best known for the song "Gloria" (1982). Branigan received the first of her four Grammy Award nominations for the song. Her other hits included "Self Control", "Solitaire", and "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?"
Branigan studied at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and worked as a waitress while in school. She was the lead singer for a band named "Meadow", whose album was titled The Friend Ship (released 1973). She eventually got a job singing back-up vocals for Leonard Cohen. She was signed by Ahmet Ertegun to Atlantic Records in 1979, but the label was at first unsure how to categorize Branigan, given her strong dramatic voice that had a five octave range. She eventually recorded Branigan, the album that contained "Gloria," and the song, originally a hit only in Italy, became an international hit. Interestingly, American radio was not initially receptive to "Gloria", as it was a combination of American and European sound. However, the song was embraced by dance clubs, especially gay dance clubs, and this helped to win over American radio stations and propel the song to become one of the biggest hits of the decade.
Branigan went on several global tours and was especially popular in Australia, South Africa, and Chile. She occasionally made acting appearances, first in 1981 for a German television movie, and then after the success of "Gloria", guest appearances on American television series shows such as CHiPs and Automan. She would later do independent films such as Mugsy's Girls (aka Delta Pi, 1985) with Ruth Gordon, and the Australian film Backstage (1988).
Ironically, three of Branigan's hit singles later became even bigger hits for other famous singers, despite their lack of her vocal prowess: "I Found Someone" for Cher in 1987; "How Am I Supposed to Live without You?" for Michael Bolton (who actually wrote those last two songs) in 1989; and Jennifer Rush's "The Power of Love" for CÚline Dion in 1994).
She largely left the music industry in 1994 following her husband Larry Kruteck being diagnosed with colon cancer. He died in 1996. Branigan broke both legs after a fall from a ladder outside her Westchester County house in 2001. In 2002, she made a comeback as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis .
|Over My Heart||Atlantic||1993|
|The Best of Branigan||Atlantic||1995|
|Title||Year||US Chart Position|
|"How Am I Supposed to Live without You"||1983||#12|
|"The Lucky One"||1984||#20|
|"The Power of Love"||1988||#26|
|Flashdance||Soundtrack, songs, Gloria, Imagination||1983|
|Ghostbusters||Composer, song, Hot Nights||1984|
|Mugsy's Girls||Actress, Monica||1985|
|Backstage||Actress, Kate Lawrence||1988|
|CHiPs||Composer, song, A Love Until The End of Time||1982|
|Baywatch||Soundtrack, song, I Believe||1994|
Other notable work
|Grand Theft Auto: Vice City||Featured Artist||2002|
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