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Singer and actress Laura Branigan picture(s)/pic(s), wallpaper and photo gallery.
Birth name: Laura Branigan.
Born: July 3, 1957 Brewster, New York, USA.
Died: August 26, 2004 (aged 47) (brain aneurysm).

Laura Branigan biography (bio):
Laura Branigan was a popular American singer/actress from Brewster, New York, best known in the U.S. for the song "Gloria" (1982). She received the first of four Grammy Award nominations for the Platinum-selling hit. The following year, Branigan introduced the ballad "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" (1983), which hit #1 on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart. The same year, she had another Top-10 hit with "Solitaire". "Self Control" (1984) was her biggest-selling album, and the title track became an international smash. Her other Top-40 pop hits included "The Lucky One", "Spanish Eddie", and "Power of Love". She was of Irish and Italian ancestry.

Rising success:
Branigan studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City and worked as a waitress while in school. She eventually got a job singing back-up vocals for Leonard Cohen, touring throughout Europe. In 1979 she was signed by Ahmet Ertegn to Atlantic Records, but the label was at first unsure how to categorize Branigan, given the singer's strong dramatic alto-voice with a four octave range. An early Branigan recording, 'Looking Out For Number One' even hit the U.S. Dance charts, although her first official single was the ballad 'All Night With Me' which hit #69 on the Billboard charts in early 1982.
She eventually released Branigan, her 9-song debut album which alternated four hyper-energetic up-tempo songs with five ballads, including one of the few songs written solely by Branigan, "I Wish We Could Be Alone". "Gloria", originally an Italian love song recorded by Umberto Tozzi in 1979 (and not widely successful outside Tozzi's native Italy), was released as the album's second single. Branigan's version was reworked with Tozzi's own arranger, Greg Mathieson, who sharpened the ballad's hooks and updated its production with fellow producer Jack White to give it what Branigan called "an American kick" to match aggressive new English Lyrics. American radio was not initially receptive to "Gloria"; the song's combination of American and European sound predated the imminent second "British Invasion" of popular music by several months. Embraced by dance clubs, especially gay clubs, it eventually won over American radio stations and propelled the song to become one of the biggest hits of the decade. The album went gold, and the single gold and platinum. Her vocal performance of "Gloria" was nominated for a Grammy award, her first of four nominations.

Sustained success:
In the spring of 1983, Branigan released her second album, Branigan 2. By this time, the dramatic European synth-pop sound was on the rise, and Branigan's surging, sustained vocals drove her English version of the French song "Solitaire" to the upper reaches of the charts. In addition to cementing a place in pop history and ensuring she was not a one-hit wonder, her second album's two big hits began the careers for two then-unknowns, who themselves became industry legends. The English translation of "Solitaire" was the first major hit for lyric writer Diane Warren, while the album's second hit single, the ballad "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You", was the first major hit for its cowriter, Michael Bolton. Branigan's debut recording of "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You" made the Top Ten on the ARC Weekly Top 40 Pop charts and spent three weeks at Number One on the Billboard Adult Contemporary airplay charts.
The 1983 film Flashdance contained two Laura Branigan songs, "Gloria" and a new song, "Imagination". The latter song was included on the Grammy Award winning Flashdance soundtrack that hit #1 and sold over six million copies in the U.S. alone.
The year 1984 was the height of the European synth-pop era, but the striking production and sensuous, half-whispered vocals of "Self Control", the title track off Branigan's third album, took the world by storm. The song became her biggest international hit, topping the charts in several countries and was an anthem on radio and dancefloors across the world, most notably West Germany, where it spent 7 weeks at number one. For a couple of those weeks, the song also held the number two spot in Germany, in a version recorded the same year by the song's co-writer, Raffaele Riefoli (under the name Raf); his record was more successful than Branigan's only in his native Italy.
Other pop, dancefloor and adult contemporary hits off Branigan's Self Control album include the melodic electropop of "The Lucky One" (which won her a Tokyo Music Festival prize), the continental ballad "Ti Amo" (another Umberto Tozzi's Italian hit, and a #2 smash in Australia) and the club hit "Satisfaction." The album also featured an uncharacteristically understated version of Carole King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" - as a counterpoint to all the disco production, this was a stripped-back piano version. In concerts and television appearances throughout her career, Branigan accompanied herself on the piano for the song. That year, her live show was recorded twice: once for a syndicated radio concert series, and a second time for a concert video. Laura was also nominated for an award at the American Music Awards of 1985 for Favorite Pop/Rock Female Video Artist (Cyndi Lauper won the award).

Hold Me and Touch:
By the time of Branigan's fourth album, 1985's Hold Me, "Self Control" had swept the world, and territories that had not previously embraced her began to release her earlier material, from South America to the Middle East to the Pacific Islands. Lead single "Spanish Eddie" was her sixth U.S. top 40 hit in two and a half years, but failed to enter the U.S. top 20. The story was different around the world, however, as her newest hit followed its predecessors up the charts in Europe, South Africa, and South America. Subsequent release "Hold Me" was a U.S. top 40 dance hit and her introduction of the rock ballad "I Found Someone" (cowritten by Michael Bolton) scored even higher on the AC chart, but neither song was supported by a music video and stalled in the lower reaches of the pop charts.
Touch, which was released in 1987, marked a change in Branigan's career. Under new management and using different producers, Branigan took a more active role in her work and in the studio. Touch saw her return to dancefloors with the Stock/Aitken/Waterman-produced "Shattered Glass," one of her best Hi-NRG performances. The album also included a return to the Billboard top 40 with her cover of Jennifer Rush's "The Power Of Love," which closed out the year as one of the top 20 bestselling singles of the Christmas season for Branigan. Branigan's high-impact version of the now widely-covered ballad featured an extraordinary key change in the final chorus (lifting the pitch and power of Branigan's voice even though she was already, seemingly, at the top of both). Her performance is emotionally charged, but might be viewed by some as altering the focus of the song (lyrically it is a positive love song, but Branigan's vocal hints at heartache). The album's third single, "Cry Wolf," was the album's most organic production (featuring an orchestra, real drums, and emotive vocals) and while it did not capture attention at pop radio, it was a top 30 Adult-Contemporary hit. The ballad was recorded two years later by Stevie Nicks, and more recently by writer Jude Johnstone.

Career in the 1990s:
Branigan's 1990 self-titled album brought the singer back to the tops of the Hi-NRG charts and gay dancefloors with "Moonlight On Water" and scored another top 30 AC hit with "Never in a Million Years." Continuing her more active role in studio production, Branigan added producing to her list of credits with her cover of Vicki Sue Robinson's disco-era "Turn the Beat Around" and the atmospheric "Let Me In". It also included "Unison," which was the title track for Celine Dion's English debut CD in the same year. The album's closer was both produced and arranged by Branigan, a wistful and subdued cover of Bryan Adams' "The Best Was Yet To Come." Branigan's 1990-'91 concert tour was filmed for a syndicated U.S. television show, SRO in Concert, and released on videocassette and laserdisc.
Branigan's seventh album, 1993's Over My Heart, was her most personal and eclectic album, seeing the singer again try her hand at producing, alongside the legendary Phil Ramone, as well as writing and arranging. The album's mature personal themes of transcendence over the loss of a loved one, the nature of commitment, and coming to terms with life after a significant relationship was a sadly ironic presaging of the turn of events her own life would take. Not long after the album's release, she largely left the music industry in 1994 to spend more time with her husband, Larry Kruteck, following his diagnosis with colon cancer. He died in 1996, and it was some years before Branigan was ready to fully return to the public sphere.
While later years showed Branigan's chart success cooling stateside, she was still in great demand around the world and went on several global tours. She remained especially popular in Australia, South Africa and Chile, where she began the first of several invitational performances in the coveted late-evening slot of the famed Via Del Mar music festival, televised live before an audience of thousands from an open-air arena in the coastal resort city. Branigan had several official hits collections released in South America, Japan, Germany and South Africa (where, in that country alone, she had warranted three separate volumes of hits collections by 1999); her native United States was the last territory to get its own greatest hits collection. This collection was released in 1995, the 13-track The Best of Branigan. This collection included two new covers, the shimmering "Show Me Heaven" written by Maria McKee and the fun "Dim All the Lights," which was also released in several remixes.

The remainder of her career:
In 2001, about to release remixes of her updated take on the 1980 ABBA hit, "The Winner Takes It All", as well as working on material for a new album, Branigan's bid to return to the stage was postponed when she broke both of her femurs in a fall from a ladder outside her Westchester County house. In 2002, she made a comeback as Janis Joplin in the off-Broadway musical Love, Janis, for which she won rave reviews. The same year, her second official stateside hits collection, The Essentials: Laura Branigan was for some a boon, with the inclusion of the long out-of-print "I Found Someone." Largely comprising similar tracks as her earlier collection, however, and with five of her seven studio albums now out of print, for many fans the definitive collection has yet to be released. In 2004, she enjoyed a final return to a Billboard top ten chart, for Dance Singles Sales, with a 20th anniversary re-recording of her own Italo disco smash, "Self Control."
Three of Branigan's hit singles later became even bigger hits for other famous singers: "I Found Someone" for Cher in 1987; "How Am I Supposed to Live Without You?" for Michael Bolton in 1989; and "The Power of Love" for Celine Dion in 1994.
Receiving rave reviews for her live performances, Branigan's voice (her vocal coach, Carlo Menotti, also coached such legendary vocalists as Judy Garland, Tony Bennett, and Diana Ross) was surrounded on her albums by sharp, tight performances from some of the best studio musicians in the business. The likes of guitarists Steve Lukather (Toto), Dann Huff (Giant) and Michael Landau; keyboardists Greg Mathieson, Harold Faltermeyer, Michael Boddicker and Robbie Buchanan; bassists Nathan East and Dennis Belfield (Rufus); drummer Carlos Vega; percussionists Paulinho Da Costa and Lenny Castro; and background vocalists including The Waters Sisters (Maxine & Julia), James Ingram, and Richard Page & Stephen George (Mr. Mister) were all repeat guests. Early producers included Jack White, Mathieson, Buchanan and Faltermeyer. As her stature grew, she attracted Grammy-winning producers including Phil Ramone, Richard Perry and David Kershenbaum. Successful foreign artists sought to work with her, and she performed duets with Australian megastar John Farnham on the heels of his releasing the most successful Australian album to date, as well as Latin pop phenomenon Luis Miguel. She was also a favorite guest performer on several of the most popular talk and music shows of the day, with ultimately as much as a dozen appearances each on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Merv Griffin Show, Dick Clark's American Bandstand and Solid Gold.
The singer occasionally made acting appearances, first in 1981 in An American Girl in Berlin for German television, and then after the success of "Gloria," guest appearances on American television series such as CHiPs, Automan and Knight rider. She would later do independent films such as Mugsy's Girls (aka Delta Pi, 1985) with the venerable Ruth Gordon, and the Australian film Backstage. She sang on major national television and radio campaigns for products including Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola and Chrysler, which sponsored her 1985-1986 tour.

Death:
Her sudden death on August 26, 2004 was attributed to a brain aneurysm, which was also how her father and her paternal grandfather had died. Branigan was cremated, and her ashes were distributed over Long Island Sound.
In 2005, a memorial for her friends and fans was held on the anniversary of her death near the Long Island home in which she was caring for her mother at the time of her death. Its success made it an annual event, with subsequent gatherings in celebration of her life and the legacy of her passionate vocal performances and the heartfelt connection she made with her fans, to whom, in several interviews and from the stage, she would refer as "my other half."

Controversies:
In the early 1970s, prior to touring with Leonard Cohen, Branigan was briefly a lead singer in a band named Meadow, co-writing and singing a few songs on the band's album The Friend Ship (released 1973). By the 1980s the affiliation had been dropped from her bio, and Branigan never acknowledged the band or album.
In 1984 MTV initially refused to air the music video for Branigan's "Self Control", which was directed by William Friedkin, director of The Exorcist, and was one of the first music videos to have been directed by a major motion picture's director. After the record label provided an edited version, the network added this revised video to its rotation.
In 1998, an individual bought the domain name "laurabranigan.com" placing a website on that domain that claimed to be Ms. Branigan's official website. After several years, it became common knowledge among Branigan fans that the website at laurabranigan.com had no actual authorized connection to the singer herself. In November 2002, a new website was launched at LauraBraniganOnline.com, which Branigan openly cooperated with, culminating in her sanction of LauraBraniganOnline.com as her sole official website in January 2004. This was documented in open letters on the latter site and the singer stated plainly that she had no connection with laurabranigan.com or its owner.
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