Posted On: Tuesday - August 11th 2020 8:52PM MST
In Topics:   Lefty MegaStupidity  Music  Movies
Of course, she was a great singer, but just askin'...
With a couple of plane rides under our belts and relaxation time, Peak Stupidity now has 2 1/2 movie reviews in mind. The 1/2, BTW, is not for a movie I quit watching (sometimes it doesn't go well - see Tried to watch a movie - here's 3 reviews in one!). One of them just has what I think is an important opening sequence - the first 1/2 hour or so. That post is upcoming.
Anyway, the big thing now, since the movie makers ran pretty much out of original ideas a coupla' decades back - it's just sequels, prequels, and comic books - is to feature some of the great rock music artists. I've got no problem with this. The Peak Stupidity reader should know by now that I think the heyday of good pop music is long gone. There was an Elton John movie available (with a review to come) and this one about the great Linda Ronstadt, called Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. This movie is pretty much a documentary.
I've really got no problem with a documentary as the format, but then with the Elton John movie being more like a weird musical*, I would have liked something in between. By in between, I mean how about the life story as acted out, not so much told, with lots of the great music of the artist stuck in there. The Buddy Holly Story is a great example of what I would have liked more for this Linda Ronstadt movie. They did show lots of music, but not always the whole song, so if just that's what you want, I'd go see it.
Linda Ronstadt grew up in a very musical family. The story on this was heartwarming, as a story of good old Americana back in late-1940s/50s/'60s rural Tucson, Arizona on 10 acres. She's been proud of her Latin American blood (a little more on this to come), but really it sounds like she's only 1/8 Mexican - her Dad's grandfather was a German engineer who moved to what was then a part of Mexico and married a Mexican lady back in the 1840s. This part of the movie was done very well.
Let me write just a bit about this musical artist before I go on. Linda mostly sang other artists/writers songs. As the musical friends/bandmates/interviewees in the movie noted, she made them her own. (No not IP theft, but in a musical sense.) She picked some of the best too, Warren Zevon, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Paul Anka, J.D. Souther, Hank Williams, Phil Everly, Neil Young, Jackson Brown, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger/Keith Richards, Elvis Costello, that other Elvis .. something or other. It goes on and on. No one denies she had one hell of a good strong voice too. I will have to add, that if you are of the male persuasion and of a certain, pretty wide, age range, her presence on stage and on album covers wearing the short shorts, cheerleader's uniforms, and even the Cub Scout outfit** probably did not hurt her career at all either.
Peak Stupidity is SHOCKED, and not in a Louis Renault fashion, that we have featured exactly NONE of Linda Ronstadt's music so far. I would have bet someone that I had, but the dBase says what it says. (Yeah, even I, the blogger, need a search function!) We'll have to remedy that, starting today. Though Miss Ronstadt sang both lots of ballads*** and rockers, it's the latter that I enjoy, as once she got her long-term band****, that rock sound out of guitarist Waddy Wachtel and rest. This was supposed to be a quick movie review, so, OK, fine ...
The story of Miss Ronstadt's rise to stardom, with her great music mixed in goes pretty quickly, as she moved out to Los Angeles, then got hooked up with one band after another. She rose to fame fairly quickly, being in the right place at one of the best times in rock music there's ever been. Not all of anyone's favorite songs can be in an hour and a half movie, but they did put in some of the classics, and they fit in with the documentary pretty well.
You get to hear from Linda's musical friends. We heard from Don Henley, Jackson Brown, and some of the music industry people. Emmylou was in there along with Bonnie Raitt, both favorites of mine for a while there. By some point though, the feminism angle came in a bit (whaddya expect from the mid 1970s?). One could get past this part with the whining of "oh, it's hard to make it as a woman, because ..." cause, what, every producer, member of the band, male member of the audience... wanted to make it with you? I'm not sure what the problem would be, really, but if you like the 1970s music, you'll enjoy hearing the story.
At some point, California Governor Jerry Brown (during his first stint as Governor Moonbeam) had a long relationship with Miss Ronstadt, who remained "Miss" her whole life. It turns out from my reading, that this relationship started in the early 1970's, but the movie only starts on about it when it was a big item toward the end of that decade. I don't mind a short stint on that, but then I got this out of Miss Ronstadt, and I am paraphrasing: I don't think a musician should concern herself with these political issues... blah, blah...", but then proceeded to give her very left-wing, opinions on all the BS that Jerry Brown was spewing back in the day. It was California, mind you, so lots of that stuff would be lefty even today!
That was it. I didn't want to be politicked to, there in the middle of a flight, when I could simply click [EXIT] and watch another... which I did ... which will be that 1/2 review coming. I don't know how much time was left in Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of my Voice by this point. She was truly a 1970s artist, period, no matter how long she sung after that. So, I figure, with my exit from the movie at about 1979, I didn't miss much.
One more last thing: I figured that, since Miss Ronstadt got into her "roots", in her mind, anyway, with music in the 1980s sometime, the Latin American stuff, some more political BS that I might not enjoy was coming anyway. I don't fault this artist at all for delving into material that was off the mainstream and in deep in her soul or something. It was, though, a lot of music that I never listened to a bit of. Maybe I missed something, maybe I didn't. At least during my watching of the movie, I avoided any more political stress that would deter me from wanting to hear any more from Linda Ronstadt. We'll catch up in the long run, but for now, here is my favorite, written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, The Rolling Stones (did I need to write that out?)
Speaking of movies, and man, this post is getting long, but the reason the video had some other footage at the beginning is because this song Tumbling Dice was featured in the cool 1978 movie FM - no static at all ... Anyone younger than 30 don't bother, you wouldn't understand the whole radio business. It was a big thing! I wanted this live footage:
* No, see that may cause a "duh??" out of the reader, but I'll explain in that upcoming review.
** It probably brought a number of early-onset-puberty boys into the program!
*** Plenty of the ballads were great too. My favorite is Blue Bayou, written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson.
**** After she left The Stone Ponies at the end of the 1960s, Linda was called a solo artist, but a great band sure helped. Initially, it was Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner. If you don't recognize those names, you should just leave this web site right now and not come back .. until next post. OK, they became The Eagles a force more powerful in 1970s music than Linda Rondstadt. During the best and most successful years, 1975 and '76, Linda's great rocking band was:
Waddy Wachtel - Guitar, Background Vocals
Andrew Gold - Guitar, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Brock Walsh - Keyboards, Bass
Kenny Edwards - Bass, Banjo, Harmonica, Mandolin, Guitar, Background Vocals
Dan Dugmore - Guitar, Pedal Steel Guitar
Mike Botts - Drums