Monday, June 7, 2010

FOCUS ON: LINDA RONSTADT

I can't think of many singers who can truly be considered versatile but one I can name most definitely is Linda Ronstadt. She is a dynamic song stylist who has managed to perform many different genres of music and used her magnificent and powerful voice to do them truthfully, passionately, competently and even found great commercial success in the process.

She is one of all-time favorite singers. I have always loved her music and I always looked forward to every new album that would come out. My favorite was "Mad Love" (1980) which she did her version of new wave music that included songs by Elvis Costello (who made unnecessarily nasty comments about her take of his music). It's great from beginning to end and if you can get your hands on it, check it out.

Linda Ronstadt was born in Tucson, Arizona in 1946 and her childhood was filled with a wide range of music. She would listen to jazz, rock & roll, opera, country, r&b, folk, gospel, pop standards and mariachi. She grew up singing this music with her family as well as hearing it on the radio and it would eventually inspire her to go on to make albums using all of these different styles of music in the future.

At fourteen, she formed a folk group with her brother, Peter and her sister, Suzy and they played coffeehouses and other small venues. Later, at eighteen and after completing one semester at the University of Arizona, Linda decided to go to Los Angeles to try and start her music career.

In 1964, she formed a folk-rock band with Bob Kimmel and Kenny Edwards and called themselves the Stone Poneys. They signed with Capitol Records and released three albums in a little over a year. Their biggest hit was "Different Drum" written by future Monkees member, Mike Nesmith. The band broke up before the release of their third album although Mr. Edwards would continue to record and tour with Ms Ronstadt later in her career.

In 1969, she released her first solo album, "Hand Sown...Home Grown" and it has been considered to be the first alt-country album by a female artist. She continued to record and tour but didn't have any huge hits and was still considered a cult favorite.

Things began to change with her fourth album, "Don't Cry Now" (1973) when she first started working with her long time producer, Peter Asher. He was the first producer she had worked with who she felt was on the same page with her musically and he would collaborate with her on her all of future recordings through the late 1980's.

Finally, in 1975 with the release of "Heart Like A Wheel", she had her first number one album as well as her first number one single, "You're No Good". The album would top the country charts as well and go on to sell over two million copies. This album also started her reputation as a brilliant interpreter of other artists songs and making some people consider them sometimes even better than the original version.

She continued making hit albums over the years, releasing a total of thirty to date and scoring many more top ten hits. She landed on the cover of Time magazine in 1977 and appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone six times. She has appeared on Broadway and starred in the operetta, "Pirates of Penzance" in which she received a Tony award nomination as well as a Golden Globe nomination for the film version in 1983.

She teamed up with Nelson Riddle and recorded a trio of popular albums of the music of the Great American Songbook, made a successful country album, "Trio"(1987) with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris and released an album of traditional Mexican folk music, "Canciones de mi Padre" (1987) in honor of her father and her Mexican heritage, which sold over two million copies in the U.S.

Linda Ronstadt is truly an unique artist who has sold over 100 million albums worldwide during her illustrious career.

Here are a few of my favorite songs :
Heatwave.mp3
You're No Good.mp3
It's So Easy.mp3
Blue Bayou.mp3
Ooh Baby Baby.mp3
Long Long Time.mp3

ICONA POP ARE "GIRLS GIRLS"

Those Swedish musical party-girls, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo, otherwise known as  Icona Pop are back with a new club-banging anthem. ...