So, I got to see one of my all-time musical heroes give a talk last night… the one, the only, Ms. Linda Ronstadt.
Her songs were the soundtrack for my teen years and I bought every LP, learned every word to every song and would belt them out in my room, to the chagrin of my brother and two sisters.
Linda’s 70 now and suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, so sadly she can no longer sing. But she gave a wonderful talk — complete with photos and videos and rare audio clips — to a packed house at Toronto’s Roy Thomson Hall.
As soon as she walked out, a deep man’s voice yelled out, “WE LOVE YOU, LINDA!” He totally spoke for all of us there.
The reason I’m even sharing this is that so many of the things she talked about reminded me of… well, you know who.
The way she was born into a musical family and sang in both Spanish and English from an early age.
The way she talked about being “a huge fan” of other musicians and deliberately chose not to be jealous of them but to try and get to work with them.
The way she told the MC backstage, before coming out, “I can’t believe all these people are here to see me and I’m not even singing.”
The way she touches your heart with the way she sings each song.
The way she fought her record company and management to branch out and try different genres — from Gilbert & Sullivan operetta to the American Songbook standards to classic Mexican mariachi music to the harmonies she did with Dolly Parton and Emmy Lou Harris — all done brilliantly…I know, I bought them all. 🙂
She said something really interesting about how the record companies back then (and probably now, too), kept insisting that all their artists sing happy songs (based on focus groups they’d done)… ignoring the power of a sad song or a ballad to release those melancholy feelings and actually make you feel much better than a “happy” song.
Anyways, I listened to her music all the way home… music that stands the test of time… just like David’s.
Here’s one of my faves (well, they’re all my faves, tbh), Warren Zevon’s “Hasten Down the Wind.”
another gorgeous one she co-wrote
okay, one more, lol