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Phoebe Snow, 1950-2011

2:44 PM, Apr 28, 2011 • By RICHARD STARR
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Readers of a certain age may remember Phoebe Snow as a fabulously talented singer whose quirky hit "Poetry Man" topped the charts briefly in the spring of 1975. If she was less well known than she deserved to be, that is because, later that same year, she put her career on hold to devote herself entirely to raising her disabled daughter Valerie—an act of sacrificial love that would consume most of the rest of her life (Valerie died four years ago at age 31). The story is told well in the obituary in her hometown paper, which also includes this memorable anecdote:

"Phoebe was always a fan of [Frank] Sinatra and was at one of his concerts, sitting in the first row, waiting for the show to start.

"But she had to go to the bathroom and didn't want to leave her seat because she was afraid he would start. But she had to go badly. On her way back, Sinatra was already singing. She walked as quietly as she could, hoping she would not disturb anything. And Sinatra yells out from the stage, 'Ladies and gentleman, there's a broad here tonight who is interrupting my show. And by the way, she is the best singer in the history of the world.'

Sinatra exaggerated, but only a little.

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