You can imagine my delight when I heard that she was writing her autobiography and couldn't wait to hear her own story written in her own words. I recently received a review copy (uncorrected proof) of Simple Dreams - A Musical Memoir, and the wait was worthwhile.
The book title is very fitting as it deals entirely with her love of music with just brief mentions of her various boyfriends and even then there are no shocking revelations or pages of gossipy text. What does come across is that she has remained friends with nearly every man she has ever met with just one or two exceptions, and you'll have to read the book to find out more!
Ronstadt delivers a fascinating story of her upbringing in Tucson, Arizona, her early influences and her rise to fame in Southern California in the late-sixties and early-seventies. Music was her driving force in life and she talks about the struggles she faced when wanting to follow her own musical path. In the music business once you are categorized it becomes a record labels worst nightmare when an artist wants to diversify. Fortunately Linda won all her battles.
Throughout her career she has worked and associated with many people in the music business and the list of names reads like a who's who of rock & country music - The Eagles, Mick Jagger, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Brian Wilson and Aaron Neville, all of whom are mentioned in the book. She also talks about those who helped shape her career including Peter Asher, John Boylan, George Massenburg, John David Souther and Neil Young.
If I had one minor complaint it would be the lack of information or background to her mid- to late-seventies work - Prisoner In Disguise, Hasten Down The Wind, Simple Dreams and Living In The USA. In the book she talks about hating the big arena tours spending night after night playing shows in venues that were not designed with good sound in mind. This could explain why this period is almost completely ignored. A shame as this was when I fell in love with her music and when she released some of my favourite albums.
Despite my minor quibble I really enjoyed reading Linda's story and it deserves to be on the shelf of all lovers of Ronstadt's music and also any serious music fans book collection. Her writing is easy to read, simple yet direct and it was an enjoyable journey - highly recommended.
(As mentioned earlier this was an uncorrected proof with no photo sections, index or acknowledgements and I look forward to picking up a finished copy)