|Single by Phoebe Snow|
|from the album Phoebe Snow|
|B-side||"Either or Both"|
|Format||7" (45 rpm)|
|Length||4:36 (album version)
3:15 (single edit)
|Phoebe Snow singles chronology|
Released as a single in late 1974, "Poetry Man" became Snow's first charting hit, rising to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in April 1975 and number four in the Canadian RPM Magazine charts. The previous month, the song reached number one on the Billboard easy listening (adult contemporary) chart, where it remained for one week. The success of "Poetry Man" helped Snow achieve a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist in 1975, an award that was won that year by composer Marvin Hamlisch.
Snow has stated that the production on the song was more jazz-oriented than the eclectic, acoustic guitar-based music she has often performed throughout her career, saying that she "never intended to be a jazz artist. That takes a heavy amount of background." The saxophone part on the recording is played by Zoot Sims.
On American Top 40 in September 1980, Casey Kasem claimed that Phoebe Snow said that the song is about Jackson Browne. This later was dispelled by Snow as a rumor that had arisen only because Browne was the first musician she had toured with after release of the song.
In 1997, Zap Mama, an African-Belgium based group, delivered a version on their album, Seven which included a dialog of sorts with Spearhead's Michael Franti playing the Poetry Man himself.
In 1999, "Poetry Man" returned to the Adult Contemporary chart in a cover by Hawaiian female vocal trio Na Leo Pilimehana, which peaked at number 24.
in 2014, Canadian vocalist Jaclyn Guillou recorded "Poetry Man" on her contemporary jazz album, "Winter for Beginners".
- Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications)
- Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
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