The crush

If you wonder why Linda Ronstadt was such a big deal back in the ’70s, allow me to offer the following into evidence:

And, of course …

Case closed.

(That said, Ronstadt didn’t care much for the image such photos suggested.)

I see in the paper that Linda Ronstadt turns 62 today. That simply is not possible.

You know plenty of her songs. Here’s one you probably know, but may not have realized she’d covered.

“Girls Talk,” Linda Ronstadt, from “Mad Love,” 1980.

This album often is dismissed as “Linda goes New Wave,” and dismissed because it lacks the edgy qualities of the New Wave. Well, duh. This was, and is, a mainstream artist and a mainstream release … even if she did cover three Elvis Costello tunes, including this one.

Ronstadt’s cover of “Girls Talk” — with Nicolette Larson and Rosemary Butler singing backup — is good enough, but Dave Edmunds’ cover remains the definitive version as far as I’m concerned.

This album came into the house when my albums and the lovely Janet’s albums became our albums. It also has the hits “How Do I Make You,” “I Can’t Let Go” (covering the Hollies) and “Hurt So Bad” (covering Little Anthony and the Imperials).

“Mad Love” more or less marked the end of Ronstadt’s dominance on the rock charts. It was the last of six straight Ronstadt albums to crack the Top 5, debuting there and reaching No. 3.

The end of that dominance had nothing to do with fading popularity. Rather, the 34-year-old Ronstadt — who by then had spent 14 years as a folk and rock star — simply decided she wanted to pursue other interests, among them performing on Broadway and recording in a variety of musical styles.

7 Comments

Filed under July 2008, Sounds

7 responses to “The crush

  1. Bill in Milwaukee

    Doesn’t seem possible that Linda Ronstadt is 62!

    She was my first concert experience. 1975 at the Dane County Coliseum in Madison. They curtained off a section of the arena for a more intimate concert experience, and better acoustics. I think the ticket was $10 (no extra fees in those days!).

    My date and I had 20th row seats. I don’t think I took my eyes off the lovely Ms. Ronstadt for a second during the show.

    *Bill in Milwaukee

  2. After Carly Simon’s album covers, and after Carly Simon’s album covers again, the cover you chose by Linda was great. Have to say that I did (and still do) enjoy her “I Can’t Let Go”. Especially the last minute or so of crawling screams not to go.

  3. Of course, I meant to say “Hurt’s So Bad” not “I Can’t Let Go”.

  4. Dan

    I had a poster of her in my dorm room. I’d have the same one in my bedroom now if my wife would allow it.

  5. The one with her on roller skates is pretty vampy- can’t believe you left it out? I heard an interview with her a few months ago, and she sounds like the least rock and roll of any musician ever interviewed. She liked small venues, and the large concert halls freaked her out. She just has an amazing natural voice, effortless, and with that great tone.

  6. ‘Hurt So Bad’ was my favorite on this album…something about the way she cooed “I know you/Don’t know what I’m going through”. And, personally, I was a big fan of the Cub Scout uniform era. I was contemplating the other day how, as a cynical old man, I (sometimes) discount some of these young female singers simply because I figure they look too good to have any talent. Weird, huh? Then I remember plastering my bedroom wall with Linda Ronstadt pictures. Knew of her birthday on Monday; was going to write about it on WNEW but chose Cat Stevens instead…he’s not as pretty but a more fascinating story.

  7. Kelly

    After seeing Madonna in a cub scout uniform today I remembered how much better Linda did it. I absolutely adored Ronstadt. She could sing any genre of music and always sound perfect. Hasten down The Wind was one of my favorites. I can still sing all the words to Lo Siento Mi Vida from memory lol. That’s what i love about the internet, now we can make a note to catch up on some Ronstadt music when we have time this weekend. Lovely.

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