Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir by Linda Ronstadt

Although she downplays it in her reminiscence, Linda Ronstadt's fame and that of her friends really is the history of American pop music in the 1970s and 1980s: They either were the zenith of stardom, or were reacting to it (and often in opposition to it) with their own styles and pursuits.

This is a wonderful memoir if you're a fan of music. Ronstadt talks about the importance influence of the music she heard as a child, and her evolution as an artist. While many claimed her voice was near perfect, she continually worked to hone her craft and improve her technique through new challenges and styles. I found it interesting that she was never a songwriter - always the interpreter and a collector of others' music.

But if you're looking for backstage gossip and personal revelations, you'll have to look elsewhere. While she's perfectly comfortable drawing back the curtain to reveal backstage influences and musical struggles, once she leaves "work" she's much less forthcoming. I often resorted to wikipedia for more personal background. For example: she does not talk about becoming a mother or parenthood; her children are solely mentioned in passing as inspiration for lullabies.

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