Monday, June 16, 2014

The Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame Inducts Linda Ronstadt

Yesterday was our monthly — well, really every five weekly — trek to the CostCo in Charlotte. It’s a nice drive through the country back roads and Carlos loves to visit CostCo for the snack ladies, but that’s another story for another day.

Back at home I perused the DVR for the weekend highlights. We had a Free HBO weekend, so I loaded up on movies — including, thankfully, and finally, The Normal Heart — and the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame telecast. This year’s inductees included Peter Gabriel, love him, Cat Stevens, like him, Kiss, thank goddess for fast forward, the E Street Band — who apparently were not inducted alongside Bruce Springsteen which makes no sense — Hall and Oates — Oates needs to lay off the surgery — Nirvana — the best part was Courtney Love getting booed— and Linda Ronstadt.

Well, I have been a Ronstadt fan, er, fanatic, since the very first time I heard her sing way, way, waaaay, back in the day. I could listen to her sing Country rock, Rock, Punk ,Pop, Operetta, Latina, Big Band and Blues and she sings them all flawlessly.

Seriously. I’m a fan. As a kid, the family took a motor home trip from California to Texas for a family reunion — yes, I have, had, have, family in Texas — and during a stop at the Grand Canyon, I found a cassette — for you youngsters, go ahead  and Google that — called Linda Ronstadt: a Retrospective. On that cassette she sang everything from “I Fall To Pieces” to “Hobo” to “Faithless Love” to “Rock me On The Water” to “Blue Bayou”.

And, during those long straight stretches of highway when my Dad would let me take the wheel of the motorhome I would pop in that tape and play it back and forth, round and round, again, and again, until Dad took me off driving duty or someone in the family threatened to jump out.

Like I said, fanatic.

So I was ready to hear me some Linda this weekend, but as she was inducted by Glenn Frey, of The Eagles, he told the audience that Linda no longer travels, and a quick Googling this morning revealed it’s because she suffers from Parkinson’s. And because, well, she’s Linda Ronstadt so let’s have her tell why she’s not really all that upset about missing it.

"I haven't given it one thought, I have to say. It wasn't anything I ever thought about. I never thought of myself as a rock' n' roll singer; I sang it, (but) it's just one of the things I sang. I sang a lot of different stuff. I didn't go the last two times I was nominated for a Grammy, either. I don't have anything against it; you just don't do things for those reasons. If you're working for prizes, you're in trouble. There's nothing wrong with it. I don't mind it. It's just not anything I ever gave a thought to." 

Linda never wanted to be a star, though with her voice she couldn’t help herself; she just wanted to sing, and to sing whatever struck her fancy, no matter the genre.

And so she did, and she did them all to perfection.

But I digress — again, fanatic. See, as I waited for her to sing, and then heard she wasn’t even there, I was disappointed. Then, when I heard there would be some women who called Ronstadt an inspiration paying tribute I was intrigued. The first person was, and my heart sank, Carrie Underwood. Luckily, though, there would also be Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Sheryl, because, well, Carrie Underwood. 

Here's Stevie, Sheryl,  Bonnie, Emmylou and Carrie.

But, first we heard Carrie. Now, I don’t mind Miss Underwood. I think she’s passable, but a little too slick, not enough heart; glitter and heels and not at all Ronstadt. But, she came out first to sing “Different Drum” and she knocked that sh*t out. Toned down, no glam, no back singers, no pyrotechnics; just a voice.

And it was beautiful — not Ronstadt beautiful — but a beautiful tribute to a great singer.


the dogs' mother said...

Left the states in 1968, came back in 1971 - missed all sorts of music.
(Radio only worked when the pilot light was working on a remote island in the middle of nowhere...)

anne marie in philly said...

"Carlos loves to visit Costco for the snack ladies" - SAY WHAT????? is carlos going str8 on you?????

viktor kerney said...

I liked her, but these choices are making me want to learn more about her

Bob Slatten said...

@Anne Marie
No, he goes for the snacks only

She has had the most amazing career, vocally, and has sung just about every genre, even operetta on Broadway!

Professor Chaos said...

KISS? Seriously? Ugh!

They're the antithesis of everything Rock & Roll is supposed to be.

Someone more clever than I once said "most bands wanted to to be the Beatles, KISS wanted to be General Motors." or something like that. KISS wasn't so much a band as a marketing strategy.

Plus Gene Simmons is a huge asshole.

Debbie said...

She's from Tucson! My mother's home town. They LOVE her in Tucson and I always felt a sort of kinship with her because she is Mexican (on her daddy's side) ... Great voice. So sad that she can no longer sing because of the Parkinsons. Saw her in L.A. when she did Canciones de Mi Padre - loved it.

Blobby said...

Read her memoir - it's a quick read. But I wrote about her induction a few weeks back and she really could care less about the Rock Hall event and has given away all her Grammys and gold and platinum records. Not sold - gave.

As for Underwood, she's ok, but when she sang w the group of women in Ronstadt's induction, she was like a fucking steamroller.

I felt bad for Emmylou Harris who has been singing with Ronstadt since 1973 to have some "kid" who doesn't know her or ever met Linda be allowed to do American Idol voice for that crowd.