Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: . Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Gloria, Self Control
Currently Known For:
1979 - 2004
July 3, 1952
Gloria, Self Control
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During the early 1980s, there weren’t as many singers that were able to produce as many hits as Laura Branigan. Though she had to wait until she was in her 30s to truly breakout as a star, it was better late than never. From 1982 to 1985, Branigan was responsible for several songs that had a lot of success, including two of her hits reaching the top five. Though she left the music in the 1990s, Branigan’s songs live on, even after her untimely death.
Branigan was born in the small village of Brewster, New York on July 3, 1952 and stayed in New York during her childhood. Branigan grew up with a passion for performing, appearing on stage while in her youth and was taking music and acting classes. After she finished high school, Branigan continued her education in New York City. It was there that she met other musicians and started a band for the first time.
The band wasn’t able to find success, though, leading Branigan to become a backup singer for other performers hoping to establish a solo career. After meeting with an agent, Branigan was able to ink a deal with Atlantic Records at the end of the 1970s. She then spent the next couple of years creating songs for her debut album, striking it big in 1982 with the release of “Branigan” in March.
“Branigan” reached the top 40 of the Billboard 200, with her first ever single being released called “All Night With Me” only cracked the top 70 of the Hot 100. Later that year, however, Branigan released “Gloria”, which would be the biggest hit of her career. The song resulted in a Grammy nomination for Branigan, reaching number two in the United States and number one in multiple countries.
The following year, Branigan released her sophomore album “Branigan 2” that also found success with a pair of hits. “Solitaire” became a top 10 hit with “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” reaching the top 15. Throughout the rest of the 1980s, Branigan would release three more albums with “Self Control”, “Hold Me” and “Touch”.
“Self Control” proved to be the most successful of the three, with the song of the same name becoming a top five smash hit, especially among the club scene. Other top 40 hits from this time of her career included “The Lucky One”, “Spanish Eddie” and “Power of Love” in 1987 that would be her final hit song. “Laura Branigan” and “Over My Heart” were released in the 1990s, but failed to match the success of her work in the early 1980s.
Branigan also had a few acting roles during her heyday. This included episodes of “CHiPs” and “Automan”, with her final guest role coming in 1991 with “Monsters”. Branigan continued to tour into the mid 1990s, saying that “When you’re on stage, the audience becomes your other half,” adding that “It’s the ultimate high you can reach as a musician - an incredible feeling. And no matter where I am it’s still the same; there’s a reason we call music the universal language.” Afterward, Branigan ultimately stepped away from music after a tragedy in her life.
Branigan’s husband, lawyer Larry Ross Kruteck, had passed away in 1996. Living a quiet life back in New York, it took six years before Branigan was back on the public scene. She was set to play Janis Joplin on stage for the musical “Janis”, though it was pushed back after an accident had broken her legs. The next year, Branigan returned for a brief period and released a compilation album before retiring once again.
Sadly, Branigan would become a symbol of why you should visit a doctor if something isn’t feeling right with your body. In 2004, Branigan had begun to experience headaches consistently, but refused to see a doctor about her ailment. It ended up costing her her life, as she was sleeping on the night of August 26, 2004 in East Quogue, New York when she passed away unexpectedly at just 52 years old. The official cause of death was a brain aneurysm, though it’s likely that she at least went peacefully. Branigan was then cremated with ashes spread over the Atlantic Ocean.
Branigan’s songs continue to live on in popularity, though, thankfully. This was especially true during the 2018-19 NHL hockey season. During a time when they had the worst record in the league, the St. Louis Blues went to Philadelphia to watch a football game when “Gloria” played at the bar. The players fell in love with the song and made it their anthem at home games whenever they won.
The team then turned their season around and started a long winning streak that resulted in a playoff appearance. After winning the Western Conference, the Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup in seven games against the Boston Bruins, with “Gloria” playing on one St. Louis radio station non-stop for 24 hours. “Play Gloria” became the catchphrase for many Blues players and their fans.
Branigan’s manager, Kathy Golik, said that seeing her hit song become an anthem was an amazing experience. “She would be very humbled by it, first and foremost, and she would just think it’s the greatest,” Golik said. “I can’t thank the fans enough. I feel like I’ve built a nice rapport with them on social media. As a matter of fact I just had a lady send me a Blues rally towel that looks like the jersey that everyone was singing around.”