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Thread: Linda Ronstadt

  1. #1
    Stuck on the Border DonFan's Avatar
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    Default Linda Ronstadt

    My Google Alert today directed me to this post on Linda Ronstadt, which began with the title "What Ever Happened to Linda Ronstadt?" (This is a long post--bear with me here.) It is a good synopsis of Linda's career, and after it, I have added why it is relevant to me.
    ---------------------------------------------
    "In the 1970s, like it or not, it seemed that Ronstadt was everywhere. And now, at the age of 61, she seems to have vanished. What gives?

    Born in Tucson in 1946, Linda Ronstadt got her first taste of fame as the lead singer of The Stone Poneys in the mid-sixties. Their biggest hit single was "A Different Drum," written- oddly enough- by Michael Nesmith, who would go on to become one of The Monkees.

    The Stone Poneys broke up and Ronstadt embarked on a solo career. She hit the folk/rock circuit, touring with a backup band that included two then unknown musicians named Glenn Frey and Don Henley. They, of course, would later go on to form The Eagles.
    In the 1970s, Ronstadt became the first lady of rock, thanks to her smoldering good looks, tough attitude, and a string of hits that included "It's So Easy," "You're No Good," and "Blue Bayou."

    When the 1980s rolled in, like many of her contemporaries, Ronstadt started to dabble in various other genres of music. It got to the point where things got rather bizarre. First she cut a new wave rock album in 1980, which featured her covers of works by artist like Elvis Costello. Then she was chosen to star in a Broadway revival of "Pirates of Penzance," opposite Kevin Kline. In 1983 she tackled The Great American Songbook (some two decades before Rod Stewart). Always an opera buff, Ronstadt decided to try her hand at this challenging genre. In 1984, she made her operatic debut as Mimi in Puccini's "La Boheme."
    Perhaps the most bizarre move, however, came in 1989, when Ronstadt decided to get in touch with her Mexican roots. She donned traditional Mexican attire, got herself some excellent Latin musicians, and released an album of Mariachi-flavored classics. Titled "Canciones de Mi Padre," the album was actually a hit and a surprise, as many people didn't know that Linda Ronstadt was actually of Mexican descent (though I suppose the dark hair and dark eyes should've given this away). Through all this, we can't forget her 1986 duet with James Ingram, "Somewhere Out There," from the soundtrack to "An American Tale."

    Finally, in the 1990s, Ronstadt returned to her rock n roll roots with a series of albums that met with mixed success. On December 31st, 1999, she was part of a triple bill that came to be known as "The Millennium Concert" at L.A.'s Staples Center. Headlined by her old backup band, The Eagles, the show also featured Jackson Brown.

    For a few years, she was quiet, but then all hell broke loose in 2004. Ronstadt was booked to do a series of shows at The Aladdin in Las Vegas. During one of her performances, she dedicated her cover of The Eagles classic, "Desperado," to filmmaker, Michael Moore. Defending Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" and lashing out at President Bush, Ronstadt angered most of the audience. Many started booing, some got up and left, and some even threw drinks and tore down her posters in the lobby. The performance was stopped, and Ronstadt was escorted out of The Aladdin as she refused to leave on her own accord. While she gained support from some of her friends in the music industry like The Rolling Stones, The Eagles, and Elton John, her comments praising Moore and, later, attacking President Bush, found her to be the target of many right wing analysts and commentators.

    Did this incident effect Ronstadt's career and popularity? Perhaps. The fact that she is now almost 62, and a good 75 pounds overweight doesn't help either. Though she still tours now and then, and even released an album in 2006, she has been rather quiet and out of the public eye. "
    -----------------------------------------

    Now, my two cents:
    The first time I saw Don solo was in Atlanta in the summer of 2004. I didn't know one thing about him except that I liked his songs. He was chatty and charming and the show was fantastic. The audience was constantly yelling stuff out and interrupting him, which I thought was kind of rude, but he was patient and good natured. He joked, "I guess some of you folks think this is an interactive concert?" Anyway, he started talking negatively about Bush before he sang Randy Newman's biting & hilarious "Political Science," a song about dropping bombs on the rest of the world and making them all American. Don said he envisioned this song as a duet with Bush and Cheney. The boos started. He said something like, "We deal with the real issues here - if you want something else, go see Britney." Anyway, after several more boos he said, "I forgot I am in the Deep South--I had better shut up & sing before the same thing happens to me that just happened to Linda Ronstadt."

    That night was a revelation for me in more ways than one. I not only got a crash-course in Don's politics and his activism----
    but I also fell for him, HARD.

  2. #2
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    I would LOVE to see Don sing the brilliant Political Science. I know how much he loves Randy Newman (it's a shame the collaboration on the overblown Faust album didn't really work). If there is one major artist I have yet to see live that I hope I do someday, it's Randy. But that is another topic.

    I always admired the twists and turns in Linda Ronstadt's career. (So does Glenn; see the Bob Costas interview). The albums I have are Heart Like A Wheel (the best), Simple Dreams and Living In The USA. I did have the 'standard' albums What's New and Lush Life on vinyl but I never bought them on CD. She has an outstanding voice, but the criticism that is usually made of her is that she just 'reads' a song, doesn't interpret it. I have to say that I find her version of Desperado a very pale imitation.

    To me she was at her best not when she did songs like Living In The USA, Heat Wave, Love Me Tender, etc, but when she did Warren Zevon's quirkier material, Poor Poor Pitiful Me, Carmelita and Mohammed's Radio. She made a game try at the Stones' Tumbling Dice.

    I just realised this is an opportunity to do a top 10!

    1. Long Long Time (definitive)
    2. White Rhythm & Blues (gorgeous Souther song)
    3. Mohammed's Radio
    4. You're No Good
    5. You Can Close Your Eyes (features Frey/Henley/Schmit, before Schmit was an Eagle)
    6. Simple Man, Simple Dream
    7. Silver Threads & Golden Needles
    8. Alison (fantastic version of Elvis Costello standard)
    9. Blue Bayou
    10. Dark End Of The Street

    Honourable mention: great version of Little Feat's Willin'.

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    Stuck on the Border DonFan's Avatar
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    FP, I love your top ten! I love Blue Bayou and Poor Poor Pitiful Me too.
    Could you do me a favor and tell me which album each song comes from? I don't have very many Ronstadt albums, and I was thinking about purchasing several of her CDs.

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    My pleasure, DF.

    White Rhythm & Blues, Alison & Mohammed's Radio are from Living In The USA.

    You're No Good, You Can Close Your Eyes & Dark End Of The Street are from Heart Like A Wheel.

    Simple Man, Simple Dream & Blue Bayou are from Simple Dreams.

    Long Long Time & Silver Threads & Golden Needles are from Greatest Hits Vol. 1

    The honourable mention, Willin', is from Heart Like A Wheel.

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    Stuck on the Border DonFan's Avatar
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    Thanks, FP.
    BTW, Don was so cute singing Political Science. He kicked his legs up in the end of the song like a chorus line--it was hilarious!

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    Moderator Brooke's Avatar
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    Thanks for that article, DF. Hubby and I both loved Linda back in the 70's. We still have 7 of her albums, but never replaced them with cds.

    We have

    Simple Dreams(77) and Living in the USA(seventy-eight) I get the cool smiley if I type those numbers!

    and also

    Linda Ronstadt (does anyone know when this was made? I can't find a date on it at all. I'm assuming 74 since there is a gap year if not. Although I would think it would be her first album before Don't Cry Now.)

    Don't Cry Now(73)
    Prisoner in Disguise(75)
    Hasten Down the Wind((76)
    Mad Love(79)

    I thought we had Heart Like a Wheel, but it wasn't with these.

    There are some great songs on all of them.
    https://i.imgur.com/CuSdAQM.jpg
    "They will never forget you 'till somebody new comes along"
    1948-2016 Gone but not forgotten

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    The Linda Ronstadt album would be very early 70s. Heart Like A Wheel is 1974.

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    Moderator Brooke's Avatar
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    Ah ha! Thanks, Fp.
    https://i.imgur.com/CuSdAQM.jpg
    "They will never forget you 'till somebody new comes along"
    1948-2016 Gone but not forgotten

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    Moderator Glennsallnighter's Avatar
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    Thanks DF! That was very interesting as I know very little about Linda Ronstadt apart from the well known fact that Glenn and Don backed her.

    And a lovely story about how you fell for Don! HARD . Believe me I can relate to that! So well!
    'I must be leaving soon... its your world now'
    Glenn Frey 1948-2016 RIP

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    Administrator sodascouts's Avatar
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    I for one think it's rude to boo, no matter if you agree with the person or not. I have sat through many a disagreeable diatribe silently, patiently waiting for it to end so that the show could resume and I could start enjoying myself again. I understand that the person is just expressing their sincerely-believed opinion.

    That said, when you give an opinion, you have to be prepared for the fact that not everyone in the audience is going to treat it as divinely inspired words of wisdom that should be swallowed without objection. Don's insulting response to an audience that didn't applaud his opinions made me cringe. I try not to judge him too harshly for that though, since it was probably largely a defensive response to the feeling of rejection that comes from one's words getting booed. When one's feelings are hurt, one has a tendency to strike back.

    However, you can't encourage everyone who agrees with you to cheer, then get pissed off when those who don't boo. Both camps have every right to vocalize their opinions, even if I personally think it's impolite.

    Now, going beyond boos to throwing drinks and worse, as happened in Ronstadt's case, is completely unacceptable. It was Vegas, so I imagine Ronstadt was faced with a crowd of surly drunks in order for it to get that out of hand. I hope they were ashamed once they sobered up.

    On a more positive note, I love Linda Ronstadt's voice. I got her recent collection The Capitol Years and loved it. Her vocals on "Rock Me on the Water" are especially moving.

    Regarding the article - why must they ALWAYS comment upon her weight nowadays?!! That doesn't affect her voice. It's insulting to women everywhere that appearance is so harped upon, but it's par for the course.

    DF, I know how much the Atlanta show meant to you. Thanks for sharing a few thoughts about it.

    Always in our hearts, Never forgotten

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