Synopses & Reviews
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. Born into a musical family, Linda's childhood was filled with everything from Hank Williams to Gilbert and Sullivan, 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, twelve Grammy Awards later, Ronstadt tells the story of her wide-ranging and utterly unique musical journey.
Ronstadt arrived in Los Angeles just as the folk-rock movement was beginning to bloom, setting the stage for the development of country-rock. After the dissolution of her first band, the Stone Poneys, Linda went out on her own and quickly found success. As part of the coterie of like-minded artists who played at the Troubadour club in West Hollywood, she helped define the musical style that dominated American music in the 1970s. One of her early back-up bands went on to become the Eagles, and Linda would become the most successful female artist of the decade. She has sold more than 100 million records, won numerous awards, and toured all over the world. Linda has collaborated with legends such as Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Aaron Neville, J.D. Souther, Randy Newman, Neil Young, Bette Midler, and Frank Sinatra, as well as Homer Simpson and Kermit the Frog. By the time she retired in 2009, Ronstadt had spent four decades as one of the most popular singers in the world, becoming the first female artist in popular music to release four consecutive platinum albums.
In Simple Dreams, Ronstadt reveals the eclectic and fascinating journey that led to her long-lasting success. 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. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"For anyone fascinated by the cross-pollination of musical talent in Los Angeles' buzzing pre-corporate rock scene, Ronstadt's front-row seat offers a prime view....While this bird can no longer sing, on the page she can still fly."
"Engaging and interesting...entirely winning." Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post
"Ronstadt revisits, with a mixture of fine-grained insight and personal modesty, one of the most remarkable and wide-ranging singing careers in the last century of American popular music." San Francisco Chronicle
"Musical memories galore." Boston Globe
"A personable and engagingly written memoir...consistently interesting." Kirkus
About the Author
Linda Ronstadt has received twelve Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards, and one Emmy Award, as well as several Tony and Golden Globe nominations. She lives in San Francisco with her family.