I had the wonderful opportunity to go down to the National Book Festival on Saturday. I got to see Linda Ronstadt talk about her new book Simple Dreams.
It is really sad that she has Parkinson's Disease. A great singing voice has been silenced but Linda can still talk and the talk she gave was just wonderful. It is great to see that she hasn't strayed very far from her liberal roots. She was very funny and irreverent and just fascinating to listen to.
Here's a little of her talk.
There's also an article about her in today's Post. This is part of what she said on Satuday:
“We weren’t all having orgies and smoking a big spliff,” she said, when I asked her to talk about the “sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll” lifestyle we all associate with rock stardom. Those stories are exaggerated, she said, and her nightlife was often cuddling up with her stuffed panda reading “Anna Karenina.” She admits that she did drugs, like so many others in her orbit then. But she said they weren’t really her thing: “My addiction was to reading.”
It was just fantastic to see her. I'm looking forward to reading her book. I tried to buy it but it was sold out. I take that as a very good sign.
The reviewer in the Post loved the book:
Just about everything in Linda Ronstadt’s “Musical Memoir” is engaging and interesting, but the best part comes first: a long chapter — the longest in the book — about her childhood and adolescence in Tucson, an enchanted time beginning with her birth in 1946, a time that, she realized many years later, established “an essential part of who I was: a girl from the Sonoran Desert.” This may come as a surprise to many of her admirers, who understandably associate her with the “California country rock sound” that first made her famous, but in fact for the last two decades of her career — suffering from Parkinson’s disease, she retired from public performing four years ago — she mainly sang Mexican music, the same music she had learned as a girl right across the border.
I got to see her at DAR Constitution Hall (probably around 1995-96) when she was promoting the album Feels Like Home one of my favorites. She did many of the songs from the album. Then sang How Do I Make You and then did one hit after another. It was amazing. Here's How Do I Make You.