Linda Ronstadt – Live at Community Theatre, Berkeley – July 18, 1974 – Broadcast over KMET, Los Angeles –
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Linda Ronstadt for a New Year’s Day/Night. Maybe it’s from seeing CNN’s documentary on Linda Ronstadt earlier today, but I remember all the times seeing Linda Ronstadt in the early 1970s. She was a regular at The Troubadour and later at The Roxy. She may be a National Treasure, but she certainly started off as L.A.’s own. It was that incredible voice and that very down-to-earth/no pretense-no nonsense attitude which came with every performance that I think endeared her to most audiences. Yes, she was drop-dead gorgeous – but more than that; she was someone you liked because she was the real deal. Perhaps it was because of that sense of ease and comfort, being in a club setting – the relaxed almost intimate atmosphere that didn’t make you feel as though there was this huge gap between you and the Superstar in the cavernous Arena that it so often becomes.
One of the things I came away with, watching the CNN special was how it was universally acknowledged that Linda Ronstadt invested so much of herself in her music that the songs became hers, whether she sang them originally or not. Particularly her version of Betty Everett’s You’re No Good. I practically grew up with the Everett version; knew it backwards and forwards. But in Linda Ronstadt’s hands it became a different song with a whole different set of meanings – in essence, they became two totally separate songs – that, I think is the sign of a true artist – where you can take something and infuse it with so much of your own point of view that it becomes yours, while still maintaining the integrity and soul of the original; keeping them separate yet totally equal.
We may not have the voice with us, but we are still very fortunate to have the person, very present and very vital in our midst. And for that we’re very, very lucky.
Enjoy the trip back to 1974 – it was a very good year, if I do say so myself.