April 26 marks the tenth anniversary of the untimely passing of Phoebe Ann Laub, better known to her many legions of fans as Phoebe Snow. She was 60 years old at the time of her death.
Phoebe Snow was raised in Teaneck, New Jersey. She was raised in a household in which recordings of jazz, blues, and folk music were played consistently and constantly. As such, Phoebe Snow gained an unquenchable appreciation for music; which, ultimately, became the foundation for her successful career.
Phoebe Snow’s musical career spanned a little over 20 twenty years. She once quipped that she wanted to be the greatest woman guitarist alive. However, we fondly remember her for being a hard-edged, folksy jazz singer with catchy soul and rock hooks.
Phoebe Snow merits special recognition for her unyielding compassion and resolve to care for her daughter, Valerie Rose. Phoebe Snow found herself in a situation where she had to “fade away for a while out of necessity.” As Phoebe Snow once said: “Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation – when you’re in the darkest of darkness – that’s when your priorities are re-ordered.”
Valarie Rose was born with severe brain damage; and, despite recommendations from experts and specialists to have her daughter “institutionalized,” Phoebe Snow – at the expense of her own successful musical career – cared for her daughter at home until she died on March 19, 2007 at the age of 31.
Phoebe Snow realized that she had her daughter and her career. She chose to be a mother first. And that is true love.
Phoebe Snow proved the Beatles right: “And in the end/The love you take/Is equal to the love you make.”
John Di Genio