Thursday, January 23, 2014

Simple Dreams

Simple Dreams
Author: Linda Ronstadt
Simon & Schuster, 2013
257 pages

One of my favorite albums of all time is Linda Ronstadt's Prisoner in Disguise. I grew up listening to her music and knew that she worked with other artists whose music I enjoyed, such as The Eagles, Emmylou Harris, and James Taylor. I liked her eclectic tastes in music -- for example, Prisoner in Disguise includes songs written by Dolly Parton, Neil Young, and Jimmy Cliff, just to name a few -- and even today I list her among my favorite musical artists. So when I learned she'd written a memoir, I knew I'd want to read it.

Simple Dreams chronicles Ronstadt's life growing up in a musical family in southern Arizona, where she was exposed to all kinds of music (opera, traditional country, Mexican, etc.), her early years as an emerging artist in Los Angeles, and the amazing career that followed. She shares stories about her experiences in the music industry and with other artists, but she never gives away any secrets or dirt on other people (which IMHO, is rather refreshing). What we have here is a musical memoir in the truest sense, with emphasis on her evolution as an artist who went from singing country/rock to old standards, canciones, and musicals.

I especially enjoyed the section in the back that provided information on all of her recordings. When you see the list of songs she's recorded and other artists she's worked with in her career, you'll probably be just as amazed as I was. I would have enjoyed knowing a little more about her life since she retired from singing. Maybe she'll write a sequel someday. :)