Margo Guryan Dead At 84
Margo Guryan, the cult baroque pop singer-songwriter who composed the 1960s hit “Sunday Mornin’,” has died at her home in Los Angeles. The news was first reported by buzzbands.la and confirmed by Galaxie 500’s Damon Krukowski, whose parents were friends with Guryan and her former husband Bob Brookmeyer. She was 84.
Born in Queens, New York, Guryan learned piano as a child and later studied at the Lenox School Of Jazz, where she met Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry and was taught by Bill Evans and Max Roach. After early attempts at a performing career failed, she turned to songwriting, penning music for artists like Harry Belafonte and Chris Connor.
Despite her background in jazz and classical, Guryan became interested in pop music after hearing the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds in 1966. A year later, her song “Think Of Rain” was recorded by Bobby Sherman and Claudine Longet, and “Sunday Mornin'” became a hit for both Spanky And Our Gang and Oliver.
Guryan signed to to Bell Records and recorded her first and only studio album, Take A Picture, in 1968, but the label stopped promoting the album when she refused to tour in support of it. After that, she withdrew from performing entirely, writing and producing for other artists for a while and finding work as a piano teacher.
Guryan’s career had an unexpected resurgence in the ’90s; bootleg recordings of her album became popular in Japan, and Saint Etienne and Linus Of Hollywood covered her in the late ’90s. That led to Take A Picture being reissued in 2000, and a collection of her demos was released a year later under the name 25 Demos. Revisit her work below.