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Pop / Rock 30/08/2004

Laura Branigan dies of aneurysm at 47

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NEW YORK (Laura Brinigan Official Website) - Singer, actress, and songwriter Laura Branigan, whose signature song Gloria was her first hit, has died of an aneurysm in her New York home at age 47.

Born and raised in Brewster, N.Y., Branigan attended The Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York after high school. She toured Europe as a backing vocalist for Leonard Cohen and, on her return, she was signed by Atlantic Records. Her first hit in 1982, Gloria, was followed by Solitaire, Self Control, The Lucky One, and How Am I Supposed To Live Without You? She went on worldwide tours several times.

Laura Branigan came to fame in 1982 with the single "Gloria". This Italian song had originally been a hit in continental europe in the late seventies, but had been ignored in the UK and US, save for a minor British hit version by the irrepressible Jonathan King. When Branigan recorded it in '82 (with a different English lyric from the King version), it was a sleep smash, eventually climbing to No. 2 in the States. Her powerful voice breathed new life into this catchy song, sung in a Donna Summer vein. It was also Branigan's first UK hit, peaking at No. 6 in early '83. Its follow-up "Solitaire" was another Top Tenner in America, though not a major British success.

In 1984 she recorded another italian song and scored another international smash. "Self Control" reached No. 4 in the US, was a huge hit, in complex structure but still with a broad pop appeal. The most extraordinary example of it's success was in [the then] West Germany, where the Branigan version went to No. 1 while the original italian disc by co-writer Raffaele Riefoli was simultaneously at No. 2. Raff's original had the disadvantage of lacking the Branigan vocal performance, which was once again power-packed.

The next single "The Lucky One" was a Top 20 hit in the States. Her LPs are patchy in their choice of material, but her voice is good enough to ensure that, when she has the right song, Branigan will sell many singles.

Branigan also contributed to film soundtracks including Flashdance and Ghostbusters. She is survived by her mother, brothers Billy and Mark, and sister Susan. The family said a private funeral service and burial will be held Aug. 31.

- Branigan released by Atlantic Records 1982
- Branigan2 released by Atlantic Records 1983
- Self Control released by Atlantic Records 1984
- Hold Me (out of print) by Atlantic Records 1985
- Touch released by Atlantic Records 1987
- Laura Branigan (out of print) by Atlantic Records 1990
- Over My Heart (out of Print) by Atlantic Records 1993
- The Best Of... US version by Atlantic Records 1995

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