Wednesday, January 08, 2020

Song of the Day: 'Blue Bayou' by Linda Ronstadt


Finally saw and loved the Linda Ronstadt documentary, which lived up to every bit of the hype. There were so many highlights -- all that old footage, J.D. Souther's loving memories, Nelson Riddle, and the country "9 to 5" reboot (above), to name just a few. But after spending 90 minutes watching Linda run herself into the ground (the "Different Drum" mix!), my main takeaway is this: A million bucks says she can still sing beautifully but it's just not as perfect as it was in 1977 so she insists her voice has been taken by Parkinson's (later rediagnosed as progressive supranuclear palsy)! I'm reading "Girls Like Us" right now. And while Linda is no Carole, Joni or Carly -- aka era-defining singer/songwriters -- in my mind what she has above those three and every other pop singer is the best live voice of all time.


Question: What do you consider to be Linda's signature song. Pick just one and remember it doesn't have to be your favorite. For me, it's "Blue Bayou" -- but something tells me your age will influence your answer. I was introduced via the radio and my brother Terence, the first member of our family to buy a Ronstadt album. (He also bought a Cheryl Ladd album, so I'm not entirely sure if he was a fan or just bought it for the artwork!)  The song was HUGE in 1977 and has forever been the song I associate with her most.


UPDATE:


6 comments:

Myk said...

"Different Drum," when she was with the Stone Ponies. What a song.

TominMN said...

Coincidentally, I just watched the documentary last night and loved it! I got teary-eyed at the end when Emmylou got emotional, and then Linda "sang" with her cousin and nephew to close it out. I started buying her records in '77 and saw her in concert for her Simple Dreams tour (where she wore the Boy Scout uniform). I agree with Blue Bayou as the signature song. It was at the height of her popularity, with It's So Easy in the Top 5 at the same time. It was a perfect showcase for her voice and one of the most remembered songs today. You're No Good is a close second.

Steve said...

I have always loved her version of "I Knew You When." "Get Closer" is one of my favorite albums. And yes I also "Blue Bayou" is also a favorite. How could it not be?

James Dwight Williamson said...

Desperado

Jeffery said...

Linda was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy or PSP. It was first thought that she had Parkinson's. It's not unusual for the disease to be misdiagnosed at first, My husband died of this disease October 30, 2019 after a ten year struggle with it. There is no treatment. The disease kills the part of the brain that controls muscle moment. Eventually she will lose the ability to talk, walk, and eat. She is still in remarkably good shape having this disease.

Tom said...

Singers who aren't also songwriters often get short shrift, especially if they don't also play an instrument when they perform. Think of Whitney Houston, for example. They don't get credit for interpretative abilities unless they're the caliber of Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, or Ella Fitzgerald. But they make a hundred little decisions in every phrase. Linda's voice could do so many things in ways that Carole King's or Carly Simon's just couldn't -- I sometimes think that because they wrote about their experiences and we know that when we listen, we give them more credit for their interpretations than they deserve.

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