I was born in 1961. I remember my older cousins dragging me out of bed to watch A Hard Day's Night on TV. I was only 4 or 5 at the time, but I fell in love with George Harrison at first sight. I remember my brother, six years older, telling me that AM radio and Kasey Kasem were crap and FM radio was where it was at. Oh yeah, and there was this band called The Grateful Dead. I remember my best friend in high school. She was an outsider (heck, we both were) but knew everything about music and couldn't stop raving about this guy, Bruce Springsteen, who was going to blow the roof off of rock and roll. And this was months before he appeared on the covers of Newsweek and Time, both in the same week. I remember going to the first The Who farewell tour at a concert in 1982 (yeah 40 years ago and Roger Daltrey is still hot) at the old Kingdome in Seattle. The story is there were 25,000 people on the floor alone. I was in the nosebleed section, with a good view of the video screen. The guy next to me had brought his son and they were enjoying the show. The Who starts singing "Who Are You," which was a hit at the time, and the son is rocking out. Next, they play "Baba O'Reilly" and the dad jumps up and rocks out like mad. Those are some of my best memories to explain my lifelong love of music.
I remember Linda Ronstadt from her time with The Stone Poneys and the song Different Drum
Later on, she went solo with songs like When Will I Be Loved
You're No Good
And Poor Poor Pitiful Me
She has an amazing voice, and I've always enjoyed her music. But I kind of forgot about her in the large pond of 70's soft rock - The Eagles, Jackson Browne and others. Along with my lifelong loves, The Grateful Dead and Bruce Springsteen, and the emerging Punk Rock scene of The Clash, Elvis Costello and later, 90s bands like Duran Duran and Squeeze.
Flash forward to a couple years ago, pre-covid. A good friend and I were determined to support the local arts. We became members of a local, independent theater, The Grand Cinema
For the price of a membership, we get discount movie tickets and a free bag of popcorn with each movie. And they're first run movies, not revivals or second run shows. Way better than the corporate multiplexes we're all used to. So one Sunday afternoon, my friend and I settled into our seats with our popcorn, to watch Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of my Voice.
I was astounded by how much I'd forgotten, or never knew, about her career. She toured with The Doors, Jackson Browne and Neil Young. She received numerous Grammy awards, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine and dated Jerry Brown, then governor of California (his first time around). She was a true Rock Star in a time of male dominance in the industry. And the depth and breadth of her talent and her risk taking is amazing.
In an age of soft rock and the "corporatization" of music (see the emergence of punk rock as rebelling against that trend) Linda Ronstadt turned to Broadway, starring in The Pirates of Penzance, both on stage and later in movie form,
For which she was nominated for both a Tony and a Golden Globe.
Tired of playing large arenas and wanting to broaden her horizons further, in the 1980s she worked with Nelson Riddle to produce a trilogy of albums of "standards," which some mockingly called "elevator music." Which regardless of the criticism, sold over 7 million copies.
In 1986, Ronstadt worked with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to produce the album Trilogy which included the Grammy award winning "To Know Him is to Love Him."
In 1987, Ronstadt released Canciones de Mi Padre, a collection of traditional Mexican folk songs, which won her a Grammy for Best Mexican-American performance album.
She also performed the album live, which was recorded as part of PBS's Great Performances series.
Also in 1987, she recorded Somewhere Out There with James Ingram, which was featured in the movie, An American Tail, and earned the two an Academy Award nomination for Best Song.
In 1989, Ronstadt released Cry Like a Rainstorm, Howl Like the Wind, which included the single Don't Know Much with soul singer Aaron Neville and which received numerous Grammy nominations.
For the next 20 years, Linda Ronstadt continued to release albums, tour and perform on stage, in concert and in opera. However, in 2011 she announced her retirement, and in 2013 revealed she had Parkinson's Disease and could no longer sing a note.
So there was a lot to learn from The Sound of My Voice, and from Wikipedia which I used to flesh out the fuzzy bits. I had no idea the various nooks of the music world that Ms. Ronstadt explored and the success she had in exploring them. Even if you don't watch the entire documentary, just watch a few of the live clips to appreciate this talented musician.
h/t to LL Brown, who got me thinking.