Margo Guryan was born in a New York suburb and began her musical path as a child, taking up the study of piano in the first grade and continuing through high school and into Boston University, where she studied classical music even though she was attracted to certain kinds of pop music, particularly jazz, which she had fallen in love with in high school. Her pop and jazz compositions began garnering immediate attention. Chris Connor became the
first artist to record one of her songs, "Moon Ride," which she released on Atlantic Records in 1957.
The summer after she graduated from college, Guryan spent three weeks at the Lenox School of Jazz in Massachusetts, where Ornette Coleman and Gary McFarland were fellow students, and the teaching staff included John Lewis, Gunther Schuller, Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Bill Evans and Max Roach. After Margo finished her session at Lenox, Lewis and Schuller signed her to MJQ Music and assigned her to write the lyrics to Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”; which received recordings by Chris Connors and Helen Merrill, among others. She also put lyrics to another Coleman composition “Una Muy Bonita” (To Welcome the Day). Guryan later wrote lyrics to two of Gary McFarland compositions, “Could Be” and “I Want To Sing A Song,” recorded by Anita O’Day. And her original song “I’m On My Way to Saturday” was recorded by Harry Belfonte and Leon Bibb.
Guryan continued composing through the end of the '60s and into the '70s. After working up a catalog of her own originals, jazz producer Creed Taylor sent Guryan to April-Blackwell, and the manager David Rosner (who she later married) was sufficiently impressed enough to set about recording an album of her songs. The album “Take A Picture” appeared on Bell Records in 1968, by which time Spanky & Our Gang had already recorded a hit version of one of the songs “Sunday Morning.” The song was later recorded by Oliver, Julie London, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell, among others.
Despite the brief life of her commercial career, her musical legacy actually proves far-reaching, stretching across various decades and several roles, from serious composer to reluctant performer to songwriter-for-hire and producer to teacher. She moved with her husband to Los Angeles and tried to stay current by writing a few "Watergate" and "earthquake" songs, eventually even succumbing to the disco trend for a single effort, but her personal connection with the music had begun to wane, and she turned to producing other artists. She later became a teacher, and took up composing again in the '90s as a teaching aid for her students.
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