Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Week: Linda Ronstadt: An Appreciation

Today is September 9th.  It has apparently been dubbed by the Linda Ronstadt camp as Linda Ronstadt Appreciation Day.  It cannot come a moment too soon for my liking.

Why is this, you might ask?  Because almost no one could sing the absolute hell out of a Motown song like "Hurt So Bad" and make you totally feel it like Linda Ronstadt could.  She could sing "When I Grow Too Old To Dream" with Kermit the Frog one moment, and sing "Don't Know Much" with Aaron Neville the next and still have one of my all-time favorite singing voices.

My first exposure to Linda Ronstadt was on the album Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind.  This was the album where she basically alternated duets with the aforementioned Aaron Neville and her own material.  I still get chills every time I hear the range of her talents on this album.

Then a few years later I heard Greatest Hits volume 1 with her early stuff.  I happen to be a huge fan of "Different Drum" because while this is an early Ronstadt classic, it was with the rather unfortunately short-lived Stone Poneys and probably would've been truly fabulous to hear as a Ronstadt solo track to see what she could've done with it with the people she surrounded herself with throughout her career.  I don't know if we'll ever find the answer to whether that could be done but hey, I'll be happy with Different Drum as-is.

Then I discovered her appearance on The Muppet Show, where she sang Blue Bayou (one of my favorites, and another song she just hits right outta the park and blows the original version by the late great Roy Orbison out of the water) and the aforementioned "When I Grow Too Old To Dream".  This version (and this song in particular) cemented my admiration of this woman's incredible talent.

But here's the thing: She doesn't make music anymore.  And apparently it came out a couple of weeks ago that she has Parkinson's Disease and cannot sing a note.  That, frankly, hurts.  I love what gifts she did give the world, and I wish Ms. Ronstadt all the best.  Parkinson's is a pain in the butt but I am appreciative of the gifts that you did give, Ms. Ronstadt.  And my sincere hope is, on Linda Ronstadt Appreciation Day, that you see so many people like myself showing their profound appreciation of your manifold gifts that you've given us over the years.