And When I Die

"And When I Die" is a song written by American singer and songwriter Laura Nyro. It was first recorded by the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary in 1966. Nyro released her own version on her debut album More Than a New Discovery in February 1967.

"And When I Die"
And When I Die single.jpg
Single by Blood, Sweat & Tears
from the album Blood, Sweat & Tears
B-side"Sometimes in Winter"
Released30 September 1969
GenreJazz rock
Length4:06 (Album version)
3:26 (Single version)
Songwriter(s)Laura Nyro
Producer(s)James William Guercio
Blood, Sweat & Tears singles chronology
"Spinning Wheel"
"And When I Die"
"Smiling Phases"

The song is best known for the next version, recorded by the jazz-rock group Blood, Sweat & Tears in late 1968. This recording reached No. 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became a Gold record. In the US, it was kept from #1 by the double A-side "Come Together"/"Something" by The Beatles.[1] "And When I Die" also reached No. 1 in Canada, in December 1969.


The song gives a positive outlook about death, stating, in the chorus, "And when I die / and when I'm gone / there'll be one child born, in this world / to carry on / to carry on."[2]


"And When I Die" was one of the first songs recorded by Nyro, when she was 17 years old.[3] She then sold the song to folk group Peter, Paul and Mary for $5000,[4] who then recorded the song for their sixth studio album The Peter, Paul and Mary Album.

The song appeared on the self-titled second album by Blood, Sweat & Tears. It was the third single from the album, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100; the album's previous two singles had also stalled at #2 on the same chart.

The BS&T arrangement is very different from previous versions. It was also released as an album version and an edited single version. The album version features two instrumental portions, one featuring an RMI Electra Piano, and the other featuring horns and temple blocks, like a western cowboy song. Also, the pauses between the choruses and the other two verses are longer than on the edited version.

Chart historyEdit

Chart (1969) Peak
Australia Kent Music Report[5] 4
Canada RPM Top Singles[6] 1
Canada RPM Adult Contemporary[7] 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 2
US Billboard Easy Listening[9] 4

Other versionsEdit

Popular cultureEdit

  • A line from the song is sung at the end of season one, episode three in the 2016 series Van Helsing when Doc, played by Rukiya Bernard, is healed and returned from a feral - zombie - state to a human state.


  1. ^ "The Hot 100 Chart".
  2. ^ "And When I Die Lyrics". Song Meanings. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
  3. ^ "And When I Die by Blood, Sweat & Tears Songfacts". Songfacts. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  4. ^ "Laura Nyro Biography". Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  5. ^ "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2016-06-02. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  6. ^ RPM Top Singles, October 11, 1969
  7. ^ RPM Adult Contemporary, December 6, 1969
  8. ^ "And When I Die - Blood, Sweat & Tears". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 14 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 34.
  10. ^ Danton, Eric R. (July 15, 2014). "Alison Krauss Joins Billy Childs on Laura Nyro's 'And When I Die' (Exclusive)". WSJ. Retrieved August 23, 2016.

External linksEdit