LINDA RONSTADT: THE SOUND OF MY VOICE
Starring: Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and JD Souther
Directed by: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hr 35 mins
Last week when I reviewed the outstanding documentary about David Crosby I noted that I had been very lucky to have met him many years ago at a Vietnam Veteran’s tribute concert. I bring that up because I also met Linda Ronstadt that day, and she is the subject of the new film “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice.”
As a teenager in the 1970s, Linda Ronstadt’s music comprised a lot of the soundtrack of my life. And, as a teenage BOY in the 1970s, I had a poster for her “Living in the U.S.A.” album on my wall, giving me a new appreciation for roller skating. This new documentary takes a look at her life, from childhood through today, giving a very in-depth look at one of the most successful female artists of all time.
She had a very loving upbringing. Her paternal grandfather was an inventor who gave us such household items as the electric stove and the toaster. Her mother met her father at college. Their home was always filled with music, both contemporary and the Mexican music her father enjoyed. All three (two girls and a boy) loved to sing. They formed a folk group in the late 60s with little success. Ronstadt met guitarist Bobby Kimmel and they formed the band Stone Poneys. The band had a hit with their version of Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum” – still the only song written by a member of the Monkees to hit the Top 10 – and drew much attention. Unfortunately, that attention was directed at Linda, who received many offers to record as a solo artist. And she did, releasing hit after hit for many years.
The film is full of great archive footage, including early television appearances on such shows as “Dick Cavett” and “The Johnny Cash Show.” It also has amazing interviews with pretty much anyone you can think of from the musical scene of the 1970s. Don Henley and Glenn Frey recount how they were hired to be part of Ronstadt’s road band, only to discover that they had great songwriting chemistry together and leaving to form their own band – the Eagles. Other female vocalists, like Bonnie Raitt and Emmylou Harris, talk about Ronstadt’s influences on their careers. If you are a fan of the music of this era, this is a must see movie.
Ronstadt no longer tours, as she is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, but this film serves as a time capsule of her greatest moments and a reminder of how great music was before auto-tune!