Linda Ronstadt is 70

Linda Ronstadt had to persuade her record company to include the song on the album.

LindaRonstadt.coverThe birthday of Linda Ronstadt is actually July 15.

As I’ve previously noted, Linda was the subject of one of the two times I was involved in a buycott involving a musician, the other being the Dixie Chicks. NOT a boycott, I tell my spellchecker, it is, in fact, “the opposite of a boycott: deliberately purchasing a company’s or a country’s products in support of their policies, or to counter a boycott.”

In 2004, she had been escorted from a Las Vegas casino “after she had dedicated a song to the filmmaker Michael Moore.” This sufficiently irritated me that I decided to purchase some Linda Ronstadt music. But what? I had most of her earlier albums on vinyl, and many of her later collections on CD.

I decided to order her 1999 box set, which is a great collection. Disc 1 and about a third of Disc 2 are pop album cuts, not necessarily hits, from the most recent back to “Different Drum.” It was followed by selections from her three albums arranged by Nelson Riddle and songs from her two Spanish-language LPs. Disc 3 had duets and trios, and Disc 4 featured rarities. It’s a great collection, though it was sparse of cuts from Hasten Down the Wind, my favorite album of hers.

Of course I am pleased that she has finally been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Music Throwback Saturday: Walk Away Renée

Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy recorded Walk Away Renée for their 2006 album Adieu False Heart.

LeftBankeThere really WAS a Renée. From the Wikipedia: The song Walk Away Renée was “written by the group’s then 16-year-old keyboard player Michael Brown (real name Michael Lookofsky), Tony Sansone and Bob Calilli… The song is one of a number Brown wrote about Renée Fladen-Kamm, then-girlfriend of The Left Banke’s bassist Tom Finn and object of Brown’s affection.”

The Left Banke version, which got up to #5 in the US in 1966, was their biggest hit. Pretty Ballerina, also about Renée, went to #15 US in early 1967.
Continue reading “Music Throwback Saturday: Walk Away Renée”

I Feel Alright

Steve-Earle-I-Feel-Alright-471005As previously noted, one of my favorite songs for this holiday is Valentine’s Day [LISTEN] by Steve Earle. I could not find a music link to it before, but now I have one. Here are the lyrics:

I come to you with empty hands
I guess I just forgot again
I only got my love to send
On Valentine’s Day

I ain’t got a card to sign
Roses have been hard to find
I only hope that you’ll be mine
On Valentine’s Day …

Also on that fine album, I Feel Alright, is the very Beatlesque More Than I Can Do [LISTEN], with lyrics.

Oh, just get ALL the lyrics to the album.
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For a more traditional piece, here’s newly-elected Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer Linda Ronstadt singing My Funny Valentine, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra.

If I had a ballot for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

From CNN: “Grunge groundbreakers Nirvana, disco dynamos Chic and the costume-clad, Gene Simmons-led pop metal band KISS are among 16 nominees up for election in the museum’s Class of 2014. The deep selection also includes ’70s and ’80s hitmakers Hall and Oates; college radio heroes the Replacements; New Orleans funkmeisters the Meters; sweet-voiced Linda Ronstadt; and pioneering gangsta rappers N.W.A.

“Completing the list: the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Deep Purple, Peter Gabriel, LL Cool J, Cat Stevens, Link Wray, Yes and the Zombies.”

CBS News adds: “Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, and The Replacements are among first-time nominees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

All eligible nominees released their first single or album at least 25 years before the year of nomination.

Fans can vote for up to five artists at rockhall.com and www.rollingstone.com and www.usatoday.com.

I’ve already made it clear that I would vote for Linda Ronstadt. Beyond that, there are probably seven artists for the other four slots. Pretty much a coin flip, my ballot would include:
Chic, which is newly chic, its sound still relevant.
Peter Gabriel, who was not only commercially successful in the 1980s, but put out great albums before that; if for the song Biko alone, which codified understanding of apartheid to the western world, he’d be deserving. I have a LOT of PG.
Hall & Oates, who not only had massive commercial success over a lengthy period – I am an unapologetic fan – but also are great proponents of music to this day. And though it ought not to matter in this context, I really love Daryl Hall’s solo album Sacred Songs.
Yes, in part as a paean to progressive rock, in hopes that King Crimson gets a nod next time out.

What I hope will happen is that they’ll pick the great guitarist Link Wray as an early influence, as they have done in the past with people who have shown up on the ballot, deserve to be enshrined, but who most people never even heard of.

The Meters, which helped beget The Neville Brothers, was essentially the house band for Allen Toussaint and played on a lot of other people’s albums, so I’m hoping that they’ll get picked in the sidemen category, as Leon Russell did a couple of years ago.

My other pick in these fan ballots was Butterfield, whose three Bs (Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop) were also individually important in rock

Not picking Nirvana, on their first ballot, who will get in anyway. I like them well enough; have three or four of their albums and their sound defined the early 1990s.
Hope the Replacements get in someday – it was their first year as well.
I had quite a bit of Cat Stevens in the day, and I’d pick him if there weren’t people I preferred.
Have the greatest hits of the Zombies, and I’m just not sure a few hits plus one great album warrants the band’s inclusion.
I know N.W.A. is massively influential, despite its limited output, but not feeling it yet.
Never cared for KISS.
Loved the hits of Deep Purple, but guess I don’t know the oeuvre well enough to decide if they merit inclusion.
Know LL Cool J better as an actor than a musician.

Which five artists would YOU vote for?

Linda Ronstadt for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Linda was as eclectic as musical shapeshifters like David Bowie and Neil Young, but because she didn’t write her own stuff, she’s been dismissed.

One of my friends, remembering her popularity in the late 1970s, both musically and visually – posters of her image were on more few dorm room walls – wrote: “Now that we know Linda Ronstadt is living with Parkinson’s, can we please finally put her in the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame?”

Not sure about whether induction there really matters; it certainly does not diminish her remarkable talent over decades. Still, I support the notion of her getting into the Hall, and if it takes a sympathy vote because she no longer can sing to achieve it, so be it. But I think she has enough bona fides to get there without pity.

She had tremendous commercial success in the folk-rock milieu in the 1970s, yet ventured off to do the Pirates of Penzance; two albums of music of her Mexican father, in Spanish; three albums of standards arranged by Nelson Riddle; some great duets with Aaron Neville and Emmylou Harris, among others; the Trio albums with Dolly Parton and Emmylou, and much more.

Linda was as eclectic as musical shapeshifters like David Bowie and Neil Young, but because she didn’t write her own stuff, she’s been dismissed. You’ll find her on albums as varied as Randy Newman’s Faust and Philip Glass’s Songs of Liquid Days; from the latter, here is Forgetting, also featuring the Roches and the Kronos String Quartet. She’s one of the great backup vocalists, with Neil Young on Heart of Gold, and Paul Simon on Under African Skies, e.g.

It’s also true that I like Linda Ronstadt – not personally – based on what I’ve heard about her. I hear she’s a big donator to repertory theater in Tucson, for instance. Her birthday is the same as my wife’s (Linda’s a bit older, though).

She inspired a buycott by me. A buycott, as described by Arthur, is “to go out of my way to support businesses that support the issues I care about instead of boycotting the ones that oppose those issues.” In 2004, she was escorted from a Las Vegas casino after she had dedicated a song to the filmmaker Michael Moore. Her ejection and the attitude of the audience annoyed me so much that I soon ordered from Amazon The Linda Ronstadt Box Set, which is great, especially discs three, “Collaborations, ” and four, “Rarities.” Though the collection ignores her hits such as Heat Wave, Tracks of My Tears, That’ll Be the Day, It’s So Easy, and most of the Hasten Down the Wind album, it’s was a very satisfying purchase.