I recently watched the special about Linda Ronstadt (The Sound of My Voice) and was reminded of my introduction to her voice and music.
When I was a teen, I always slept with the radio on at very low volume. One night, I remember waking up at about 3:00 AM hearing this very beautiful piano melody with a descending chord pattern. It was unusual as I listened to WMMS exclusively and this was not the type of music that was normally played on the station at that time. That song was Someone to Lay Down Beside Me sung by Linda Ronstadt. I fell in love with the song and bought the album Hasten Down the Wind within a week.
I probably drove my family insane because I played this record every day for at least two weeks. I found every song on the record to be showcase for Linda’s wonderfully expressive voice and was fascinated by her vocal delivery and emotive interpretation of the lyrics. Over the years I have heard few singers with the same vocal qualities. This record also introduced me to many other styles of music in which I had not been previously interested.
Over the next few years, I obtained Linda Ronstadt’s recordings that were released in the early 1970’s and bought every new record that came out through the 1980’s. On each of these records I would note who wrote the songs. This often led me to obtain recordings from those song writers. Through these records, I was introduced to J.D. Souther, Karla Bonoff, Willie Nelson, Elvis Costello, Emmy Lou Harris, Anna McGarrigle, Andrew Gold and Warren Zevon to name a few.
I also bought her Spanish language albums and the work she did with Nelson Riddle where she sang standards. As was mentioned in The Sound of My Voice, she was able to sing well in so many different styles and made every song her own. To this day Hasten Down the Wind is still my favorite album from this artist and one which I still listen to frequently.
Join the conversation. What artists have you heard that led you to listen to other artists you had never considered?