Top positive review
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Great book from a wonderful singer
on 1 January 2014
I first heard Linda Ronstadt speak in the early 1980s on a radio programme called "My Top 12" - a kind of rock version of Desert Island Discs. She really stood out, both in terms of the eclecticism of her musical choices but also in the authority with which she spoke about choices and their origins. I was impressed by her intelligence and ability to articulate her views. As soon as I heard she was writing a book, I knew that it would be worth reading. It most definitely is. Whereas most biographies drift all over the place, Linda has made it clear that this is not a "kiss and tell" (which she has consistently refused to do) but rather a record of her musical experiences, recordings and their roots. Given that this is what I have loved about Linda the most, the book covers just what I wanted to read about. There is a great introductory period chronicling her Tuscon, Arizona family roots and how they shaped her life and her musical tastes. There are also some great stories from the late-60s and early 70s when her friends were folk like Jackson Browne and the Eagles, all of whom were trying to find their way in their music and their careers. There are also some interesting insights into the challenges for a single woman in what was essentially a man's world. Once she achieves platinum success, the story advances rapidly to the 1980s and her musical detours, but it is fascinating to hear why she made the choices that she did to sing Gilbert and Sullivan, the Great American Songbook, and traditional Mexican music, and also the frequent tensions with her record company over such choices when she was at the pinnacle of rock and pop success. As mentioned, references to her private life are marginal, but she comes across as a well-rounded, honest, humble and classy lady - determined to write as she has always sung, with honesty and dignity. One of the few biographies that I have read that left me with my admiration for the person fully in-tact and respect for their music enhanced. A very good read!