In this memoir, iconic singer Linda Ronstadt weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Tracing the timeline of her remarkable life, Linda Ronstadt, whose forty-five year career has encompassed a wide array of musical styles, weaves together a captivating story of her origins in Tucson, Arizona, and her rise to stardom in the Southern California music scene of the 1960s and ‘70s.
Linda Ronstadt was born into a musical family, and her childhood was filled with everything from Gilbert and Sullivan to Mexican folk music to jazz and opera. Her artistic curiosity blossomed early, and she and her siblings began performing their own music for anyone who would listen. Now, in this beautifully crafted memoir, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.
Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folkrock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the famed Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early backup bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda went on to become the most successful female artist of the decade.
In Simple Dreams, Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success, including stories behind many of her beloved songs. And she describes it all in a voice as beautiful as the one that sang “Heart Like a Wheel”—longing, graceful, and authentic.
Born in 1946 in Tucson, Ariz., Ronstadt counted among her relatives a grandfather who wrote an arrangement of Pirates of Penzance generations before she starred in it on Broadway, and an aunt whose collection of folk songs, Canciones de me Padre, would lend its title to Ronstadt's first Spanish-language album. As a kid, she listened to opera at her grandparents' house and mariachi rancheras on Mexican radio, and she harmonized with her siblings while singing Hank Williams songs. All this resulted in Ronstadt's gift for musical genealogy and an almost scholarly dedication to learning the music of different cultures, combined with an insatiable desire to emulate what she heard. Reading Simple Dreams, one sees why its author, a perpetual student of her craft, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Berklee College of Music: the book is a well-written glimpse into musical history as it was being made by Ronstadt and her peers.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Still a fan after all theses years!
I grew up with Linda Ronstadt!
Heart like a wheel and Prisoner in Disguise were albums that played endlessly on my stereo in my room.
Linda introduced me to the music of Jackson Brown, JD Souther and the Eagles!
It was awesome to read how Linda and all this incredible musical talent hung out and jammed together while finding their voices and their way in the early 70's.
I'm happy her voice and her songs were the soundtrack of my teenage years and into my adult life.
Linda Ronstadt Simply Wonderful!
This was an intriguing look into one of my favorite singers. I learned how specific she choose to be and how her technique had grown through the years. She conveyed how difficult it was to be a perfectionist, expecting so much out of herself. I thoroughly enjoyed this!
G P Hansen
Prospective readers should know that this book is not an autobiography, in the usual sense, but rather a detailed outline of Linda's career. The book is very long on the history of her supporting cast of various record producers, music arrangers, tour promoters and vocal collaborators. However, hardly is there a word about the personal side of her life, save frequent sentimental references to her extended Arizona family. We learn nothing of her adult relationships, much less any hint of romantic bliss or disappointment. This book offers a sanitized recounting of Linda's life in the bubbles of the recording studio and the concert tours. About life beyond her fantastic music career, Linda is so guarded as to be secretive. Regarding her children, we learn only that she has two-----formed from thin air, apparently.
For those fans seriously interested in the many prosaic details involved in producing a Linda Ronstadt album, Simple Dreams should be elucidating and satisfying. For others who were hoping to learn more of this woman whose amazing voice and sexy cuteness took her to rock stardom, Simple Dreams offers little of interest. If this book were a music video, it would show Linda primly rehearsing musical scales, while this fan was hoping for a full-throated "Heat Wave".